Rootstock root system when grafting

Continuing the discussion from Anyone using hot callusing?:

I’ll be receiving some bareroot rootstock soon. Based on the following quote from the article, I should wait a few weeks for the rootstock to establish their roots before attempting grafting. I’m guessing 3 weeks should be enough. That will bring me to the first week of May. Is it better to wait a year?

Quote from article:
Quality of the root system has a pronounced effect on both survival and vigor of scion growth.
The best scion wood, grafting techniques, and hot-callusing cannot substitute for a lack of roots on the rootstock. Approximately half of the observed grafting losses following hot-callusing were caused by poor quality root systems, not by a poor union. The quality of the root system has a pronounced effect on both the survival and vigor of the scion.

I was speaking with a friend the other day on how important the roots are with new rootstocks. I had some come with no roots and some come with lots of roots. The ones with lots of roots are harder to plant but do twice as good. I won’t graft those rootless rootstocks this year. In this area its getting late in the year for grafting so I would water them like crazy the next two weeks if they need it.

If you have the scion wood - no reason to not graft! If it takes you’re a year ahead. If it doesn’t take, just try again. What do you have to lose?


I’ve been down that road and it sets back the rootstock and it takes my time to do it and seldom works out. I have to many things that need grafted this year. I’m patient and in a year they will be a healthy tree that will take grafts a lot better.