How long for graft to show a take

Continuing the discussion from Time to graft?:

In my experience it can be anywhere from a couple of days (really!) to a year, and even, in certain circumstances, two. But those extremes are rare. I’m happy to see signs of taking in one-two weeks, but don’t get too concerned for three or more. You know the graft has failed once it shows signs of drying out.

It’s possible for a graft to an existing tree to callous but not sprout. This is probably caused by wood higher in the tree limiting competition; scoring the bark right down to the wood directly above the attempted graft sometimes fixes the problem. Remove a 1/4" band of bark that over-reaches the part to which you are grafting. A notch 2" long should work for a 1" branch.


I’m glad to hear you say a couple of days is a possibility. My apple grafts were done on the 20th, and some of them started to show green and push out a couple of days ago. I thought, “Oh no, the scion is growing before the graft has had a chance to callus!” But they could just be taking quickly! I just looked again, and one of them is really leafing. It’s hard to imagine it could really LEAF just with what’s stored in the scion, could it?

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I have had some grafts start to leaf to early and then dry out but not with apples. Always with more difficult stuff. Seems pretty impossible for apples to fail. I have a few plum grafts now that are starting to push flowers and leaves and they were grafted less than a week ago. I’m sure there is not an actual connection yet but I have no doubt the grafts will survive. I think the speed of the buds pushing just depends on the temperature and being down in florida they push really quick.

I’d say if it leafs out within a few days the scion wasn’t dormant enough. I’d rather have the scion wait 2-3 weeks. By then it’s either callused together or not. Mine usually push in about that 2-3 week time frame. I’ve never had one that I can remember take more than about a month.


What fruitnut said…
Here in 5a, I’ve found its better for me to wait longer and graft rather than graft too early.
I’ve had grafts take on average 3 weeks here, but if I wait until mid-may when its consistently 55-65 degrees, I have better luck.

“When the leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear”
… then I wait another week. :smile:

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Yeah, they can leaf wthout callousing, and it’s not the best thing. But it can still work.

I agree too- better a little late than a little early. I typically start the last week of April and finish within two or three weeks. By late April the leaves definitely bigger than a squirrel’s ear

Marknmt: Interested to know what growing zone you are in. Am new to this site- is growing zone info available on each poster somewhere? I clicked on your name but did not see it. Thanks.

Hambone, it’s in there- lower left corner. I’m in Western Montana, Zone 4-5. I don’t know why you didn’t see it.

We get highly variable seasons, it seems, but I guess that’s not unheard of lately …

Ah, if I click on your name above your message I get a window about you with no zone but then if I click on your name in that window, I get a different window with your zone. So I will remember the two clicks. Thanks.

Okay, I won’t be “counting my chickens” for a few weeks at least!

I can’t stand the waiting! Does checking your grafts five times a day make them go faster :fearful:


Yes! I mean, No … I mean, I always do, and it seems to help.

Well, even if it doesn’t actually help the grafts it does train your eye as to what to look for. And seriously, after doing it for a while you start to spot healthy vs sick pretty early on. A graft that is marginal alerts you to the possible need to regraft, or spot something else going on. It took me a long time to learn, for example, that grafting lower on a tree lessens your chances of success, for example, and then to figure out that scoring the wood just above the graft (to interrupt the flow of inhibiting hormones from the tree’s higher-ups) would increase my percentage of takes.


Im curious to know how long I need to keep them inside before I finally plant them outside. I would love to just plant them where they will stay. Ive got them planted in buckets inside right now. Grafts are wrapped with parafilm then black tape, then the whole scion is covered with wax. I just don’t know if that is enough protection to put them outside yet.

Jag, I’ve only ever grafted outside, so I just don’t know. Somebody else will; if I had to guess I guess I’d guess they could handle quite a bit of cold. Myself, I’d favor getting them into the ground while still dormant.

callous formation is definitely a good sign, but it is also a sign that the approximation of the cambium layers were far from being optimal-- hence the initial attempt to thicken up at the border/s of where the union/s were viable.

as i see it, a near-perfect approximation of cambium layers will have the least callousing, since the vascular supply along the circumference is almost the same as the original. This is why the hearts and love-notes we’ve carved onto trees ultimately get warty and get prominent, since it is these parts which are hodge-podge and need to conjoin.

thus said, Lizz’s graft either had enough stored energy to encourage sprouting even in just two days of grafting, OR, that the graft was–in fact-- a near-perfect approximation of the graft, that the flow of sap did not skip a beat.
i have had grafts sprout in just three days, but this was from live budwood, and not from one that has been refrigerated.
also noticed that grafts whittled and approximated with scalpels took longer to sprout and were more callousy, whereas those i’ve used grafting shears on were quite quick to leaf out, with the least callous formation.

I think this is a very interesting thought- makes me wish I’d thought it. It explains some of those very warty looking splices I’ve got on my apple …

… but come to think of it, doesn’t happen on the pear. Of course, everybody knows that pears are most cooperative, but the point is (taking jujubemulberry’s thought) is that the conjunction happens in a straightforward, smooth way, and, I’m thinking, promptly.

Still thinking out loud here, but if my Liberty apple is particularly good at limiting growth in the lower part of the tree it would slow down the take-time on grafts lower down (my experience); if the pear and most pears are more “welcoming” it could explain those near-perfect whip and tongues that disappear so quickly.

Set me straight where I’m wrong. But I think I may be starting to understand something here!


Lizzy, i see it two ways: your scion was taken from a non-dormant source and merely living off its storage, or you actually executed a near-perfect cambium layer union that the rootstock or the scion didn’t even notice.

since i like things half-full than half-empty, my hunch is that the latter scenario applies :wink:

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@marknmt, those were just my personal observations, and who knows, perhaps more applicable to tropical fruit trees, and just a few temperate fruit trees which i have grafted. I have never grafted pears and other pomes.
i could be wrong.
besides, we’re all just students and peers here, right? :sunny:

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@jujubemulberry I love the IDEA that I might have made a perfect graft but I can assure you that’s not the case :grimacing: I did my apple tree first so they were my very first grafts. I don’t think I even want to see what’s under the electrical tape! And I think it was at least a week before they leafed out. All my scions were from our CRFG scion exchange, and all have been refrigerated just above freezing since early January. Again, I just can’t picture a graft producing big leaves just on the stored energy in a little scion, but then again, I can’t believe grafting even works in the first place.

But I have noticed that the simple cleft grafts (V-cut on skinny twigs, I don’t mean big stump cleft grafts) seem to be doing better than my messy whip and tongues. Maybe simplicity is best for newbies…

On my stone fruits (done later on my learning curve, but probably too early in the season) only the thick, vigorous pluot scions are really pushing out, and that’s probably just the scion, not necessarily a successful graft.

I know stone fruits are less likely to take an incompetent graft, but I will say that the bark “slipped” or pulled away so much more easily and neatly on my peach tree than on my apples and pears–it made it a joy to do bark grafts!

And to prove I am both impatient, AND obsessed, I am headed to the hardware store to get some sheets of reflective (insulating) material. Yes, I am going to put them on the ground under my peach tree with the reflective side up, to try to cook my grafts so they callus up, despite the cool weather we’re getting here. I haven’t heard of anyone ever trying this, but I can’t stand just letting the grafts fail because of the weather.