How to make a fruit tree graft fruit

Asked January 29, 2019, 8:13 PM EST

I grafted some scions from my prized pear tree to the trunk of an old Bartlett where the crown is rotting out. Seven out of eleven grafts "took". The next year, in the spring, there were flowers on the grafts. Since the grafts were still new and weak, it did not appear they could bear the weight of a heavy pear. I trimmed back the grafts and did not let them have fruit the first year. Since then, the grafts have all become stout and the graft point has healed...but have not seen a flower in two years. Have I ruined the grafts somehow? How does one prompt flowering? Comments please.

Multnomah County Oregon

5 Responses

Thanks for your question. I am not understanding why you trimmed back grafts which had flowers. That was your best hope for fruit. Are you able to send pictures of what is left of the scions (that you describe as ‘stout’?) Flowers bloom from specific plant tissue, and it would be helpful to see what the resulting tissue looks like. Thanks!

Please see attached pictures. From what I can see the scions are now 5 years old. When I cut the brand new scions back because they were weak and could not support fruit, I cut them back to where there were still two "buds" on the stem from the original scion. In the picture that shows the whole tree, the subject scions are on the mid-trunk on the left side.

Thanks for the photos. They look healthy, and, as you said, are budding. It does appear that you have a few water sprouts, which you won't be able to tell whether they are fruiting until later in the year. (Here is information about plant part identification, and pruning techniques: I can't detect any crossed limbs, and you have the canopy opened up so foliage will get adequate sunlight.

There is no way to prompt flowering. It is a combination of warmth, adequate water and nutrients, and hormones. I think you just need to give it some time. Good luck!

Here is a picture of the tree today (attached). Note the grafts are on the trunk to the lower left and the ungrafted flowering branches to the upper right. The grafts just seem to be all leaves, no flowers. As previously stated, I grafted in the fall of like 2014 and in the spring of 2015, the grafts had lots of blossoms. I was worried the grafts would just break off from heavy fruit, so I trimmed them back...they have never shown blossoms again. What's the deal?

I suspect you pruned too severely, and removed the buds from the grafts. Supporting the limb might have solved the problem, and kept the buds.