Missed opportunity in growing pear rootstocks

One of the problems I have using wild pear trees for rootstock addresses another problem I have when I use them. I let the wild callery pears get big sometimes and then cleft or rind graft them though whip and saddle are still done too on small ones. My goal is to have more rootstocks than scions. When I let the trees get big and cleft or rind graft it the tree shoots out a lot of new growth which gets to be 6 inches most years before I get a chance to cut it off. All these years I never thought to root those 6 inch cuttings until now. I already know the easy trees to graft because the graft is growing. Is anyone else doing this?


I’ve not tried to root callery, but I had a question for you.

You’ve mentioned you’ve let pear rootstocks get pretty big before grafting. Last spring I grafted a edible pear for a friend on a 4" dia. callery rootstock in his yard. The graft grew quite a bit this summer. I have it staked so it won’t blow out, but my question is, will the callus formed on such a large trunk ever become strong enough to hold the graft when the graft gets very large and eventually becomes a large tree?

I’ve never grafted any rootstock that large before. I’ve seen it done w/ pecans, but not with pears. As you know, we get a lot of wind here in KS, and I’m just wondering it the union will eventually be strong enough to handle the wind. I grafted the scion very low on the stump (a few inches off the ground) so unfortunately, the wind will have maximum leverage on the graft union.

Yes it will get strong enough. I do graft using cleft or bark every year. It will eventually look just like the tree
( typically 3 years before one that’s 4" heals all the way over). Typically by next year it will be strong enough to support itself. I normally don’t stake and cut the graft back to 1/2 or 1/3 the length to reduce the winds effect on it but the way you did it should work fine. It should turn out very nice. I do typically graft high so if the top gets hit hard with fire blight I wont lose my roots. Usually I get fruit in two or three years. The callery grow much faster than a normal pear. I typically paint the trunk with white indoor paint to reduce sunburn and to discourage rabbits and sprouts.

Here is an example of a rind graft after several years

Here are what the callery wild root stock look like when I find them
Here is a rind graft after one year
Here are some cleft grafts I grafted by splitting the parent tree with a butcher knife and hammer.
I used toilet seal wax to fill in the gaps on the cleft grafts. The clefts look very good for having been done a year ago. Cleft grafts heal much faster than rind grafts.

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Thanks Clark for the answer and pics!

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Your rind grafts look much better than mine on a large under stock. I have let several of the lower buds from the rootstock grow out and plan to do some whip grafts on them to back up some of the verities I have rind grafted.

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Usually by the third year people don’t believe me when I say the tree is grafted. Typically the bark is a little rougher at the union but aside from that it’s virtually invisible.

I do thst sometimes Derby and it does in most cases pay off if for nothing else preserving extra scion wood. I had a tree i rind and side grafted with two different types of scions and the top rind grsft was incompatable.

Missed opportunities frequently lead to greater research. I discovered some fascinating things about some valuable rootstocks. Old Home we know is one of the parents of the widely available ohxf (old home x Farmingdale) crosses. If you are not familiar with old home you may want to read this http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1436392 and farmingdale read this http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/acc/display.pl?1436124. Then I went back and read this information from 1961 http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/repositoryfiles/ca1510p11-64920.pdf. Then I found myself not knowing what the substance IBA referred to in the previous article is so I read this Indole-3-butyric acid - Wikipedia. Recall quince is very useful and dwarfs pears but is not useful because it’s susceptible to fireblight? One concept might be to use farmingdale roots and quince interstem and scion wood on top as mentioned in the article.October and November are said to be the best months to root pears by cuttings. I requested old home scion wood which I will grow out on large trees to produce significant top growth to use as interstems or roots later. By the time the scion wood grows out it will usable in October and November. I’m not ignoring other rootstocks merely pursuing one missed opportunity at a time. By the way in 1950 they were doing considerable fireblight rootstock research which can be read here http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/15075/StationBulletin485.pdf?sequence=1. In 1957 they were doing significant research on pears. I read their findings here as I realized they were seeing the importance of genetic diversity in pears to combat diseases such as fireblight so significant attempts to get more genetic material would be made. http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/8578/tec_bul_41_.pdf?sequence=1

Clark seems like you and I are operating on the same wavelength. I have read many of the same articles you have listed above. I tried rooting my own OHxF rootstock last year. It was basically a complete bust. One thing that I believe affects results is that you and I live in an ebvironment that is very different from where most of this research is done. Good luck and let me know if you have any success.

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I will keep you posted. I’m looking closely at half a dozen different pear rootstocks right now.

Harbin is a very vigorous rootstock so I highly recommend it for Asian pears. BET rootstock has been slow to start but appears to be good rootstock. Ohxf rootstocks work fine but are not as vigorous as I thought they might be. Callery appears to be the ideal rootstock so far for my location though it delays fruit production 2 years when it does fruit I think it fruits heavier. Harbin looks very promising and I really can’t say enough good about it but it has some real drawbacks such as FB susceptibility , pear decline susceptibility if used with European pears, it grows so fast that I need to plant it where I want it because it gets big fast!

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