Nursery stock certification

Following extensive consultation in Australia and investigation of European certification systems the Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program® Ltd (APFIP) has introduced a certification system for fruit tree propagating material – which will operate under the certification trademark below.

APFIP Certified Website Version

Registered certification trademark of APFIP.

The benefits of certified propagating material were clearly described in a research project completed in Australia in 1988 (Comparative Performance of Three Apple Clones Derived from a Virus-Tested (VT) Scheme, with Clones Infected with Latent Viruses and a Mycoplasma; L.J Penrose, K.C Davis and B.J Valentine).

The trial “compared the performance of three apple cultivars (Jonathon, Richared Delicious and Granny Smith) propagated from using budwood and rootstocks from a virus-tested scheme with trees propagated from sources known to be latently infected with viruses and a mycoplasma. Over a 3-season period VT Jonathon trees out yielded infected trees by 56%, VT Richared Delicious out yielded them by 40%, and VT Granny Smith by 41%.”

The VT trees were slightly larger than the infected trees. “Because of the structure of the trial, it was not possible to apportion the differences noted between those due to virus/mycoplasma diseases, and those due to clonal variations. However, it is clear that the use of selected scions and rootstocks from the VT scheme provided a significant increase in fruit yield, with only a small increase in overall tree size, and therefore such a scheme can be of considerable advantage to industry.”

Certification systems have been operating in Europe and North America for the past 30 years. They were adopted because research in this area showed that there were significant improvements to orchard yields if trees were certified. The certification systems that were set up to assure the virus status of planting material are widely supported. European research in the 70’s and 80’s confirmed that yield benefits where evident in all varieties that were certified.

There are three components to the certification system that will ensure benefits to growers they are: virus-tested status; trueness to type; and minimum nursery tree standards as described in recital C of the certification rules.

APFIP aims to license the use of the certification trademark to producers of nursery tree and rootstocks. This process is described in the certification rules.

To establish the system APFIP introduced a range of industry standard varieties and rootstocks into heat treatment in the winter of 1998 to re-establish them in a known state and free from the viruses of economic significance (Apple Stem Grooving Virus (ASG), Apple Stem Pitting Virus (ASPV), Apple Mosiac Virus (AmV) and Apple Chlorotic Leaf spot Virus (ACLSV)).

Crop Health Services (CHS) were contracted to complete this task and they used the services of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Biosecurity) plant quarantine station at Knoxfield to undertake the heat-treatment in the first instance but have now developed the capability. The first rootstocks and varieties have been assessed for trueness to type and virus status and are now being multiplied. They will become the first propagation material to carry the certification trademark.

It is possible to have the virus indexing to meet the certification requirements completed whilst new introductions are in the Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) system. This will result in new introductions meeting the virus status requirements upon release. Importers need to manage the new material once released in accordance with the certification system to ensure that they are not infected by uncertified material.

Varieties and rootstocks to be entered into the certification system need to be assessed for trueness to type. This is conducted by APFIP once the candidate trees are fruiting as described in the certification rules.

Minimum nursery trees standards are also a requirement of certification. To assist nursery tree producers in meeting the standards APFIP coordinates a nursery tree group. This group is supplied with information about nursery techniques; if you would like to be part of this group please contact the General Manager. Contact details can found on the contact page.

The trademark will be displayed on the nursery tree tag with one tag per bundle of trees. In the case of rootstocks there will be one tag for every bundle of 50 stocks. APFIP will collect a trademark fee for each APFIP Certified Tree produced.

APFIP aims to license the use of the certification trademark to producers of nursery tree and rootstocks. This process is described in the certification rules.

There are currently ten [10] nurseries licensed to use the certification trademark. The focus of the promotion of certification has been on the commercial benefits to everyone involved. APFIP encourages all growers to ask questions of their nursery tree suppliers with regard to the status of their products in respect of certification. Demand is the simplest way of encouraging nurseries to produce the required product. This promotion is ongoing.

The approved users of the Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program® Ltd. (APFIP) certification trademark are selected in accordance with the certification rules as approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).


In November 2005 the Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program® Ltd (APFIP) ceased operations at the Monash site in South Australia. Production of APFIP certified rootstocks is now being licensed to commercial nurseries.

APFIP has established a new repository for its certified varieties and rootstocks near Cambridge in southern Tasmania. This site is in the Coal River Valley with access to ample supplies of water and is isolated from pome fruit production areas. The climate is much less stressful for the plants than the former Monash site and is expected to assess the fruit qualities of our heat treated varieties and rootstocks in a more reliable manner.

APFIP is currently only supplying its licensees with material from the repository. Licensee contact information is shown below; all the rootstocks produced in the future will be certified. APFIP has relocated all specialised rootstock production and harvesting equipment to Tasmania.

Rootstock technical data

M.9 (syn.Jaune de Metz)


East Malling, England; selection 1912; first introduction to Australia about late 1940s at Bathurst ARS; EMLA introduction (IC709017, IT729017, IN749017, IW789017), at Orange from Canberra 1970 via Rydalmere 1974; new introduction of the same IN920786


Leaf – large, somewhat shiny, flat

Shape – oval, acute tip, truncate base

Margin – finely serrated, pie crust

Stipules – small, narrow, not distinct

Shoot – straight, thick, short, scarcely any side shoots, reddish yellow with silvery sheen, brittle

Flower – early, like M.27, closely following Ottawa 3, third week in October

Fruit – medium flattish conical, ridges around closed eye in shallow basin, medium short stalk in small basin, yellow with pinkish blush, matures earliest of rootstocks about last week in January


Dwarf trees about 2-3m high (30% size of seedling)


Roots well in stoolbed, but production per bed is low because of limited shoot number; some new clones, i.e. Pajam 2, are more productive in stoolbeds


Very susceptible to woolly aphids and fireblight, partially resistant to collar rot, resistant to latent viruses


Major dwarf rootstock for high density plantings; very precocious, and fruit colours and sizes well; poor anchorage so must have support for tree’s life; should be planted on sites with deep, fertile, well drained soil, very few suckers, few burr-knots

M.26 (syn.M 3436)


H.M. Tydeman. East Malling, England; M.16 x M.9 (1929)


Leaf – upfolded and curled back with wavy edges, petiole pinkish when young, dull

Shape – ovate, acute tip and truncate base

Margin – deeply serrated, uneven

Stipules – elliptical, long, narrow

Shoot – pinkish red wood, many spiky side branches

Flower – mid, a week to 10 days after M.9, fourth week in October

Fruit – medium small flat conical, part closed eye in shallow wide basin, short stalk, greeny with orange red blush and slight stripe, matures late February – early March


In between M.9. and MM.106. (40% size of seedling)


Produces well in stoolbeds


Mildly susceptible to collar rot; susceptible to woolly aphids, very susceptible to fire blight; prone to burrknots


Dwarf rootstock for high density plantings, may need support under most conditions, precocious and productive, susceptible to drought and wet feet, does not sucker much, compatible, not brittle, hardy; suitable for Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, Hi Early etc.



East Malling and John Innes, U.K. (1920’s), Northern Spy x M.1


Leaf – large, flat, leathery and rather glossy, veins underneath are pinkish

Shape – ovate, tip attenuate, base obtuse

Margin – neatly serrated

Stipules – prominent, elliptical, slightly serrated

Shoot – young is profusely hairy, 2 year wood dull green

Flower – late, fourth week in October

Fruit –


Semi-vigorous, similar to M.7 (70% size of seedling)


Very productive on stoolbeds, roots readily from hard wood cuttings with bottom heat and hormone dip


Very susceptible to various strains of collar rot, susceptible to mildew, tolerant to fire blight, resistant to woolly aphids


Precocious, heavy cropping, reasonable anchorage, suitable for semi-intensive plantings on well drained sites with most new varieties, sensitive to Specific Apple Replant Disease (SARD)

Approved Users

Western Australia

Olea Nurseries 
RMB 44 Mitcheldene Road
Manjimup, WA 6258
Ph 08 9772 1207
Fax 08 9772 1333


Tahune Fields Nursery
106 Lucaston Road
Lucaston, TAS 7109
Ph 03 6266 4474
Fax 03 6266 4451

Forest Home Nursery
799 North Huon Road
Judbury, TAS 7109
Ph 03 6266 6272
Fax 03 6266 6372

Tangara Nursery
40 Pages Road
Grove, TAS 7109
Ph 03 6266 4364
Fax 03 6266 4729

Hansen Orchards
Basin Road
Grove, TAS 7109
Ph 03 6264 0200
Fax 03 62640250

South Australia

Balhannah Nurseries
Hartmann Road
Charleston, SA 5244
Ph 08 8389 4557
Fax 08 8389 4556

New South Wales

Narromine Transplants
120 Eumungerie Road
Narromine, NSW 2821
Ph 02 6889 2111
Fax 02 6889 2500

Mount View Orchards Batlow
272 Old Tumbarumba Road
Batlow, NSW 2730
Ph 02 6949 1765
Fax 02 6949 1776


Top Stock Investments
Red Hill South VIC 3937
Ph 03 5989 6257

Little Tree Company
261 Hays Road
Katunga, VIC 3640
Ph Andrew 0428 646 390 or Claire 0458 646 523
Fax 03 5864 6540

Galgate Nursery
Beechworth VIC 3747
Ph 0418 335 928
Fax 03 5728 6711