Does tiny scionwood always equal tiny growth?

Is the growth potential of a scion more in the size and robustness of the scionwood, or the energy in the rootstock or stock tree?

Some of my Apple scionwood was tiny. Barely the thickness of a bamboo skewer.

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Small scions can do perfectly well. Every tree was tiny at one time.


Vigor of the rootstock is what I have found matters most. Established rootstock planted a year earlier or existing trees means good growth. Bareroot rootstock, especially with minimal roots and of a smaller caliber, seems to push much less growth, regardless of the caliber of the scion.


The rootstock is what determines growth because the size and establishment of the root system determines growth… That is why I am always disapointed when nurseries send me 4 ft bareroot trees with 3.5 ft of tree and 6" of root left after a severe root pruning. I would rather 2 ft of root and 2 ft of tree… I grafted a small che bud to an 8 ft tall osage orange, I cut it back to 5 ft and cut off all the limbs and placed a single bud into the cambium near the 5 ft mark. It went crazy. I had to stake it and trim it back and that bud ended the season as a half inch thick limb 4 ft tall with several 2 and 3 ft limbs off of it.


It is mainly the rootstock that determines growth. The most telling of hypothetical scenarios(or actual scenarios if any of you already did it) would be to do it on 2 fully grown trees each having a trunk thickness of 12" and approximate canopy size. Come spring you chop one of them down into a stump and use the tiniest scion wood you can find(or simply just do shield grafting with a bud which is just about the tiniest “scion wood” can come up with), then with the other tree(that still has a full sized canopy), find a pencil-thick stem and graft on to it a pencil-thick scionwood. You can expect for the bud grafted to the stump to shoot up like it is on steroids, while the thicker and/or longer budwood grafted to a stem on the other tree’s canopy will be a relative laggard


Most of my red fleshed apple scionwood started out closer to the size of the ink refill inside than the size of the ink pen!!!

I think Otterson and a couple others like Niedzwetzkyana were normal sized……rest were tiny.

Some grew well, some lived and didn’t do much the first year. But, either way, if they’re alive, they’ll get there someday!

I have a Winekist I grafted about March 3rd that was no bigger than your ‘skewer’ I’m sure, that has 6 inches of new red leaved growth.


I prefer smaller wood, it is more reliable for me than the big fat stuff. It might start out a bit slower but after a month there is no difference.


Its not unusual for a single bud to get feet of growth on it in a year T-budding tutorial


And I put two ‘Bakran’ twigs small diameter of a toothpick into a cleft in a B-118 root this past week, one on either edge as I find that helps heal the wounds, and one of the two can be removed in a couple years…anyhow I see both the little pip-squeaks are taking.


When bench grafting, what types of grafts work well with tiny scion twigs?

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Assuming the rootstock isn’t tiny too, (in which case a whip and tongue or a ‘saddle’ graft are fine)………
the cleft graft is going to work, and perhaps the bark graft (if sap is up in the rootstock).

I think some others are possible but not practical.

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Thanks BB! The rootstock is all 0.25 inch diameter or slightly larger, and it is beautiful. It is currently sitting on a warming pad to wake it up. I’m worried about doing a whip and tongue on the tiny scions, but I’ll probably try a few. JSacadura has a video showing a modified cleft graft, and I recall seeing bark grafting on the bench. I appreciate your input. :+1:

Look up on youtube a ‘saddle graft’. If it’s a little small for a whip & tongue, you may be able to sharpen one and instead of just a cleft, hollow the cleft out some so the sharpened piece fits with less scar tissue than a regular cleft graft?