Bench grafting cherries?

Can cherries be bench grafted successfully? First time grafting cherries, I usually bench graft almost all my apples and pears. If they can be, any difference in protocol once they are grafted?


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Cherries have been the hardest for me, but I’m far from being an expert grafter. I’ve only tried W&T grafts on the few I’ve tried. I’ve only had 1 bench graft take out of the 9 or 10 I’ve tried. But it is possible, this is the successful Stella I did last year and it’s still doing great.


Steve, that’s the same success rate I had with T-budding cherries. I admit I am a novice, so others probably do better.

Stella is a good cherry. Mine is blooming now - really beautiful, would be a great ornamental.

I have Stella cherry, Stanley plum, and Blanche fig. Maybe I should call my orchard, “Streetcar Named Desire”.


I know this is an old thread, but I’m planning to try bench grafting/budding some tart cherries in about two weeks. We’ve had an extended cold spring here in central Illinois. I’ve got some dormant scion wood that was collected about a week ago, and I’d like to propagate it on some Mazzard rootstock. I’ve previously bench grafted about a thousand apple trees with a high rate of success using a whip and tongue graft and grafting rubbers with parafilm. But, I’ve never done cherries. In addition to the original post, I’ve read reports that cherries don’t respond well to whip and tongue grafting, so I was considering trying some dormant chip budding, but that’s a skill I’ve never tried. Any advice on this would be appreciated.

You might go with the Mega Chip Graft:

Works for all difficult nut trees and every type of deciduous graft.



I have been following professional cherry grafter Ken Coates’ YouTube channel this year . Some of the points that he frequently repeats is that it is important to graft cherries early in the season when both the rootstock and the scions are still dormant. Secondly, larger diameter stiff scions are better. The topmost one to two feet of last years growth is usually flexible pithy wood and it is poorly suited for scion grafting but can possibly be used for budding.

Any type of graft should be fine as long as you have good cambium contact between scion and understock.


I tried 3 bench grafts last year on krymsk5 (1 balaton and 2 black tartarians). I grafted them straight out of the fridge (scion and rootstock) and put them in a small rootbag with a good coarse planting mix. I used a whip and tongue graft and wrapped the whole scion in parafilm. All 3 took and later in the summer I transplanted 2 of them outside, the other is still in a root bag and spent the winter in the garage. I’m probably going to do the same thing this year, hopefully I get my rootstocks soon.

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I agree that there’s a big difference between topworking and bench grafting. Also, with tart cherries, the scions from new growth seem to be pretty small in diameter compared to sweet cherries.

Ztom, that sounds like what I’ve done with apples before, and it worked great. I think that’s the approach I’m going to take with my tart cherries. It’s encouraging to know that you’ve had success with that method.

Just to update - I bench grafted about 30 tart cherries (Surefire and Karneol varieties) in April 13th, three weeks ago today. They were grafted to Mazzard rootstock (3/16” caliper, certified virus indexed) ordered from Lawyer Nursery, shipped bareroot. The rootstock was supposed to be shipped dormant, but appeared to be coming out of dormancy when it arrived. I assume that after spending 5 days on the UPS truck during fairly warm weather, the rootstock was ready to start growing.

I used a whip and tongue graft, pretty low on the rootstock. I cut the scions to about the length of my middle finger, each with 2-3 vegetative buds. I wrapped each union with a grafting rubber, followed by some parafilm. I also put a little parafilm on the cut top of the scion to prevent drying. Then the grafts were planted into some moist peat for about a week while I waited for warmer temperatures outdoors. During the first three days after grafting, all of the Karneol scions started to show green buds, and I was worried that they were coming out of dormancy too soon, before the union had healed sufficiently. So, I put them under a plastic bag for the rest of that first week indoors. After that, I planted them outside, and they seem to be growing well. 29/30 are showing growth, and I haven’t given up on the last one yet. I’m pretty pleased with the success rate. I had read that cherries were more difficult to graft than apples, and that they should be budded instead. However, on this initial attempt, My experience was that cherries (tart cherries at least) were no more difficult to successfully bench graft than apples.


Old post, but the question is the same. I have several tart cherries to graft when rootstock comes in- do these do better on a hot callus pipe, just before waking up, or ? Do I pot them, or bag with moist media and then put in my nursery bed? bench grafting, Mahaleb rootstock.
I have the option to do any, but I am also doing apple and plum, so I’d rather get a plan in place. Things will get crazy in a week or two, and I’ll have my truck back for mulch.

I had 50% success (I’m guessing) or 75% doing them dormant on a hot callus & roots wrapped in moist paper towels, bagged. I think it was 75% franc…

After hot callusing them, they were in a refrigerator (to keep trees dormant - I keep all mine dormant until I can bring them outside after Mother’s Day… here in zone 5b) and then pot them so they may wake up w/o needing to harden them off, too.

I do not know the correct procedure(s) for cherries, Franc.

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Around here, they say about mother’s day mid-May is the last frost date. I think I remember maybe two very late frosts in years, but weather is variable. I read several posts about cherry that said moist, and 55-60F while callus happened. That might be what I try. Two people here had success with tart cherry.

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