Emergency propagation on ancient crabapple that just fell

Friend of mine is desperate to somehow propagate their ancient family crabapple that just fell today.

Is it too early for budding? It has partly
leafed out and is in bloom.

How about trying to root cuttings in water?

Other ideas? Many thanks

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In this post on Power Drill grafting there’s a discussion (mostly between @RandallW and @Auburn) about grafting non-dormant scions (you’ll want to read the entire thread for context, but it’s not long.)

Short answer: clip all the leaves off of the wood you want to use as a scion, wrap the whole thing in parafilm or dip it in melted wax, and graft at once to the rootstock (healthy tree). Sooner is better.

Some people have had some success rooting hardwood cuttings, but apparently it can be tricky. Another possibility is that the tree itself might not be completely done- it’s amazing the abuse some of these things can come back from.


I assume it is grafted? If it isn’t you can always take hope that a sucker will come up from the roots.

If you think it is grafted and it is in bloom, try to find branches/twigs that aren’t too far along. Lots of times last years growth will be significantly behind in leafing out from the flowering wood. That has been my experience at least. I think the best place to look is out on the end of the highest branches. You have easy access to them now. :wink:

There is also “blind wood” that should have buds that aren’t pushing yet. Those usually are towards the bottom of last years growth on the most upright and vigorous shoots.


I’ve found some of this blind wood on every tree I found dying. I never had any problems saving any of them provided the wood was still green. Even on small trees you can find these dormant buds somewhere, they will be smaller and lower and at the bases.

It’s also a trick when the scions start pushing in the fridge, look for the few buds by the bottom that are the least far along and graft those. Plus its a handy trick if you forgot to harvest wood and the tree is already budding. I forgot to grab some Urbaniste pear wood this winter and in looking over the budding tree a few weeks ago I found two small limbs with dormant buds and grabbed those for grafting.


If I graft on to a potted Apple tree-should it go in the shade for a couple weeks or can it go in the sun if I have the cuttings covered in parafilm?


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If you are using latent dormant buds (blind wood) treat it just like a standard graft with dormant scionwood - no need for shade. I would not recommend grafting a live shoot, the odds are very low there.


agree with Scott; I don’t believe there is any reason live, green shoots or leafed-out wood CAN’T graft, it’s the drying…if you could bench graft it, in a humidity tent, it could quite possibly last…but not under more “real life” conditions.

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Steve, Last June a neighbor asked me to graft a scion from a tree down the road onto their pear tree. I told her it was iffy but we’d give it a go. The tree I cut scions from was fully leafed out and full of blossoms. I had a hard time finding something that didn’t have blossoms but cut what I could. I cut off the leaves and wrapped the scion in parafilm, did 2 W&T grafts on their (unfortunately overcrowded overgrown) tree. When I got home later I took the leftovers and did 4 grafts on our pear trees, same way. Two took, two didn’t. I looked at the neighbors grafts last month - not much growth but I think they took. Mine didn’t put out much either but I’m hopeful.

So I’d say grafting is a real good chance, wrapping or waxing the scion as Mark said and graft it onto whatever you might have. I’ve stuck a LOT of apple & pear hardwood cuttings and had very little success (haven’t heard of many others who have either) but there is always a chance so might as well stick some in the ground, too, and see what happens. Just wouldn’t want to depend on that.

Wish you and your friend success! Sue


Chip bud it. It will work.