Thinking about grafting projects to happen in a few months. It would be fun to add some favorite pears to the planned mini-dwarf fruit tree garden. My pears on quince are too big.
So far I have not seen pear rootstocks that dwarf to the 5 to 8 foot tall range, or so. I did read about serviceberry as a rootstock. It looks like serviceberries might not grow so tall but
i don’t know about pear grafts on serviceberry. Im fine with buying Amelanchier from Raintree ($12.50) but no idea if one species is preferred or how they do in the long run.
Another option is hawthorn. We have two Chinese Haw (shan zha) Craetagus pinnatiffida, which seen to stay under 6 feet tall, at 7 years old. Similar questions with service berry.
I’ve read a number of posts here or elsewhere that these grafts work, but unable to locate long term results so far as later size, fruitfulness, fruit size. Also (maybe a bridge too far) disease resistance, such as fireblight. With so many expert grafters on growingfruit, maybe there is experience I did not locate with the wrong search terms.
Rather than searching for a different rootstock, you may want to consider using ring inversion, ringing, or scoring as a means to limit the vigor of the tree. I am speaking purely in theory here, I have never used any of these techniques.
Cotoneaster is another plant used for pear root stock as has been discussed several places on this forum. I understand it has quite a bit of experimentation in Canada. From what I recall, they said it would grow to about six feet. Also important to keep a nurse limb of the rootstock alive below the graft to feed the roots. I never pictured whether they pruned it to a tree type form or if it was more of a bush.
@Palmer, that’s an interesting idea. Reading your post, I searched on “Pear cottoneaster” and found this article from Arnold Arboretum. The article describes a number of techniques and is fun to read. The article is older than I am! @Zombiefruit that article also mentions bark inversion.
@ClarkInKs, I didn’t know what Aronia was. Again, searched. They have some at Raintree (I will check other nurseries too) seedlings for under $10 so I could try those. 5 foot tall is ideal.
Thanks for these replies. I will ponder these and any other responses. My minidwarf fruit garden will be around 30 feet x 50 feet fenced professionally and very tall to keep deer out, I hope much better than what I have been doing. It will also have a water tap so no hauling heavy hoses. I don’t need 100s of pears on a tree - 20 would be more than enough.
This could lead to an experiment. Graft one variety onto Aronia, one onto Cotoneaster (maybe on a pear rootstock), one onto Craetagus, one onto Amelanchier, and compare the results. Maybe try two or three varieties on same rootstock. I have about six pear and six Asian pear varieties to choose from in my orchard. I want to move most on them onto rootstocks that will make miniature trees / bushes.
Plus maybe I should just try Amelanchier and Aronia to see if I like them. Lots to ponder.
Edit. I found a research paper regarding Pear grafted to Amelanchier. If Im reading correctly, ere was good survival for most of the handful of species they tried. There was a difference in productivity. Looks like there was fireblight for some. It looks like these are quite precocious too. I admit I a not good at reading these papers. Also there was a post on growingfruit regarding pear on Aronia. Im not sure what the result was after a few years. The pear stems had much greater girth, early on, than the aronia, at least early on,
Thanks for all the links and info! Really appreciate your effort.
I was searching around the internet. Looks like Aronia and Amelanchier are not too hard to find, also Craetagus. I understand there are multiple species or cultivars, so I would expect variable results depending on what is chosen.
Cottoneaster is more challenging. It’s more difficult to find, and most seem prostrate. That might be interesting but I don’t know. Amazon has seeds but I’m leery about that, and that likely adds a couple of years waiting time. I knew someone who bought a “purple jasmine” on amazon. It was a red four o’clock.
I suppose if it was easy and successful, nurseries might be selling minidwarf pears.
Looking at this post and followup, Aronia might be more challenging, due to scion overgrowing the rootstock? Im sure the different cultivars can have different effects. Also maybe letting some Aronia grow from the base, to support roots.
How about grafting apple Winter Banana onto Bud-9, and the desired pear cultivar onto that. Would the dwarfing effect be similar to that for apple? Or going cross species, and genus, not as compatible maybe so end result is smaller. Maybe.
I always wonder if the ultimate size of a grafted dwarf tree is similar to an ungrafted rootstock. In other words, if you grow out some M27 without grafting onto it, will that be a 5 foot tall bush? So a pear on a on Amelanchier that normally grows 5 feet tall might be about 5 feet tall, but one on an Amelanchier that normally grows 8 feet tall will be more like 8 feet tall?
I know the vigor of the scion cultivar has a role too. My Jonagold on M27 is about 9 feet tall. My Liberty on M27 is about 5 feet tall. Both are almost 20 years old. My Honeycrisp on M27 is only about 3 feet tall. Same rootstock, but big difference in size.