How deep to plant 1 year grafted trees

From top of roots to graft is 10 to 12 Inches. First time for me with this kind of tree so a little in sure how deep to plant. Do I plant just above roots or a few inches below graft?

If the rootstock is prone to burr knots it can pay to plant deep. I plant 111 so that only ~2 inches is above ground. You need to allow for settling so another inch or two might be wise.

1 Like

Thank you. All but 1 is on 111 and they have burr knots up the rootstock to the graft. The other is on g11. I started planting them and figured deep was the right I dea.

Given how high the graft was done I would plant it just below where it was grown at the nursery unless you live in an area where the burr knots attract dangerous pests. Here in the NE nothing has bothered exposed burr knots much. A few rosy apple aphids, but they didn’t excessively colonize roots to slow the trees in a noticeable way.

If you bury those roots you will likely slow establishment, although I can’t speak from experience. I’ve never seen apple trees grafted that high.

How did those rootstocks end up growing?

1 Like

Very good. Haven’t gotten any fruit yet…maybe this year! :slight_smile:

for future reference. I had the same question a few years back. I asked some-one with a lot of experiance. And experimented a bit over the last years. What it comes down to is the following.

How deep to plant newly grafted tree’s.

Can you plant deeper at all?
-if the tree is on a clonal rootstock that roots easily, you can plant deeper.
-If it’s on a seedling that doesen’t root easily. You want to plant at the right depth for root flare to be just above ground.
-If it’s in vitro propegated material it’s a little harder to determine. Safest is keeping the same planting depth.

How much deeper can i plant?
This mainly depends on
-species of rootstock
-type of soil you have
Tree’s or more specificaly their rootstocks, make different types of roots depending on how airy the soil is. Your rootstocks probably come from soil with lots of air/oxygen. If you plant them really deep in dense waterlogged clay soil. They will suffocate. They are simply not used to that.
Some species can deal with waterlogging better. Those usualy need less oxygen for their roots. So respond better to planting really deep.
Airy or friable (clumpy with lots of air space) or sandy soils tend to be easier for planting deeper than dense clay or waterlogged soils.

If in doubt you can make the hole really deep. Plant the tree really deep. but only fill the hole partly. So the tree is burried ~4-8 inches deeper than it was before. And when the roots get used to the lower oxygene enviroment. Slowly fill the hole further. over the next year or even 2 years.

if i can plant deeper, How deep should i plant?
Unles you want the variety to root, you want to keep the graft union well above ground. Keep in mind the ground from the hole you dug might set a bit. And you might add mulch. Keeping graft union 2-4" above soil levels seems like a good idea.

Some rootstocks have certain diseases on the above ground trunk. like bur knots. You want to pay extra attention to not having to much of those exposed above ground.
Some rootstocks have an increased dwarfing effect (those used for dwarfing interstems usualy do) budding them higher and leaving more rootstock exposed increases dwarfing.

Some varieties have disease issues. Apple/pear cancer (fungus, different from prunus cancer which is bacterial based)
Or agrobacter sensitivity. You graft those high either on an resistant interstem or high on the rootstock (if the rootstock is resistant)

When to graft high, but plant deep?
Grafting high and planting deep, can be done on rootstocks that root easy. Especialy on sandy soil. It can improve the drought resistance and stand of the tree (less easy to blow over with hard wind)