Rootstock, scion

Hello!, First post from an absolute amateur, just bought a 5 acre garden (Sweden). Somewhat waterlogged (will be draining it), growing zone 7a/6b. Got a bit too excited and bought 5 Antonovka rootstocks, only thing being, I get access to the garden in June…

I planted the roots in large containers, potting soil medium to keep the roots damp. Balcony, 40-60F. No buds swelling yet. Should I graft my scions on now? (Can get them on short notice/ no buds on the trees here yet.), or wait until the roots have established?, Should I expect the rootstocks to bud on their own without a scion?

Thankful for any answers, you’re probably more knowledgeable than I am.

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If they are already potted I would wait till they green up a little and graft. Leave them in the pots until the fall to plant. Others may have different advice, but I like to disturb the roots as little as possible in the beginning.

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Hello Swepom.
Welcome to the forum!
Nice to have some more EU members :slight_smile:

5 acres is quite a lot. I’m curious(or jealous) to see what your gonna do with it. Starting with a few rootstocks and learning to graft already seems like a promising start ! :smile:

Since apples graft well with lower temperatures. You could graft now.

You will likely have better success (higher % of takes) when grafting when the rootstock begins to make small leaves of it’s own. (“wakes up”)

The thing is though, that when the rootstock “wakes up” often the tree that you cut the scions from also wakes up.

So you could store the scions partially buried in a shady spot that does get rain. (north side of a wall/house for example)

Or in the fridge. If storing in the fridge, it’s wise to pack it in zip lock freezer bags. Even dubbel or triple bag it, if you store fruits in the fridge. The Ethelene gases some fruits release to ripen. Also have a tendency to “wake up” scions. hence the dubbel or tripel packing of the scions.
I prefer to loosely roll up the bags, so most air is out of them. (some air is fine. But if you store the bags of scions blown up like balloons, the scions tend to loose more moisture)

long story short. You can probably graft now. But if you have the option to store the scions, you will have better success when the rootstocks are waking up.

You can also graft now. And store some left over scions in the fridge as backup, to graft later if some of the grafts you do now don’t take.

ps: if/when the rootstocks form small leaves it’s best to remove those. So the energy goes to the graft. Only if the graft fails and you don’t have scions to redo it, should you let 1 bud/leaf on the rootstock grow a shoot to graft on in summer or next dormant season.


Thanks! I’ll follow the advice given. Love to learn as I go along with all the nitty-gritty details I can pick up.

I’m planning on a more vigourous growing trees to the north an dwarfing to the south (maximizing light). going for mixed apples, pears, plums, cherries, berries, herb garden, and a vegetable patch, throw in a few hybrid grapes and som larger tree varietals. I’ve got lots of time and space now😊.


@DroppingFruit might have input specific to your climate.

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Hi Swepom, nice to have you join us in the forum.
As Richard said it is nice to have some more EU members, I am in Germany and also roughly 7a climate. I would go ahead and graft the apple rootstocks right away.

I Suggest you try out American persimmons. You can try many but to be safe i would suggest you stick to early ripening varieties like Early Jewel so they ripen fully.

Also it is good to consider putting trees that you would spray for pest or disease in a certain area to avoid overspray issues.

Here is a list of nurseries I have used.


Thank you very much for the advice!, Being on the southern part of Sweden it’s more like a chilly Germany. Most of the country is 5a with areas ranging between 2a to 9a, so it’s nice to get advice from someone in the same growing zone. Good to have a list of European nurseries. I’ll check them out!

Basic rule for grafting deciduous trees is; rootstock waking up and scion is dormant.


Welcome to this site. Great people and great advice for growing fruit.

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