Can I get scionwood from the USDA?

Or is it closed to home-growers?

I was just on there, looking for some fireblight reaistant/disease resistant heirloom apples that might do well here in the SE. I found a few that I’ve never heard of before, and I doubt you could even get them as scionwood from a company in the USA. (Probably from a private individual somewhere.). For example, one called Ruhm aus Kirchwerder looks like it might do well here. But I couldn’t find it for sale anywhere. (Though if someone knows where I could pay for some scionwood of this and other promising European varieties, let me know.)

Will they send it to me? Because when I went to checkout, one of the required fields was “organization”. Obviously I don’t belong to one. Will they only send it to professional growers and researchers?

Growing Fruit Organization :grin:


Last I heard only the Davis repository was restricting orders. I think several folks here got scions from Geneva in the last year.

Geneva sent me both apple and sour cherry wood. Corvallis has sent pear wood (also have currants and gooseberries) in the past, but they had an infection this past year. I’m not sure if it has cleared yet or if they will be sending out any wood this year.

And I think Corvallis isn’t sending material because of investigating disease concerns in the pear/quince.

I got apple wood last year and I’m a home grower. Told them I was researching pollination or disease resistance in Appalachia. Lol

The Geneva station in NY sends apple scionwood 2 times a year. Put in a request. Identify yourself as a private landowner. Say you will be testing the cultivar’s performance at your location’s microclimate (USDA zone/ elevation above sea level/ etc). This qualifies as research. You must be willing to share your results if they ask.

You will probably get your scionwood within 6 or 12 months, or you might get an e-mail stating the variety is lost or had no budwood left to spare for that season.

If you are patient, and don’t abuse the system, you are likely to get something out of it.

They’ve sent me several varieties over the past few years. It is a wonderful program.


I agree with Matt. I didn’t want to abuse it so I just asked for 3 varieties. I didn’t really expect them to send it. I even requested it late. They sent me Arkansas Black, D’arcy Spicy, and Ashmeads Kernel. All great looking scions and very long. I think they sent 2 or 3 sticks each but they were long enough to get 3 graft able scions off each stick.

Dawn at USDA is the best.(I still owe you a meal, Dawn). I’ve gotten my favorite weirdness, several times, from them. Totally agree with Matt, don’t abuse the system. They ask you to get wood from only commercially unavailable cultivars. I try to stay in those guidelines as much as possible. Their ordering guidelines have a lot of lead time so order early and give them some alternatives. I’ve been absolutely pleased with my experiences with them. Dawn is the woman who’s name is on all the packages.

Thank you all very much. I think I will give it a try. Worst they can do is say no. I was not planning to order anything I could find on say, Trees of Antiquity, but more stuff that is nearly impossible to find in US nurseries. Just a few European varieties that apparently have very good disease resistance to see how they do here.

I will try to only pick a few varieties, as advised, and hopefully they accept my request.

Just submitted my request. Asked for 5 scions. Ruhm aus Kirchwerder from Germany, Blahova Oranzova from the Czech Republic (which is evidently a Cox x Wagener cross), Patul/Batul from Romania, Egri Piros from Hungary, and Karastoyanka from Bulgaria.

All appear to have at least some degree of disease resistance, but I’d be interested to see how they do in the humid SE (disease central.). They’re not readily available from any nursery or retailer that I’ve seen here in the US, so…we’ll see how they respond, I guess.


The Geneva USDA/ARS order form only has the postal address and the fax number. Do they still receive requests by fax or can you e-mail a request?

I’ve not heard of a single one of those. Where are you learning about all these obsure apples?

To be honest, I went to the USDA website, looked at the apples they had from European countries (skipping France and England because I figured they were already well-represented and researched) and clicked through and looked at the descriptions and what information they had.

If I found an apple that looked promising, I googled it (and had to run several things through Google translate! LOL) and added it to my potential list if it seemed promising. Some of the apples seemed to have a bit of history behind them. From what I understood from Google translate (so to be taken with a grain of salt) the Karastoyanka was a very popular, well-loved apple in the past. However, with communism and the centralization of agriculture that took place in the 60s-70s-80s, the Karastoyanka was forcibly replaced with other, more commercially profitable apples.

So some of them have a bit of history, some of them (like the Ruhm aus Kirchwerder) just seem to be good apples that, for whatever reason, never became popular here.

I know this seems odd I would have this interest, especially just getting into apples, like I am. However, in a past life, I was a researcher, and it is still a hobby of mine, so doing this research is just part of the fun for me.

Perhaps I’ll find that none of them are suited to the hot and humid southeast (not a whole lot of tree fruits are!) But perhaps I’ll find one or two that thrive, and I can share scions and information with others and help bring these rare or forgotten apples to a few more gardens.

I just hope the USDA sees fit to grant all or part of my request for scions. However, I will certainly understand if they do not as I am not planning on commercially selling these apples. Perhaps at a farmer’s market if I get excellent harvests, but that’s many years down the road, and not the main goal for my request.

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Hi Stan. I’m guessing the still accept requests by fax because from what I saw, they put out a 2016 catalog with a fax number on it.

You can also order online via the website.

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Good news, on Saturday I learned that the moratorium on sharing pear material has been lifted.

Can you please post the link. I cannot find it.

Awesome! I just requested Elliot, Belle Lucrative, and Docteur Desportes pear scions!

Unfortunately, Harvest Queen is still not available. I want to make an entire tree of that variety. Right now, I only have one grafted branch…

That’s great to hear. I’m probably going to cut down on how many things I graft, but would still like to add a few pears (including Asian).

This post may help for anyone struggling with the site:


Bob, thank you very much! I’ve just requested tart cherry scions.

Here is my order (in case someone is interested). All are European tart cherry varieties known for high-quality fruit (good for fresh eating). Most (although not all) have decent-to-good disease resistance. I plan to graft them on Krymsk-5 rootstocks.

592865 Ukrainische Griotte
592872 Studencheskaya
592876 Favorit
592877 Kelleris 16
592869 Tschernokorka
592871 Sumadinka
619212 Pandy 48
632680 Pamjat Vavilova
657724 Kentish