Multigrafting my own stone fruit tree

For several reasons, I want to graft my own “fruit cocktail” stone fruit tree.

I have cleft grafted apples in the somewhat distant past with modest results.

First, I am not usually impressed with the varietal selection of commercially available fruit cocktail trees. Usually they select varieties not good for a Mid-Atlantic climate.

Secondly, I think it will be fun, for me and the kids.

Third, since my wife and I both work and have small kids, I would rather have a small amount of several stone fruits vs an entire tree’s worth of a single variety to deal with, and then having to freeze, dry, or can.

I am in Howard County, MD, zone 7a but on the cusp of 6b.

I want Japanese plums, peaches, and apricots.

Question 1: what would be the best rootstock that would accept all three of these and do well in my climate and soil? Soil is loamy, less clay that most central MD soils. I’m thinking Lovell, St. Julien A, Citation? A bit of dwarfing would be nice but not 100% necessary.

Question 2: what are good nursery sources of rootstocks?

Question 3: since stone fruits do better via summer budding…are there people here who can send me budwood? I can provide cash, but since my garden is young, I don’t really have much to trade yet. I will post what I’m looking for below. I’m fine with commercial sources, but I’ve only found places that will sell dormant scionwood, not summer budwood.

Potential varieties:


Tomcot does well here per Scott and others. I’d love one of those, and any other recommendations for a second.

My phone wouldn’t let me keep posting.




Scott says good things about Oldmixon Free and Winblo.


You might want to slow down a bit there. I know everyone has their way of growing. Some people like 10 varieties per tree while others like one; 2 or 3 or 4 maybe. I personally like one but I buy a few large trees from the big box to get things going. This is just me.

I’m just going to give you my opinion and I believe you would be best off with a few three or four rootstocks to begin with and get them planted yesterday. If you want ‘Shiro’ and ‘Satsuma’ then put a scion of each on one rootstock. They’re polinating mates.

If you want a few three apricots, then maybe put them all on one tree. Same with peaches. You can certainly multi-graft all of these on something like citation. I’m not a rootstock expert, however. I’ll leave that to others.

You’ll come to find there are a TON of people on here that freely exchange scionwood even if you have nothing. As for summer budding, if you don’t have someone you can drive to, to collect fresh 1-year shoots, then that’s not a viable option. Stick with cleft or whatever else you learn to do using dormant wood.



I can understand your logic. Based on my own experience, I suggest you order a Shiro or a Satsuma on a plum seedling rootstock. Then, graft any plums and pluots you like on it. Prune the tree to keep it around 6-7’ tall.

I’d do the same with peach. I’d buy a Winblo on either a Guardian, Lovell or Halford. Graft more varieties of peaches, nectarines and some compatible apricots to it.

Several varieties of plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines can be grafted on peach or plum rootstocks. I can’t remember what is what. @Barkslip is very knowledgeable about this thing.

I recommend you order a catalog from Schlabach in NY. Check the Reference section for the contach info of this Amish nursery ( no website, mail order only). It has what you are looking for, is reasonably priced and trustworthy.


I appreciate the feedback.

Another reason is I have to fence in ANYTHING I grow (already did the veggie garden) because of the $@&$@&@ deer. More trees = more $$$ for fencing.

Those bastards eat everything they can.


100% agree about Schlabach’s. They put their peaches on peach seedling. You can graft on peach: peach, nectarine, European or Asian plum, many/most apricots, all hybrids of plums; plumcots aka pluots, pluerry.

On a European plum you may graft: any Euro. or Asian plum; peaches, nectarines, hybrids again: pluots or pluerries; not many apricots though.

Asian plum will accept what Euro plum accepts in the same manner.

Wild plum: Prunus americana accepts all plums: Euro/Asian; peach & nectarine; pluot or pluerry but again it’s not going to accept most apricots. It’s a thicket former so it’s nice to have a patch to go put scions onto. You can always use it as a sole rootstock, also. Grows all over the country. When you put peaches and nectarines onto wild plum or domestic plum, borers get confused and often don’t mess with your peaches. Graft your scions up off the ground a couple feet or 18".

Apricots are best grafted on Citation or peach or Apricot. Prunus mandshurica is an excellent rootstock for apricots (it’s a wild Asian apricot.)

If you can remember only that apricot is it’s own animal with the exception of peach seedling, then just graft them all to each other. You get into buying rootstocks, they’ll tell you right there what each accepts. I’m just giving you the overview of grafting onto already sizeable trees that most people would order.

Hope this helps,



I’ve been browsing this year’s grafting thread.

It looks like a lot of you do graft peaches in spring instead of budding…how well does it work?

I have read that part of the problem is keeping scionwood dormant long enough but having the weather warm enough for the graft to knit at the same time.

Wrap your scion with parafilm, keep it in a ziplock bag with a bit of moist paper towel in the fridge, and you should be fine. That peach scionwood will last until you’re ready to use it.


In long-term perspective, you will be better off if you dedicate one tree to each species: one tree for peaches/nectarines, one tree for apricots, one tree for Asian plums and one tree for Euro plums. It’s more investment initially, but it will pay off. Different species bloom at different times, require sprays at different times, have different growth habits, etc.

One option is to buy rootstocks (e.g., from Raintree), plant them in spring '18, grow for a year and then graft them in spring '19. Another option is to buy trees and top-work them or add additional varieties (in principle, you can graft in the year of planting but you will have more success if you let the trees establish for a year). Yet another option is to just plant pits of different species and then graft on seedlings that grow from them. It’s advisable to graft the most vigorous variety (e.g., Shiro for A. plums) first and then graft other varieties on top of it.

Regarding rootstocks. Citation works well for apricots, Asian plums and pluots/plumcots. For peaches/nectarines it’s a bit too dwarfing/low vigor but in fertile soil it may be not a bad thing. St. Julian is supposed to work ok for everything. Myro 29C works well for apricots, E. plums and A. plums (more vigor than Citation for both apricots and plums). Krymsk 1 works for all plums (both A. and E.), most apricots and some peaches (it’s proven to be compatible with Redhaven, so graft Redhaven first and then graft all other varieties of peaches/nectarines on top of it). If you have little space, Krymsk 1 is dwarfing.

I find grafting apricots, A. plums, and E. plums quite easy, while peaches/nects more difficult but doable. No problem with storing scionwood if you do it right (see a comment by @SMC_zone6 above). You can also bud in late spring/summer if you find a budwood source within driving distance (take a cooler with you to keep the wood fresh).


I second Stan’s opinion that its easier to do one tree per species, and it also lets you start out with good stocks for each as you can simply buy an apricot, peach, and plum so all the add-ons are apricot on apricot, peach on peach, and plum on plum.

Re: deer, I am having more and more pressure by the year so I am more and more going to an umbrella shape to trees – have around 5’ of trunk and have the main branching up high and more or less horizontal. The other alternative is to let the trees get really tall, that also works but I am avoiding any ladder use in my orchard. For fencing, all you need is to get something around each trunk for the first 3-4 years. One other advantage of 3 trunks vs 1 is trees can die and you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket if you can help it.


Ok. So I’ll start off with maybe four or five rootstocks - one good for each of peach, plum, 'cot.

Also a couple apple.

If I decide later I want to graft multiple species on a tree and cull another, that’s a future option I suppose.

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Now if anyone within driving distance of Howard County, MD can provide me summer budwood, I may try that. Otherwise I will probably try mostly dormant grafts.

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Its getting a bit late for budding, at least I have not had much luck with budding around now.

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I mean next year! :+1:t3:

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Definitely double check each rootstock you get that it’s not virus sensitive. I just say that because you’re going to be grafting a lot of stuff into one tree. Some rootstocks are very susceptible and you don’t want to graft a scion of something that has a virus and have the rootstock be unable to take it, and die.

I’m not an expert but I’ve heard Citation can be quite sensitive, as well as some of the new Geneva rootstocks for apples.

Maybe graft to older rootstock whose strengths and weakness are already fully known? Like if I wanted high-yielding single-variety dwarf or semi-dwarf apple trees, the Geneva rootstocks might be the best choice, but in your situation, perhaps M111 might be a better choice as an older rootstock that shouldn’t give you a lot of trouble?


Would any general peach seedling work more or less as well as Lovell?

I would say so… I have many seedling peach stocks and they are impossible to tell from the Lovell/Halford.

Is it true that there is nothing particularly special about Lovell per se, (compared to other varieties), except that because it’s a canning clingstone peach, the seeds are easy to come by?

So this is pretty much what I am doing. I ordered a Shiro (on St Julian A) based on @alan’s vigor recommendation with the plan to graft on a Satsuma and one other variety (Spring Satin?).

It seems that the general recommendation is let the tree grow out a year and then the following year select scaffolds to graft onto / replace. Assuming the Shiro to produces 5-6 good scaffold branches (modified central leader) and I only want to add two varieties how would this work and how would I balance growth between the three? I also want to minimize the amount of new growth I remove early on if at all possible.

Pinging a few others for perspective @Barkslip @scottfsmith @Stan

I wouldn’t use St. Julian unless space is extremely limited although I’ve no experience with it. For some varieties I don’t even find Citation is adequately vigorous if you are growing a multi-variety tree. A tree on Myro with 3 varieties or more will never leave you with more plums than you can use in my experience, you can keep such a tree fairly compact.

I have a Flavor Grenade pluot on Citation that I really wish had more vigor.