Can a pear scion be grafted to an apple tree?

Asked January 28, 2015, 9:12 PM EST

Can a pear scion be grafted to an apple tree? We recently moved to Wisconsin from Michigan and had a pear tree that is very old which produced wonderful pears. I've tried to plant seeds with no success. Was wondering if I could graft to an apple tree.

La Crosse County Wisconsin trees and shrubs horticulture

1 Response

Grafting different varieties of apples, or pears onto a hardy root stock in the same family is the most common method of producing our familiar fruit selections. Indeed, the only way that you can reliably grow a favorite apple or pear is to use a grafted scion from the desired fruit (for instance a Honeycrisp apple) that is grafted onto a proven, hardy apple tree - one that is probably not tastey, or prolific, or sizable, etc. but has the genetics that will ensure long-term survival (cold-tolerant, disease resistant, etc). Apples and pears do not produce seeds that remain true to their parents, and this is why grafting is such an important process.

All that being said, grafted plants are much more fragile than "normal" plants and a good percentage of grafts fail. Most importantly, the grafted piece must be genetically similar to the root stock. Pears and apples are two different kinds of plants (genus) and while a graft from another genus might live for a while, it will eventually fail. So, this long answer is, No, you will not be able to graft an apple to a pear, or a pear to an apple.

Here is some information about grafting fruit trees:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/grafting-and-budding-fruit-trees/

And if you want to read some scientific reasons, here is a rather weighty link that describes grafting:
http://www.hort.cornell.edu/grafting/specific.grafting/compatibility.html