Cherry budding issue

I budded cherries for the first time in the fall this year. Unfortunately, almost all of them have sprouted. I’ve fall budded hundreds of peaches and only once I recall a fall budded peach sprouted. The graft died because it couldn’t harden off for the winter. I expect the same thing happens with cherries.

I don’t know what it is about cherries, but apparently the fall buds push growth in cherries.:unamused:


Knock on wood, none of my cherries have broken bud that I grafted last month. From what I can tell my buds still look viable.


I wonder what the difference is. I’m budding on Mahaleb and I budded about a month ago.

I grafted to Mahaleb as well. I would guess you have more heat units than me.


Olpea: I noticed your bud grafts are very low on the trunk, almost at ground level. Is that because you wanted to get it on the rootstock and not the variety on top? Are you going to get rid of the top part and redesign the tree? Just curious what the reason is for low graft (maybe it’s done frequently, I just haven’t seen it?)


I always graft mine low. More out of habit than anything. I started doing it because I wanted to try to get some trees to root out on their own roots (when I replanted the tree). Also wanted to be sure any low shoots came from the scion portion.

For some trees it’s beneficial to have the graft a little closer to ground level. Some apple rootstocks are more prone to form burr knots, and having the scion portion a little closer to the ground helps to minimize that.

For the most part though, it really doesn’t matter where you place the graft.


How are those pears you rind grafted doing? Rind grafts take a long time to heal in comparison to any other type of graft. It takes on average 5 years for rind grafts here to fully heal over but only 2 years for cleft grafts. My pears I tbudded last year look great!


I rind grafted my neighbor’s pear tree. If you recall the trunk was probably 4" in dia. I still don’t know if the rind graft will heal. The base of the trunk has gotten bigger, and it’s a lot to callus over. I only had one of the rind grafts take, so it’s a lot of callusing to go all the way around and heal the trunk.

I was worried about blowout of the graft, so I ended up giving them a small pear tree I grafted, just in case the big tree fails.

1 Like

I like going low because it’s easier to force the bud. In this case too easy. I won’t have expected the bud to grow without being forced. Esp this time of yr. A graft placed in the top of the tree can be hard to force.

The low graft will out grow the high graft by 10 fold or more in some cases. A low graft is replacing the whole tree. A high graft is replacing the top tip of the tree.


I do remember it will heal eventually. I’ve done ones that large and it just takes time. It will have pears on it soon. I should have asked what is the scion wood because that does make a difference?

It might survive, depends how hard the winter is going to be. Just cover them with leaves/hay anything you can find. Maybe even dirt would do. I sometimes force my summer grafts and they usually survive winter just fine.

1 Like

Hello Olpea and others,

I am new to grafting and fruit tree management in general. So pardon my ignorance in what may be obvious to other. Some questions:

  • Is that T-bud graft or another type of graft?
  • What does ‘force a summer graft’ mean? Is that same as fertilizing late in season to force it to sprout sooner than later?
  • Based on your comments, it would seem that it is better if the grafted bud (chip or t) stays dormant through the winter. Is that because it leads to stronger union?
  • (Unrelated to this thread) Is the grafted cherry bud in the attached picture a vegetative bud or flower bud? I thought I had figured it but internet has me confused.

Hi svpal,

If you are referring to the picture I posted 5 years ago, it’s a T-bud graft. For fall grafting, generally T-bud grafts are used. You can always use a chip graft, but if the bark is slipping, I much prefer a T-bud in the fall.

Forcing a summer graft means that you do something to “force” the graft to grow. Generally this means cutting off the growth just above the graft. Sometimes you can notch above the graft and that will force it. Sometimes you can break the branch above the graft, and that will also force it. Any disruption of the sap flow above the graft will generally force the graft to grow. There are hormones involved which suppress growth from the top of the branch/trunk, moving down toward the bottom. If you can disrupt the sap, you can disrupt the hormone growth retardant. That’s the idea.

In the case where I mentioned it 5 years ago, I wanted the bud to stay dormant because any late growth would be winter killed. It was too tender and won’t harden off that late in the season. As a general rule with prunus, I prefer T-budding in the fall. Most big fruit tree nurseries above the Mason/Dixon line do it that way. Nurseries further south have an advantage and can “summer bud” early in the season, because they have such a long growing season.

It’s hard to tell from pics. But as far as I can tell, it looks rounded like a flower bud. Even if it is, don’t give up hope. If it blooms, carefully pick off the cherry blossom, and wait and see if the grafted material will push some vegetation. Cherry grafts will sometimes push some vegetation, even if the visible bud is only a flower bud.


Much Thanks for the detailed answers, Hopefully the T-bud you did five years survived.

Do you find that T-bud grafts
form stronger union than chip-buds do if the diameter is not the same or if the graft is not perfectly matched?

I think most died.

I’ve moved to spring grafting cherries.

I much prefer T-buds with fall budding, as long as the bark is slipping.

I’m had success with both, but prefer T-buds because there is no worry about matching cambiums. T-buds are more successful for me. Plus they are faster to do. I remove the little piece of wood in the bud, before inserting the bud in the T pouch. Imo, it makes for more cambium contact to remove the little piece of wood.


Thanks Olpea. I will give T-buds a try next fall. I guess additional

Few of my chip buds look perfect but most dont look like they closed/healed properly either on one side or both - the very first one I did or where I had unequal diameters (root stem vs scion wood). See pics below.

Eagerly waiting to see what happens in spring.

Chip bud#1 (pic of left and right edges)

Chip bud#2 (pic of left and right edges)

First two look fine to me. The third one may be a go, even though it’s not callused over completely. Sometimes if there is a little bit of callus tissue, enough to push some growth, it will callus in completely later.

The fourth shows what looks to me like some necrosis at the base of the bud. That one may not go. This spring will tell for sure.

Great pics btw.

1 Like