Root grafting

Ha anyone tried grafting a root or roots directly onto a scion? I have tried it a few times with some success on Mulberry, apricot. Mostly it was done because I didn’t have sufficient rootstock on hand, and out of curiosity just to see if it would work.
I have some pear tree culls(Seckel on 97s) from my nursery I am considering chopping the roots up and trying this out with later in the winter.



I have tried with apple and had success, in this video you can see same tree few years later and this year i had first fruits on that root grafted tree.


Nice results, thank you for posting! Did you split the bottom of scion to make the cleft graft?

Thanks, i have made split in roots and inserted scion wood into that split in roots, after that tied graft and planted on permanent spot in garden.

In this video you can see how i have cleft grafted piece of roots.


I am not sure if it works with all the plants but I have been doing this in emergency cases on myrobalans/green gage rootstocks (young and thin diameter when I lack rootstocks).
I just cut the taproot in two pieces and I get two rootstocks this way. Of course I need to remove the top growth of one part and keep just the root. The grafts take this way just like with any other rootstock. Hope you know what I mean…


Two for the price of one,-I like it!
Are you also using cleft graft?

Years ago I worked for someone potting up bare root apple trees .
To fit the tree into say a 3gal pot , some roots would have to be trimmed off.
These roots I cut straight on one end and slanted on the other to keep track of which way was up. And set them aside
There were many varietys of Apple , so I collected and labeled scion wood too.
Did wip and tounge grafts on them. Most grafts took. And I still have those trees.
I did not get payed very much on that job. But the value of the trees I made was well worth my time.
This could be easily done with that new bare root tree you get this spring.
Make several out of it before you plant it.
The advantage of using bare root for this is you can easily keep track of root orientation .
Several times I have found an apple tree I wanted one of , and just dug down and pulled up a root , cut off a scion , grafted together ,and presto . Got a new tree !
The problem with this is making sure you have the right orientation of the root, as roots may twist around and one is not sure witch way is up.
With a bare root tree it is obvious .
Also I always worried about the dirt contaminating the I try to clean well.


have been planning to do this on jujubes just for kicks, so thanks for reminding me :slight_smile: Have done permutations and positions of grafts(lateral to upright, upright to lateral, wrong polarity, etc), but root scion to stem i have yet to try.

of course this is contingent to presence of adventitious bud/s on the root scion, so any failure may not be a true failure.

[Splice, whip and cleft worked for me

1 Like

Works on figs, particularly useful when voles dig down and eat the crown. You can find a root and graft to it and it will grow as well as an established tree, no watering needed.


Awesome thread!

Oh the possibilities for someone with a knife, some tape and a little inspiration! :smile:


We did four apple root grafts this year on young crab seedlings and one sucker from old apple tree (a grafted tree). Three of four grew well (the one that didn’t was a very small one bud leftover scion piece). I dug up rootstocks, washed off dirt, trimmed root, whip & tonques onto whatever part seemed possible,wrapped well with parafilm and splicing tape, planted in field with graft about an inche below surface with 1-2 buds above, mulched. Got 6-12" of growth. I wanted to get trees on own roots so buried the graft. I don’t know how I will know if they do indeed end up on own roots.

Plan to do some cherries on mazzard next year, same way. And a pear on a common pear from seed I have growing in my nursery.

Besides the articles on Orange Pippen website by Hugh Ermen, and Elizabeth’s Apples article (unforunately no updates), I found a good article from “The Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia”:

I certainly will look forward to yours and others reports. I may try some root pieces next year instead of the whole root ball. I have an area for full size trees and am particularly interested in own root trees. Sue


There is a video out there (Youtube?) where a guy took a chunk of a very vigorous peach tree’s horizontal root, dug it up & moved it, never letting sunlight contact it, to his garage, and then grafted his favorite peach’s scion on to it and immiediately replanted. He showed the tree and was very happy.


Yes, it’s called piece root grafting, and apparently was common in the 1920’s as the 1925 Stark Bros. Catalog takes pains to convey that their trees are whole root grafted (“Old Oak Process” they called it) rather than piece root grafted.


I’m currently using this method to propagate hundreds of OHxF97 pears, but more on that later.

I did, however, use this method to graft a few dozen peaches and plums onto root pieces of some St. Julien A rootstock this spring. It involve a hot callousing period, which was basically 3 weeks of resting in a vented bag, packed in sawdust at 22-24 degrees C, followed by cool storage until planting. Success was 100%, excepting, of course, where I killed the rootstock by other means. It was convenient to do, as I was basically benchgrafting, packing in wood pellet bags and storing on a shelf at room temps until calloused.


Glad to have your perspective, Derick. I am curious abut how long you held callused grafts in cold storage.

1 Like

Just as long as weather/workflow necessitated.
I dug all my roots in late March
Grafted early, early April
Two weeks in warmth, then out into the ‘cellar.’
Planted around May 15th. Already mostly leafed out.

STRONGLY recommend using parafilm alone for this operation. One, so callus is visible yet humid; two, so removal or slicing of rubbers at planting time is unnecessary.


You can see a video of Freedom Tree Farms piece root grafting hundreds of apple trees at


My own progress has been promising. I did a few hundred each of ohxf97 on itself, St. Julien A on itself and St Julien A on Manchu apricot.

Pears were done earliest, packed in a bin of moist medium and kept around 10 degrees C. Pears began to show the teeniest bit of callus formation on the scions this week. St. Julien is being held in a warm basement for another 10 days or so.