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Case Study

Increased apple rootstock growth with the application of soil biostimulant Mycorrcin

Geoff Warmouth, BioStart Limited.
Peter Roberts, Fruitfed Supplies Hastings.
Richard McKenzie, Hastings.

September 2008

Key words
Apple rootstock, increased growth, Mycorrcin


  • Richard McKenzie has had over 28 years experience in orcharding, producing over 200,000 root stock annually.
  • The M116 are notorious for being difficult to establish and slow to push roots.
  • Richard’s main aim is to produce a well-rooted rootstock that his customers can then graft and plant out.
  • The program used was 10lt/ha Mycorrcin applied to the rows 4 weeks prior to initial bed formation. A further 10lt/ha is applied once the beds have been formed. Only M116 and half of the M9 rows were treated.
  • 4lt/ha of Digester was used early winter.
  • Right: Peter Roberts of Fruitfed Supplies with Richard McKenzie inspecting the new growth on one of the Mycorrcin treated beds.



Pack out M9(719) FSV

This table (below) tracks production for the last 7 years. Only half the M9 beds were treated with Mycorrcin in 2008.


Pack out M116 FSV

  • This table (below) tracks production since 2002. Mycorrcin was applied to all the beds in 2008.


  • The 2008 season has seen good growing conditions. When compared to other good growing seasons the 2008 results are still impressive.
  • At lifting the treated bed’s roots stocks had developed significantly more rooting sites and were higher up the base of the stem. There were significantly more root branches and fine roots stems from the treated beds.
  • Treated beds have earlier leaf emergence.
  • The treated beds packed out more stems in the ideal 6-8mm diameter range.
  • The digester application quickly broke down the leaf litter. This enabled this season’s growth an unobstructed route to the surface. Previously a gluggy mat of decomposing leaves had to be raked from the surface to enable the unhindered growth of new shoots.
  • Richard will be expanding the Mycorrcin program across the whole orchard this year including his M9s and M106s.


Root stocks at lifting

  •  Below: Untreated M116 root stock have sprouted only a few spindly roots.


  •  Below: Treated M116 root stock have sprouted a thick root mass with abundant fine roots (below).



Early spring emergence

  •  Below: Untreated M116 rows are still dormant and show few signs of spring leaf emergance.


  •  Below: This photo taken on the same day as the one above shows Treated M116 rows have had earlier leaf emergence.



  • Mycorrcin increased total production for the M116 by 5,583 root stocks over the previous 6 year average.
  • Where only half the M9 beds were treated, Mycorrcin increased production by 1,025 root stocks over the previous 6 year average.
  • Mycorrcin has shifted production into the higher diameter root stocks for both M116 and M9.
  • Mycorrcin has increased root mass of both primary and fine roots.
  • Mycorrcin has encouraged earlier spring leaf emergence.
  • Digester increased the decomposition of leaf litter under the mother plants.

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