Grafting with actively growing scions

I tried something with a persimmon graft this year that I wasn’t at all sure would work but it did, so I thought I’d share what I did. There was a kaki persimmon variety I had wanted to graft in another place for a second tree this year but I had let time get away from me and before I had collected any scions the tree was already well leafed out. So on the 14th of May I collected a scion anyway, removed the buds that had already leafed out and bark grafted that same day with a dormant bud from below all the buds that had leafed out. It seemed like it was maybe a little slower to get going than normal bark grafts, but it’s taken off in the last couple weeks (maybe 10" of new shoot growth so far) and seems totally fine. I’m sure dormant scions are better, but dormant buds from actively growing scions seem well worth a try if that’s all you’ve got, at least with persimmons. And I also had success with whip and tongue grafts with a dormant bud from an actively growing pear or two a long time ago, but everything seems to work with pears, so it was interesting to me to see success with another species.


Sometimes the only way to preserve a cultivar is to graft it “when you can.” I know of a dwarf conifer that the guy had one scion and it was the middle of summer and that plant exists today because he swayed far from the norm.

Here’s that plant 30-some years later. Pinus sylvestris ‘Heartland Memory’


I have similar experience, and it actually seems to me that green wood grafting in the summer is easier than with dormant wood. Last year, in July, I did the same thing as you did, I cut a green scion from my Arctic Star tree and grafted it on my Arctic Glo (both nectarines). The graft succeeded, but did not grow much; however this year it grew to be a major scaffold on my tree. This June, I had an apricot graft that has grown considerably break off the tree in a thunderstorm, so I cut a piece of the green wood and grafted it again to the same tree and it is growing well now. At the same time, I grafted two dormant scions of the same apricot variety, but both did not take (I think they dried out because of hot weather).


I have done this kind of graft with persimmons twice, and it worked both times. Which is better odds than usual for me with dormant persimmon wood. This spring I got a Rojo Brilliante tree to replace a dead tree but I also had a stock I didn’t like the variety on so I took a couple buds off the growing Rojo tree and grafted them to the other tree. The grafts are approaching a foot long now.

Persimmons seem to make graftable buds faster than other fruits, by early June they seem too show up here so it makes it easy.


I’m not entirely sure if I understood what you were saying, Ahmad and Scott, but just to clarify what worked for me, the buds I used (with the persimmon this year and with one or two pears in the past) were dormant buds from last year’s growth but because of their position on the branch they hadn’t started to grow even though all the other well formed buds further out on the branch were all well leafed out already. It seems like maybe you two are talking about using buds formed early in the year to graft the same year? Or am I misunderstanding what you’re talking about?

1 Like

What type of graft did you do wiith green wood?

1 Like

@cousinfloyd Eric, I think I am the one who didn’t read your post carefully :blush:. I indeed did graft with green wood from current year’s growth, and it took well and grew.

@mamuang Both were cleft grafts. The one that broke off was bark graft.


Wow, that’s even more unexpected. Thanks for sharing.


A different type of graft:

This small apple tree was broken if few inches from the ground in Oct 1019. I reattached it and wrapped tightly. Now July 2020 it is growing nicely. I’ll leave the break wrapped until late winter.


Looks like I also mis-read, oops! I also have done what you in fact did though, with good odds.

Here was one I did recently. This spring my Herfordshire Russet was clearly dying after it leafed out, so I looked around and found a couple still-dormant buds by bases on lower limbs where the wood did not look too shriveled yet. I grafted those to another tree and forced them a few weeks later and it looks like I saved the variety. The main tree is now officially dead.

I have also done this on persimmons when I forgot to harvest wood. Both last-years late dormant and this-years new dormant buds method are great grafting methods to have in your tool chest.


Is it wise to use wood from a dying tree? Might that not kill the new tree? If it is just a bench graft that might not be so tragic, but you wouldn’t want to kill a Frankentree.

If the dying tree looks like it has no root support (scrape the bark low on the trunk and it will look like it is dying), I think you can blame it 100% on the roots. I have done this re-grafting of dying trees half a dozen times. They didn’t all work but they never harmed the stock I grafted them on to.

Don’t graft bad looking scions though (wood not green and healthy looking). I have gotten stocks sick from diseased scions.


Follow up question for this thread:I just received some bud 9 sticks that I had planned to use as interstems to throttle back my Harrison on bud 118 (grafted last year). However, my trees have just started to wake up (seeing large green buds, but not leaves quite yet). I was planning on trying to graft the Harrison to the bud 9 then put the whole shebang back on the rootstock, but that seems a little risky now. Does anyone have thoughts on how risky this is? I saw @Jsacadura 's video on rescuing a tree that broke while actively growing, so I think it should be possible.

I suppose I could do only one of the two trees for now. Or, worst case scenario, I’d have to get Harrison again, which doesn’t seem too challenging these days.

Perhaps I should slap a chip on the bud 118 portion as a backup? Or even leave a section of Harrison inline between the bud 118 and bud 9…

I don’t have an answer but I am curious if such an interstem will change the vigor. I remember reading somewhere (shows how reliable my reference is :slight_smile:) the vigor is determined by the original rootstock and not the interstem.

Talking about controlling vigor reminded me of this - Bark Inversion No idea if this will work in your case

1 Like

Well, I went ahead and did one anyway. Left some Harrison inline and only used the still-dormant pat of the top. Ended up pretty much the same height it had been. One of my more harrowing grafting experiences thus far, between cutting the top off of a perfectly good graft, and the cuts and wrapping going wrong the first time for each graft.


From what I’ve read on the subject, it will end up partway between bud 9 and bud 118 in size (similar to M26), but with bud 118 anchoring. I’ve also read that it can have its own unique problems and in a commercial setting you’re better off with a single rootstock of the desired dwarfing level. But, I’m at home, and this is my lowest-maintenance option to control size other than starting over with a fresh tree. I’ve been intrigued by bark inversion, but I’m not confident enough to try it just yet. I may experiment with it at a later date or with a more expendable tree.

Edit:Here’s what Penn state has to say:

This stock is composed of an understock such as seedling MM.111 or MM.106, onto which an intermediate stem piece of M.9 or M.27 is grafted. The variety is budded or grafted onto M.9 or M.27. Size control is directly related to the length of the intermediate stem piece. Interstem apple trees offer a strong root system while reducing the size of the overall tree. Interstem trees should be planted so that a portion of the interstem is buried. Test plantings in Pennsylvania indicate that interstems on either MM.106 or MM.111 sucker, and very vigorous varieties like Stayman have not performed well on interstems.

Hadn’t seen that last part about very vigorous varieties performing poorly before. Oops. Time will tell. Also looks like I may have to sink my tree a bit, or build up the soil.

1 Like

I believe that i read the dwarfing characteristic will also depend on the length of the interstem. The longer it is the more dwarfing characteristic and the opposite for a shorter interstem.

1 Like

I have grafted green wood at different times. At the end of June they tend to grow less but they do survive in most cases. They will also grow more as you would expect when pointed upward.


That’s what I’ve read as well. 6" will have the minimum effect, and 12" close to the maximum. I have about 8-10" on the graft I did, so I’m again expecting somewhere in the ballpark of M26. My reading vastly outstrips my experience, so we’ll have to wait and see.

1 Like