Best way to create a 3/4-in-1

Like the topic says. What’s going to be the easiest way to great and create a multi graft plum/pluot? I had thought about it a few years back and never tried. My rootstock is waking up and the thought crossed my mind again. Do i chip/T bud one variety, let it grow out this year/next, then use that variety as the “new” rootstock and then just chip/T bud more onto it keeping some of the branches? Or is there an easier way?

It depends somewhat on the current shape of your rootstock. If it has good branch angles and good spacing of those branches then I’d T bud in late spring. If that doesn’t take chip bud in late summer. Or you could chip bud now with dormant scions.

If your tree doesn’t have useful branches you could place a scion down low and build your tree from there.

What FN said. I made some 3/4-1 multigrafts plums using feathered p. Americana rootstock, and the selected the three best side shoots…whip and tongue those and the top and it has worked out well. The rootstock had been growing in ground for a couple seasons, so the grafts responded quite vigorously, 4-6’ of growth the first season.
After two years, the branches show a lot of fruit buds, one variety actually fruited the second season. My one concern is the overgrowth I am seeing at the union on some of the grafted branches, not sure what the long term consequences are, if any.

If your plum tree has good scaffolds as fruit nut suggests you could also cut back the scaffolds and graft dormant scions to them right now. If the scaffolds are thin and similar in size to the scions use a whip and tongue graft. If the scions are smaller than the scaffolds then cleft graft. I bought a few well branched beater trees that were discounted just to throw scions on.

I had a beautiful container grown multi budded FK/etc tree going on peach rootstock…had…borers killed the tree. Because i started from seed, i was able to keep a trunk of only about 6 inches tall and then that is where it branched off into 4 directions (i cut out the tall middle branch if i remember correctly)…each branch then got a bud…all the buds took the second year and it grew beautifully…then the following spring it flowered and died :frowning: One reason i’ve come to hate peach seedling as rootstock…and the reason i spray a few times each summer for borers ( i should also paint the trunks)… but yeah…that is how i’m trying to do it when using containers. In a container i don’t need 5 feet of trunk…i can branch them at almost soil level.

On established trees this is much harder. What i’m seeing with my multi budded apricot is not good. I have buds that are 5 feet or more off the ground and those new shoots are skying 15 feet in the air. Its best to start from “scratch”… a nice rootstock cut very short would work great. Pick a few nice branches and go to town.

I like open center trees for this. Try to keep each variety in its own area…

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What have others done with a whip and no branches? It looks like the commercial N-n-1s are budded to the main trunk. Is that not the case? Do they simply T-bud the varieties and head the whip above the highest bud when it’s time to force them? Or do they do like @fruitnut suggested above and create branches on the rootstock that they then bud to?

One of the things you can do with a whip is to graft on a new variety maybe 24-36 inches above the root. What should happen is that by cutting the whip a flush of new growth should happen on the trunk below the graft. Some of these may be ideal scaffolds. Leave some of them and train them with wide crotch angles and rub the rest of them off. You can select one of the buds from the new graft to be a modified central leader or even a scaffold if you are growing open center.

I’m going to do with this with an apple whip I grafted last year. It’s about 36" tall Suncrisp grafted on Bud9. The top of the whip is pencil sized and I’ll use a whip and tongue graft to add another variety like Ashmeads Kernel. At that point from 36" up my central leader will become asheads but I’ll have a few lower scaffolds of suncrisp. At least thats my plan.

They T bud on the trunk. That makes poor branch angles. Budding on limbs with strong structure is superior but too expensive for commercial use.


The K1 rootstock i got from Raintree are all around 8-12 inches tall. So not terribly tall. I’m thinking I start with 1 initial graft, let it grow out then do what you talk about with picking branches and grafting onto them.

So in the end the rootstock will be K1, then the main trunk will be Plum #1, and then the other 3 will be grafted onto 3 of the 4 permanent Plum #1 branches.

Sound OK?

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Sounds like a plan to me :slight_smile:

Go for it…the plum will act as an interstem.

I have 5 K1 that the rabbits kept pruned last summer…i plan on grafting directly to them with various peaches/pluots/apricots/plums/plumcots… i’m going to shoot for 4 variety on each…maybe 5 depending on the number of branches i can get. Plus not all chip buds will probably take. I may leave mine all in the ground.

Here is what i got

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I’ll have to try some of those. I have a pretty good supply right now that i’ll use up first.

Here is a future 3 in 1 from today…you can see the top bud is growing (chipped last summer–don’t ask me what it is…i don’t know! its something good) …The other two branches i’ll let grow out and then chip them this summer with who knows what. The rootstock is just a peach (probably nectarine…) seedling.


The best way to create a three-quarter in one? Hummm, top it, have several beers and forget to graft onto it would seem to the be the best way to accomplish that to me. :grin:

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I just planted 16 K1 rootstocks I received from Cummins. Most are intended for experiments with apricots, but a few will have plums and peaches/nectarines grafted or budded on them.

Regarding peaches/nectarines: I read that K1 is compatible with Redhaven (as demonstrated in NC-140 trials), but trials in California showed poor compatibility with many California varieties and trials in Spain showed some incompatibilities with low chill nectarines. I guess, it would make sense to graft/bud Redhaven on K1 and then graft/bud other varieties on branches of Redhaven. Am I correct that effectively using Redhaven as an interstem would solve incompatibility issues?

Regarding plums: According to various trials, K1 appears to have very good compatibility with both European and Japanese plums. Therefore, grafting/budding on branches of K1 seems like a very good way to create a tree that has various varieties of European and Japanese plums (if one wants such a tree for some reason).


I’ve got a wide range of stone fruit budded on K1. Most budded 2 yrs ago. I’ll let you know how that goes. In the past I’ve had plums, pluots, nectarine, and peach on K1 with good results for ~4-5 crops.

I like your interstem ideas. Keep us informed on results.

I read that too and that was my same thinking. Using Redhaven as an interstem. The problem is i don’t have Redhaven :slightly_smiling: I suppose if you know of a plum that is compatible with peach, that would be another route.

I have 5 K1…i also have 2 k86 that i also plan on using for multibudded trees. To me k86 sounds like the holy grail for multi variety trees.

Then here is a question. … chip budding, when and age/current status of the scion wood.

The cool thing about Chip budding versus T budding is that chip budding doesn’t require the bark to be slipping. T-budding is done with live growing wood in mid to late summer while chip budding be be done with live wood or dormant wood.

What about age? Last year’s growth? Current season? 2 year old?