Is it possible to fool mother nature

Hey guys.

I’m a relatively inexperienced at grafting and I had an idea that others may have tested already. I have a lot of grafts that I want to get done in the spring.

I have already purchased some scion wood, I’ve collected some scion wood from my own trees. I’m planning on collecting more scion wood fairly soon, and I have other scion wood on order that should arrive in February.

Being a grafting novice, I’m not that speedy when it comes to completing a whole bunch of grafts at once. I thought perhaps I could spread some of my grafting work out by inducing some of my potted trees to bud out earlier than normal. I thought maybe I could bring some of the potted trees I want to graft indoors. If I keep them in a room at 50-60 degrees F and in the sun or under a lamp would this bring them out of hibernation and allow me to graft onto them sooner?

I seem to have bad luck saving my scion wood, as something usually ends up happening with a fridge malfunction or others messing with them when waiting to be grafted. I was thinking if I could induce the trees to bloom sooner I could use scions directly from my trees that are still dormant. No possibility of the scions becoming unviable during storage, and I get to spread my grafting out over a longer period of time.

Is this doable?

Will there be problems with the host trees having their normal rhythms screwed up?

I’m pretty sure I’ve already had my required chill hours at this point, so is this workable?

Whether you will benefit from this is more dependent on what you are grafting (species) from my understanding.

You can also try a hot callus pipe. See the reference section.


I did read the hot callous pipe stuff awhile back, but it seemed a little too much, (unless you were using it really regularly).

This idea also seemed like it might be a good way promote more growth in a single season as in Canada our growing seasons aren’t quite as long as California’s. :grin:

The method you suggest would definitely work, but you would have to keep light /water /nutrients started earlier too. Using the hot callus pipe (in theory), only the graft union is heated so it can heal while the rest of your tree remains dormant. If your scion also wakes up along with your tree before the cambium layer has healed, it will die too… So there are many things to consider!

If cost is the consideration, I’d recommend heading to my beginner grafting guide and seeing what can be used pretty cheap. A new sharp utility knife, rubber splicing tape, and a roll of buddy tape (my preference) or parafilm M will set you back about the cost of buying one grafted tree (or less).

The callus pipe is similar. You’re buying insurance for the grafts you’ve performed and more will take, saving you another year of waiting. For most people (myself included) as the saying goes, time is money. If you get 95% success instead of 65%, you don’t have to re-do those grafts again and the cost of the support material is worth it in my opinion.

So for the cost of two trees, you can graft hundreds.

Many people also do without and that’s fine too, it’s all about perspective.


Grafting on most plants is most sucsesful if the rootstock is more out of dormancy then the scion. So on that part your idea is fine.

To me however the problem would be, that by waking the rootstock up so much earlier, the rootstock will stay awake after the grafting. And you will have to keep those growing rootstocks/grafts out of frost and in enough light till you can safely move them outside.
This very well might be more hassle than saving the scions in the fridge or outside (burried or in a shady spot)

Another thing to consider is what species your grafting. Keeping the rootstock/graft at 50-60f should be fine for apples pears etc. But peaches and cherries might struggle at that temp.


Depends on species of trees you want to graft… Apples and pears can be grafted while understock is still dormant. Since you’re in zone 9B, you can pretty much start grafting right now. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing that with peach or persimmon, for example.


Thank you all for your responses. Usually our spring weather starts to arrive if we’re lucky in a month or so. Unfortunately, last year was the spring that wasn’t. The weather was terrible last spring and very few of my fruit trees were even pollinated because of the cold wet spring.

March is usually well on our way to spring here with many flowers already up. The weather has been quite mild here for the last couple of weeks. The snow drops are already up and some of the trees at a nursery I visited yesterday were breaking bud. This is rather soon for all this here. Hopefully we won’t hit a cold snap in February that kills off much off the new growth.

I love plums, so a large focus of my grafting will be on hybrid plums, Euro, Japanese, along with some plumcot. Would the plums be a reasonable candidate for this kind of early awakening. I would think the Japanese & hybrid plums would be coming out of hibernation in a month or so, (if the weather at the end of Feb is as warm as it’s been recently).

I may give this a test with a half dozen or so trees inside just to see if it’s workable.

This shouldn’t be too much of a problem as we rarely encounter freezing weather in March, (although we do get snow in March in the odd year). I may just give this a test to see if it works out with a limited number of trees. I’m kind of itching to get a start on the grafting ASAP.

In my experience plums are only slightly harder to graft than apples and pears. So if your climate is that mild. You could do some dormant grafts of those. If also had good experiences with chip budding plums. And chip budding is very economical with your scion wood. So if your itching that might be a relatively low cost way to spread the risk. (use some buds to chip bud now. save the rest of the scion in the fridge)


All Asian plums and pluots are already pushing buds here. Check your plum trees regularly. As soon as you see buds are enlarging, you’re good to go grafting that tree.

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Thanks, I was considering doing some chip budding as my success rate last summer was quite good.


I’m wondering how close to breaking dormancy they need to be? If others in my area (KS) have been grafting pears and apples while dormant, I guess I haven’t been paying attention and am curious about this.

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if sucsesfully grafted apples in december. Many months before they brake dormancy. As far as i understood you just need temperatures high enough for callous formation. I think that was around 5 celcius (41 F?) for apples. Lower temperatures lead to slower callousing though. So grafts made in colder weather will take longer to “take” or heal.

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You can begin grafting in March normally. Prunus americana rootstocks for plums seem to work best. Callery , bet, Ohxf rootstocks are best for pears. Mm111 are best for apples. Mahaleb work great for cherries but i prefer growing cherries like montmorency or canadian cherries eg. Carmine jewell on their own roots. I skip the mahaleb and ohxf rootstocks most of the time. I’m not saying they dont work but what i use works better for me. Here is an example of March grafts Top working Pears weather permitting you can graft much later as shown here Grafting large Callery and BET pear rootstocks in 2022


I usually wait until April/May to start grafting, when I’m looking for buds to start pushing. This has worked very well, but it would be nice to expand the grafting window a bit.
If I want to start grafting earlier, I would need a window of a certain amount of time above 40 or 50 degrees to allow for callus formation. Yes?
Do you know of a source that maybe has a table showing optimum temperatures and duration for callus formation of common fruit trees?
Penn State mentions that “dormant chip budding can be done in late winter before growth starts”, but no details on dormant grafting temperatures exactly.

Those are essentially the same rootstocks that I use, Clark.
M-111 for apple, although I have a few on M-118 that are doing fine so far.
Plums I have grafted almost all on P. americana that I grow specifically for that purpose.
Pears are on seedling rootstocks or OHxF333, and one on OHxF87.
Romeo and Carmine Jewel are on their own roots …
I’d like to grow Montmorency on its own roots. How can I accomplish this? Could I graft Montmorency to a Mahaleb sucker (I have successfully grafted several cherries to these suckers) and then bury the graft union to induce rooting above the graft?
I have access to adara wood… I have planned to graft that on P. americana, and then sweet cherry onto adara. But have seen some others have had success putting sour cherry onto adara, so maybe I should try that as well. P. americana is a hardy rootstock here as you know, and I feel I’d have more long-term success with that over Mahaleb. I’ve had lots of issues with Mahaleb. I wanted to try Mazzard, but couldn’t find a Monty on Mazzard and it was cost prohibitive for me to buy a huge bundle of Mazzard rootstock to bench graft 2 trees. :joy:



Dont know of one right off that states temperatures but the thing is about pears is they can be grafted totally dormant it doesnt matter. Pears on a busy year i have even grafted at the end of February on a warm year. Since Pears are the easiest to graft i would do those first. Apples are second easiest similar to plums. The hardest trees to graft which i would not consider until i see green on the tree is apricot and peach. Mulberries can be tough because you never graft those dormant and timing them perfectly can be hard because sap seems to flood the grafts like grapes. Mulberries are still considered advanced grafting. Consider tbud or chip grafting mulberry or che. In Kansas the sealants melted enough on my grafts some years to prevent them from callusing together. I changed my Grafting method and no longer use toilet seal wax or pruning seal unless im out of everything else. My graft rates are near 100% now. Had no failures last year at all. I count it if they break off as a failure. I consider a break off as grafter failure even if the graft takes it was poorly done. In Kansas our strong winds and birds break many grafts. Adapted my method to use clefts that are stronger and no staking is required. This link shows my current methods Grafting large Callery and BET pear rootstocks in 2022


Thank you Clark. I will look closer at your cleft grafts. The wind and birds are very hard on freshly growing grafts! I’d like to try some late Feb/early March pear grafts this year and see how I do with those.
I have had decent success with apricots and peaches later in the spring as well. It is hard though as you say… they need those warmer temps, I shoot for 70 - 85ish if I’m remembering correctly. But SO many times we have a couple of warm days and then sky rocket up in the 90s. ugh. it is challenging.
I only attempted to graft mulberry one year and was unsuccessful due to the sap you mentioned. I may try the tbud or chip grafting… my neighbors have a native mulberry that is by far superior in size and flavor to any I have growing, and it is the one I attempted to graft onto one of mine several years ago. There are so many other fruits I prefer over mulberry, so that one will be at the bottom of my ‘to do’ grafting list. :wink:

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Compare my old method and my new methods if you get a chance they are similar but different.

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Both the topic starter and I are in Zone 9B. It’s common here to graft apples starting in January, since our winter is pretty warm. I doubt it’s possible in areas where temps drop below freezing significantly.


It is doable. I grafted potted peach this way last year.


Thank you so much for mentioning this. I have been planting out Euro plums for the last couple of weeks which is in a different area than my Japanese/hybrid/Plumcot section. I hadn’t looked carefully at them for over a week. I was a little stunned to see that Shiro, Black Ice, & Black Amber plum buds were swelling and looking like they might pop at any time. It also looked like I had several sweet cherries,and a nectarine with buds starting to swell.

That’s a bit to soon, as we often get freezing temps in February, (but rarely in March). I hope they don’t get hit with a cold snap any time soon or it will wipe out a lot of my early varieties chances of fruiting this year.