Seeking advice on starting multi-grafted tree

I hope to establish a multi-grafted European plum tree.

I was considering getting a one year old grafted whip to start from and am seeking advice on where to go from there (or if there is a better starting place).

Would attempting to graft or chip bud on a second variety a foot or so above the graft union be a sound thing to do in the spring? Would trying to add another variety to the rootstock below the graft union be a good/bad idea?

Is trying to add varieties to a one-year whip a bad idea and it would be better to let the tree branch out and grow some structure this year to graft on to that next year?

Any experience, guidance, or thoughts would be welcome!

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Don’t think I’d try grafting anything below the initial graft union but other than that knock yourself out. Most people prefer to have their scaffold start 18"-36" from the ground but this varies based on a lot of thing like planting space, final tree height, and also based on animals you have nearby that can do damage like deer. Once you have a good scaffold design you can try a lot of different varieties. Just be prepared to wait a while for them to ever produce fruit. Depending on your rootstock you don’t always have to limit yourself to a specific type of plum. With some rootstock you could add pluots, apriums, apricots all on one tree. Typically you’d use whip or cleft grafts on dormant scion wood and t-buds or chip buds with actively growing wood. Good luck. Franken - trees are a lot of fun.

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I won’t chip or T bud to the trunk. That will result in a branch with a narrow crotch angle. Plant in 2016 and let the tree establish a yr. In that time try to establish branches with good crotch angles. Then in 2017 bud or graft onto each branch.

In addition a bud inserted low on a weak tree, like just planted, probably won’t push. You’ll not get one to grow from the rootstock esp the first yr.

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I used to suggest growing the tree out to the point that you had a few nice scaffolds, and then grafting those scaffolds over to the new varieties by whatever way seems appropriate for your present circumstance.

But now I think that if I were to start a new tree I would graft my way vertically up the central leader- every 18-24 inches or so I would whip, cleft, or whip-and-tongue a new variety, which would then produce scaffolds. Some of those scaffolds would be kept as are and some could be grafted over.

And I’d consult like crazy with this forum to design it, 'cause the possibilities are endless!

I wouldn’t attempt to work below the graft union, although I suppose you could build a bush if you wanted.

Good luck,

Mark

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