Apple graft took but is not growing

Last year I grafted a piece of older wood(only scion I could get) to my tree. The graft took, but basically just grew leaves from two buds located on two short spurs it had and nothing else. This year, same two buds produced flower buds. And I do not see any other active buds. I actually do not see any other buds at all… How do I encourage it to grow?

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I’ve had similar problems - wish I knew the answer. But for starters I wouldn’t let it bloom, and if you pinch the blossoms off and no leaves show up I don’t know what to do!

What was the variety? I’ve got some scions that were sent to me by generous members here, and if I’ve got what you want I could have it to you by Monday at the latest.


I grafted Melba from Russia, it has sentimental property for me, I brought it from the old tree I was climbing on when I was a kid 50 years ago😀


Well, that’s one I don’t have! But if it’s alive there’s always a chance.


My graft of Melba has not grown much, either. I will take a look tomorrow and take a picture.

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Is the graft bud the highest on the tree? May never grow if it is not.


Could be that you have the graft too low on the tree…if it is a well established tree you put the scion on.

If that’s not the case, then it probably will have a dormant bud where the flowers are that will eventually start to grow.


Grafts placed on well sun exposed upright water sprouts usually take off when they take, but grafts placed on more horizontal and weaker growing wood can behave like spurs. They can be very difficult to motivate towards active vegetative growth. Obviously, removing flower buds can help as can tying the wood they are on to a more upright position, using a post if needed. You can also make a cut upstream on the larger wood the wood the graft is on is attached to to force the N. and sap delivered by the roots to send more to the wood supporting the graft.

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Thank you, guys!
@mamuang, let me know!
@anon47724557, no it is not highest, my grafting skills are not that good and scion itself was questionable, so I couldn’t risk to cut the top of the tree.
@BlueBerry, yes, it is relatively low due to my limited grafting skills
@alan, it is grafted to a young tree, but it didn’t have any water shoots when I grafted, so it is grafted onto the end of the lower branch, that looks up. Can you please provide a drawing or photo or picture guide on what I need to cut?

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Got out to take this pic just in time before it rains more seriously.

I did not put it in the best position on this tree, either. If I recall it correctly, the apple tree you grafted Melba on is young so it should be able to push growth on that graft.

In this case, the slow growth could be more about the quality of scion wood. As you said, it was not top quality wood.

I would do like @marknmt suggested. Pinch off all the flowers but be careful to leave all the leaves that surround the flower cluster on. I hope it will recover.

If my scion grows enough this year, I will give you its wood.


That is clearly spur wood that leaves are now forming off of. Later buds behind may be capable of putting out better growth because spurs are spurs. You remove the flowers from them and instead of making fruit it puts energy in making flower buds for next year’s crop. Sometimes I remove the spurs from shoots and leave the more vegetative buds as they grow into new shoots. If you use a pruning saw to make a cut through the vascular sheaf just above the small branches with grafts it may help also. If you can manage to pull them up another 20-30 degrees, it might also help. Hinges help when wood is rigid. The one with a length of original wood before the graft is a good candidate for lifting.

Man, I have work to do, and the paragraph above set me back 15 minutes.

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I appreciate your advice. The pic you saw is my graft.

Galina does not post a pic of her graft that produces flowers. Mine does not have flowers.

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sorry, I do not mean to take up you time. Just the words you saying are unfamiliar to me. That’s OK though, I will figure it out eventually. Or not. Anyway, it is just a fun for me, not a job :smiley:.

Mine looks the same, but it has two spurs with flowers and shorter length. It is also more vertical.