Interstem Question

I plan to use a Winter Banana inter-stem to convert a Bradford Pear to apple. Can I remove the interstem’s visible buds before grafting? WB is a blight magnet so I don’t want it leafing out, if I can help it.

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I have not done it yet, but I did see a recommendation to remove the buds on interstems. I would just make sure that you wrap up the disbudded interstem well so that it does not dry out.


Will do, thanks.

I Agree with Zombie
Remove all interstem buds, perform the interstem to scion graft indoors. Parafilm entire interstem and scion. Place it in cold water bath about 1” deep to keep fresh, for about one week in a dark callousing mode, then graft outdoors. With a weeks advantage of interstem callousing it should begin to grow much stronger. Allow no light during indoors callousing period
Kent wa


I could be wrong (surely), but my understanding is that winter banana let’s you graft pears onto apple rootstock, not the other way around. Backward compatibility is not assured with Pyrus by any means based on my reading. Quince, for example, is not graftable to pear rootstock, while the opposite combination generally works.

I’ve done lots of inter stem apple grafts, mostly m26 or Siberian crab and I’ve always grafted the two inside and then grafted both to the rootstock soon after, no callousing, etc. I generally have near 100% take


Hmmm. If Winter Banana is compatible with both apple and pear, it shouldn’t matter which is stock and which is scion. Unless I’m missing something. I like your no callus indoors method.

There are a lot of untested variables for ‘Winter Banana’ compatibility. Even the rootstock choice used below the interstem affects the rates of success and longevity of the graft. The available research covers only a handful of apple rootstocks, but to my knowledge there is no available research on when it is used as an interstem with pear as rootstock. Someone needs to do the work and document it.

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I think that @Auburn had success with WB and Yates apples on Callery. I am not sure how long of a period that he can report it as a success, in the event of delayed incompatibility. I made the same grafts (WB and Yates) a few weeks ago (not as an interstem yet). No sign that my grafts have taken.

I think it’s complicated and there are lots of unknowns. Doing a little bit of digging, I found this article: Compatibility

Which states, among other things:

If you try it, be sure to let us know how it works out!

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Not always reciprocal. Very interesting. OK let’s do some experiments.

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with so many apple rootstocks why use a pear rootstock to grow an apple

Lots of wild Callery around here and I’m teaching friends how to turn them into respectable citizens at no cost.


My callery are practically growing in a swamp. An apple would not be too tolerant of those conditions (excepting a swamp crabapple). Also, I am grafting to a tree, not a pencil sized rootstock. I am mostly grafting European pears on callery. How many pears can one man eat?

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I have started making use of callery pear here with pear scions. Apples can’t be grown here.


Interstem grafts I’ve done…granted, all 3 parts
pears… I put the fruiting scion and interstem (OHxF 513) together with W&T, wrapped with Parafilm, masking tape and a rubber band, them grafted that unit directly onto the callery rootstock.
No waiting.
Everything grew like gangbusters.
Don’t think I bothered rubbing off buds from interstem, and don’t remember any interstem buds pushing growth.