I'm looking for a fast way to propagate my M9 apple trees.
Could you tell my if my plan is feasible? Are there any improvements to it?

January 2016:

  • Buy a M9 apple rootstock
  • Cut all the branches off the rootstock and propagate them using hardwood cutting
  • Plant the rootstock without any branches to create a stool bed

July 2016:

  • Bud graft on the growing branches of the stool bed

January 2017:

  • Plant the new apple tree from the stool bed. Cut above the graft and use the branches to propagate more M9 rootstocks
  • Plant the new M9 rootstocks from 2016 hardwood cutting

July 2017:

  • Bud graft on the new growing branches of the stool bed (January 2016)
  • Bud graft the M9 rootstocks planted in January 2017

January 2018:

  • Keep cutting, propagating, planting...

Extra information:

  • I wish to learn not to buy is very good, but not the cheapest and faster option (as the question title). Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 12:27
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi you're right. I'm changing the title. Thx Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 12:33
  • Hi Martin Magakian! I see you've been around the network for a long time. Thanks for joining us, and especially for writing such a detailed question. It's a great example for people to follow. We hope you have other gardening questions/answers so we can get to know you better! Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 19:48
  • Unless you already started, your dates appear to be off, or you have a time machine that goes back at least 11 months...
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 4:42
  • So, how are things progressing, in practice?
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 17:19

2 Answers 2


That looks feasible, in theory at least. :) In practice, I bet you'll learn a lot! In my (limited) experience, taking cuttings is very easy, but caring for the cuttings while they develop roots is the actually tricky part. Don't let them dry out!

In the hardwood cuttings video Mike recommends watering the cuttings once a day, but note the automated sprinklers he's got in his main sand bed! He's very serious about the need for daily watering. Be sure your stool beds have good drainage too. Your goal while the roots are developing is going to be to keep the propagation medium damp like a wrung-out sponge.

Best of luck!

  • Welcome David! It's nice to meet you. Thanks for being here and already contributing so much! I especially appreciate that you mentioned some of what was in the video link in the question. Not everybody watches the videos, so adding some of the information here is helpful. We look forward to seeing more of you! Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 20:00

One of the main reasons for using a stool bed is that the "cut all the branches and propagate them" step is exceedingly optimistic.

A more typical timeline is to plant your new rootstock and let it grow for a year to build up reserves, then cut it to the ground. Let it sprout, girdle the sprouts and pile stuff (sawdust, peat, etc.) on top to make stools, then harvest the stools and plant them out and topwork them.

The stool bed keeps making stools as long as you maintain it and don't kill the mother root (or it kills itself, being not the longest-lived rootstock on the planet.)

Propagating rootstocks from hardwood cuttings is exceedingly rare for a reason - it's a VERY high failure approach. If you're in a hurry, buying rootstock in quantity is certainly MUCH faster than propagating up from one rootstock mother plant, and not too expensive from what I see. If not spending money and doing it yourself are more important to you, use several of the initial stools to expand your stool bed, (there's another year with no fruiting scion for those plants) if you anticipate needing lots and lots of rootstocks and don't want to buy them. It won't be fast.

Standard commercial practice, as I understand it, is to discard all the rootstock cuttings - and they would not do that if it were economical to propagate from them. Stool beds are used because they work...

Here's a nice article from 59 years ago on stool beds and layering...


Perhaps if you don't mind the extra labor one of the layering options will work better for you. They do discuss hardwood cuttings, but the process is complex, to say the least, and setting up for it probably will exceed the cost of simply buying enough rootstock.

Here's a bit more recent if you really want to spend a lot of money on the latest equipment/chemicals, instead of rootstock:


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