Planting rootstock and grafting timing

Asked April 11, 2018, 2:49 PM EDT

Hi, I have several bud9 rootstocks that I just received. I would like to plant them in 5 gallon pots and then graft them in the spring of next year, if not within the next month. The rootstocks are currently just stuck in a mulch pile. What should my process be to ensure the highest likelihood of the rootstocks surviving and thriving? What type of soil should I use? Thank you for your help. -Andrew

Multnomah County Oregon fruit trees grafting

1 Response

If you don’t yet have the grafting material (scions) at hand, the best choice may be to wait until next year. The reason: Scion wood is collected while trees area still dormant, then held at cool temperatures until needed.

It’s best to use potting mix in containers. Do not fill the pots with soil. And do not add rocks, or any other so-called drainage material, in the bottoms of the pots.

Budding can be performed before or during the growing season whereas “most grafting is done during winter and early spring while both scion and rootstock are still dormant. Containerized plants may be moved indoors during the actual grafting process; after grafting, these plants are placed in protected areas or in unheated overwintering houses. Field-grown stock, of course, must be grafted in place. Some deciduous trees are commonly grafted as bare rootstock during the winter and stored until spring planting. Indoor winter grafting is often referred to as bench grafting because it is accomplished at a bench.” (In “Grafting and Budding Nursery Crop Plants” at https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/grafting-and-budding-nursery-crop-plants. Please review this page for other good information.)

Additional resources are these:

“Propagation of Plants by Grafting and Budding” is the only publication available from Oregon State University and must be obtained by mail order. (https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/pnw496)

“Fruit Tree Propagation - Grafting and Budding” (https://extension.psu.edu/fruit-tree-propagation-grafting-and-budding) has good illustrations for the various types of grafts you might consider.

Good luck!