I think I grafted too high

As the topic says, I’m afraid maybe I grafted too high. I have some grafts with the graft union almost a foot from the ground.

Is this going to be an issue?

If it is, can I safely bury the rootstock to the depth I want it to be?

Thank you for any help or advice.

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I don’t think it’s much of an issue, and I don’t know of any reason not to plant the tree a few inches deeper if you like- but I doubt you need to worry about it. Just keep any growth below the graft union pruned back to the trunk.

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I don’t think a foot is too high. Brady

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I would avoid burying it too, never good for trees to be planted deep, hard to obtain oxygen from what i understand. You don’t put mulch around a trunk either.

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I’d only bury it if it were an apple with burr knot issues. Then bury as deep as possible without rooting the scion. Allow a couple inches for settling after planting.

On most things a foot up isn’t too high. I’ve done higher with multigrafts on Citation.

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You may have to pick off some water spouts the first couple years, but after that it can be difficult to get a low down branch to form anyway. I have about 8 tiny trees in the backyard and I only managed to get lower than 8 or 9 inches on one of them. If there’s a reason to care I still need a few decades to find it.

I have more problems getting the lowest branches on the trellis to fill in evenly even notching. I am actually going to take a water spout from the top to balance the bottom tier.

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I intentionally graft higher up frequently because it has its advantages. As far as disadvantages go you have one significant problem which is the rootstock will send out growth in the bottom 1 foot of the trunk below the graft union. That growth must be pulled off frequently until the tree matures and the trunk hardens off. As far as pears go fireblight suseptible varities succumb to the FB disease frequently in a day or a week which I may not realize for 2 weeks since most spray schedules are every 2 weeks. If the bottom 1-4 feet is callery pear that is resistant to fireblight the top dies back and the trunk corks off. When I see what happened to the tree I simply cut off the top and the bottom sends up sprouts I graft this year or next. The rabbits really hate chewing on callery trunks and many times find it impossible or undesirable. When the snow drifts high I’ve found elm trees stripped and my callery rootstock left alone. Many apple rootstocks as mentioned such as mm111 rootstock I do not like to graft high because there are 0 advantages to doing so. I do like to allow my Antonovka apple rootstock to grow out a couple feet before I graft it. It does not suffer from the apple diseases some apple rootstocks are known to get.

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I frequently add grafts way up on existing trees, such as adding branches of additional varieties 3 or 4 feet off the ground. Those do fine. I’ve also grafted some apples a foot or more off the ground, because I didn’t know better at the time. Those have done fine.

I have wondered if a tree can be planted deeper to get the graft point lower. I’ve read about NOT planting the graft below the ground, because the scion may grow roots. And, I’ve read that all trees need to be planted at the depth that they are started, so the roots are not too deep, which is kind of contrary to that. But, rootstocks are made by burying the source plant and allowing suckers to grow, which grow roots off of their sides before they are removed from the source plant. Mound layering, although other methods are also used. So it seems to me, the rootstock may be able to grow new roots off the side, at least if the growth is young, if you plant it lower. I’m not expert, but those are my thoughts.

Bottom line, I think it’s not an issue to have the graft a foot off the ground, but if you did happen to plant it a little deeper, I don’t think that will hurt either.

I get suckers off root-stocks regardless of how deep they are planted. I just prune them off. If they started below ground and have roots, some times I remove them and use them as rootstock for new trees, just for fun.

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Thank you everyone for reassuring me on that point! I’ll just leave them and not fuss. :grin:

One follow on question, though. Part of the reason I thought maybe the grafts were too high is because my vigorous scions are using that area as a sort of huge and flopping over. Do I just stake them, and move on?

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Stake. Some scions are too vigorous for some root stocks. If this is the case, you would likely have that problem no matter where the graft was. If it were me, I would either stake or prune or maybe even a little of both. God bless.

Marcus

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Thank you very much for your advice. I will stake them now and see if I need to prune them this winter.

The two trees (Contender peach and Harrow Sweet pear) I got from Adams County last spring had very high grafts above the roots, almost a foot. I just planted them deep enough to get the roots covered up as they would normally be. The graft union is about 8in above ground, but the trees seem OK, but they’ve only been in the ground about 6 months, so too early to tell. I think I asked the forum how to plant them and they said having the graft union higher than usual should be OK.

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The first year we planted trees I got some from Burnt Ridge with higher graft unions. One was planted at the normal level, and has a graft union over a foot above the ground, and one little whip that came in a tall 4 inch pot I planted about an extra foot deep because of the kink at the graft union. The upside for the little Goldrush planted deep is that it survived the irregular water that first summer, when we lost seven other trees. Both trees have had no issues, and seem healthy.

About two years ago I planted a couple probably 8 or more inches deep, in hopes they would grow roots from scion, and get bigger then M7 would allow. (Our trees out there each have 26 feet to grow in) They didn’t seem bothered by that. We have heavy, but well drained soil here.

The high graft unions are not a problem at all, and smooth out in a few years, but planting deeper might (in my limited experience) give a tree more drought tolerance.

The only high graft I have had a problem with is Calville Blanc on standard roots. It has outgrown the rootstock, and seems top heavy and poorly anchored…kind of like a loose tooth. It seems to be improving (tree is finishing it’s sixth leaf) but has worried me a fair bit. It is supposed to be free standing, so needing support is not good. I am still thinking about grafting in other rootstocks to help anchor the beast. Graft union on that one is probably 14 -16 inches above ground. Maybe I’ll get to it this year.

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It depends what you grafted onto what. My experience is what’s most important is that the Rootstock is a larger variety of tree than the Scion. I’ve grafted four feet off the ground and have 5 year old trees that are fine.

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On the contrary. I now always graft apples a foot high. Here’s why: many professionals have had experience with thousands of trees as compared to my dozens in my backyard orchard, but none of them have followed the same dwarf (M27, M26, Bud9) trees for decades as I have. I’ve had all too many that were grafted at the usual few inches and planted properly with the union proprtly habove ground level that functioned as obedient dwarf trees for as much as twenty years, then suddenly—all in one year–shoot up vigorously. I am convinced that the scion variety, nicely compatible with the rootstock, slowly has its cells grow down through the union, and when it does so, the result is the same as with a tree that is scion-rooted from being planted too low. The tipoff that this has occurred is that now the graft union isn’t obvious any more; it seems all one trunk now. The usual concept of scion-rooting is that the scion has sent down its own roots past the union, sort of like a banyan tree. But this sort of little by little creeping downward that I described also occurs , and for this reason I graft high to make the scion’stand cells have a longer voyage before tney go to ground.

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Thanks for your experience above! Man i LOVE this forum. Drought and heat are HORRIBLE on my Citation / Peach or nectarine combos, and many have incompatibility so bad the scion (1.5" in diameter) just snap off. I theorized that planting them about a foot down with the graft union covered may help (top 18" is sandy, with a well draining red clay below). I don’t feel like it was near as much of a risk after reading about your experience! I will report back next year to let y’all know if these have better luck than the previous!

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