In-house apple grafting


Normally I would wait until April and graft some apples scions to rootstock. I’m getting a bit itchie as I received some rootstock already.

What is required to do grafting indoors this early? I have a couple of grow lights and heated area but not a greenhouse.



I have pear rootstock coming this spring and I don’t know if I can force myself to graft it and then plant it. I really like for it to grow a year before I graft . It is kind of cheating, when you have good roots that were established because grafting is so easy and they push so much growth.


I have several in the garden I’m letting grow from last year. I will graft to them in a couple months. Just have this itch to do something now

Btw, I had rootstock of pear last year that I grafted and after I cut the rootstock down to graft to, I took the part I cut off and dipped into root starter then put in pots. Out of five I did, two of them took root and I will graft to those this year. Was a bit surprised it worked

Hope I made sense!


An understanding wife…and a shop vac! lol That’s the answer. And maybe a bright light unless your eyes are still young.


That’s really cool bob, pears are hard to root


I absolutely agree more roots equals more growth, but do you feel that a plant at year 3 shows significantly more growth if you spent year one with the rootstock in the ground and grafted At year 2? I definitely agree more growth happens in the first year if you have more roots but I’m not convinced I would let rootstock this year sit around an extra year and deliberately not graft it for a full year as opposed to getting the scions on and letting roots develop at the same time in yr 1


Your probably right, I just have a hard time pulling the trigger. The last time I ordered ohxf 87!they were super slow to wake up. Probably costs me a couple feet of growth to let the rootstock grow a season.


Guess it depends how you arrange things too: i buy rootstock for scions i anticipate having, not the other way around.

That said even though I definitely appreciate the way things take off on well rooted rootstock, in most cases I graft in the first year if nothing else because I have a lot more flexibility in moving an unplanted rootstock around then I do when trying to work with something that’s already in the ground


I usually bench graft my apples, put them in the cooler for 4 weeks, then plant in pots and keep them under lights in the basement till they grow out.They go into the ground when the weather is good. I have done many apples this way with good success. We live in a colder zone than you and I do my bench grafting around the first of April, that is about 2 months before the last spring frost. The rootstock I buy has a 7-10mm calliper so they are usually two years old already, not sure if that makes a difference.


I thought about that as well but in reality most all of the nurseries bench graft. If you put a rootstock in the ground and let it grow for a year then cut it back to 6" you are wasting a years worth of growth. If you graft it now, the following year you have a whip that is ready to head back and start forming the framework of your tree. I know we want roots to grow but I am unsure if there is a truly significant loss of root development by bench grafting a whip. I would think that with a quality graft there shouldn’t be much difference.


I thought about the same thing!! I just happen to have a pretty good space with water and a drain in my utility room. I already have a mess down there as I use the same room to grow my veggie garden stuff… and my wife has already told me I am messy… lucky she likes having a nice choice of veggie plants available for May planting.