Can you wait too long to start grafting?

I’m sure the answer is YES! you can certainly wait too long you dummy!, but I have to ask it anyway.

All of the things I’ve read on this site caution against starting too early, or having a few warm days and then getting a cold snap. Someone even wrote to me privately during a scion swapping conversation to be especially careful about peaches. With the advice being to wait until the hot weather arrives so it will be more likely that the grafts will take.

My basically uninformed thought is to wait until post-bloom, post-petal fall and until after the leaves have started growing.

What’s wrong with this picture?

That timing is fine for pears and apples, and is my preferred time, based on my own experience. It can be hard to do peaches in the spring. They won’t take if not warm enough the first couple weeks. Problem is peaches may start to bud out in the fridge while you are waiting for that warm enough weather.

I plan on grafting my pear this weekend. It is a large tree that I top worked last year and am adding more varieties this year. I let the root stock send out some branches late last year for grafting spots and it has small green leaves the size of my thumb nail as of this morning.

One of veteran grafters said (I think) they’ve grafted thru July on apples,.

I’m wondering if with peaches it is advantageous to wrap the graft union in black electrical tape or splicing tape since black will create additional heat on the graft union. Could this potentially be too much heat? I’ve see and heard of people creating aluminum foil reflectors to get more sun on the graft union but was curious about black tape. I’ve used it on apple grafts just because of it’s high strength and had great success. Last year I grafted with parafilm but then doubled up with black tape on the union and it worked great.

Hi Bart,
I am in Georgia and I grafted the peach scions that you sent me-last week-last Saturday to be exact. I grafted them onto a hale haven peach tree. Although I am fairly new to grafting, I started out trying to graft in summer (2 years ago) but I still have not discovered the right time to summer graft–so I had a conversation with another one of my growing fruit buddies, and he gave me an excellent suggestion. He told me to experiment in summer (like in 2 week intervals) on different trees and just record the time that I do the grafts to see what works and when. Then I will get an idea when the appropriate time is graft to get successful results!
In springtime I began my graft when I saw the pink in the blooms and I kept a watch on the weather predictions. Fortunately, we have had nothing but warm weather since I did the graft and I am checking it every day so I will let you know how I faired in the grafting department with those grafts. I would love to get a hold of a Flavor Grenade scion. I have some bland plum trees that I could graft onto right about now.:grinning:


Flavor Grenade is under patent until Jan 19, 2020.

Thanks for the heads up Stan! I just have to put my funds together and treat myself to a tree! I guess I’ll order from Raintree…

I use electrical tape when I graft apples. It works fine, and the tape falls off in about a year or two.

Do you use the tape just to cover and secure the graft union and then something like paraffin tape over everything else?

Ive been wrapping all my grafts with parafilm first. I like how easy it is to work with and can stabilize the scion long enough for me to get a good tight wrap with the electrical tape. I cover the entire scion with parafilm prior to grafting. Then I only use electrical tape over the graft Union. It’s worked well. Probably overkill but I’m not doing hundreds of grafts. You can also wrap the graft with vinyl or rubber electrical tape without the parafilm. Many here do that with great success. If using vinyl tape watch for girdling. You can simply put a single slit down the side of the tape later in the season after the graft has strengthened to keep from girdling the limb.


I depends a lot on weather and insect pressure where the grafting is done. I’ve been doing enough grafts of different species for a long enough time to have some idea about spring grafting in the NE. Some of this certainly applies to all humid region areas subject to late frosts etc.

For stonefruit here, I believe it has more to do with state of the tree’s development more than temps following grafts- Scott feels it is more about temp and we’ve both compared results and come to different conclusions.

But we still both graft around the same time in the development of the peach- after petal fall when trees have developed young leaves- he just makes more an effort to do it proceeding a warm spell than I do- but probably neither of us would endorse grafting immediately preceding a cool rain for stonefruit.

Contrary to some of the advice here, I seem to get my very best growth from grafts just before first growth of pears and apples, even when pretty hard frost follows, but from there until about 10 days after first growth everything is close enough to optimum.

When apple and E. plum grafts open long after the other leaves in a tree have hardened off they are magnets for aphids and leaf hoppers, which often kill grafts here if left uncontrolled. It took me a while to figure this out.

Leaf hoppers and aphids can always slow growth of a shoot, but if the shoot is far enough along by the time they appear it is unlikely they will kill the entire shoot. You will always get better overall growth from an establishing graft if they aren’t sucking the juice out of growing tips.


I just use the electrical tape. I tightly wrap the whole grafting area. If you have good viable scionwood, you wont need the parafilm. Over 98% of my grafts are successful.

How did you come out Bart?

Most of what I grafted still looks dormant, but I did see some new growth popping out in a couple of places. We’ve had very cool and wet weather for the last 2 weeks or more so that may be slowing things down? I’m hopping to finally get some tomatoes in the ground this weekend, which will be two weeks later than last year because of the weather. I’m hoping my grafts are just waiting to see if the sun will ever come out again, to start popping!


Am I understanding it right that the scion has to be dormant whenever you decide to graft, or can one take a cutting from one tree in leaf and immediately graft it to another tree in leaf? I keep thinking I should cross-graft some of my trees to have a back-up in case I lose a tree, but have been too busy and had health problems this spring. Learning to graft is on my to-do list.

The less dormant your scion or bud the less chance of success. Part of the reason is that a tree part in active growth will continue growing after you insert it but it will not yet have a food and fluids supply from the tree to which it is attached. So it will use up its own supply and then fail.

However, summer budding/chipping is done from a bud stick cut from the current year’s growth, and it looks like you’re sticking new growth in. But the growing part is nipped off and the dormant bud hiding in the leaf axil- trees keep these in reserve for our convenience, I’m sure :-)- should grow out in time.


Thanks, marknmt. Maybe I will have time later on to try that.