The ongoing saga of the prune on nanking cherry


I’ve posted a few times about my experiment of some years wherein I grafted a prune plum to nanking cherry rootstock. It took off and grew, but took seven years to bloom, and now, in its eighth year had only a few blossoms. The blossoms didn’t impress me and I didn’t expect any fruitset. But I was wrong- there’s two on it now. The root sucker that I planted from the same clone at the same time is behaving about the same- it’s got one plum hanging.

So for now it’s working. I’ve got a severely dwarfed prune plum producing, well, kinda, and looking healthy. We’ll see how it does in the next few years.

Kinda of a hoot in any event just have it do this well. Stay tuned.

Updated photos of plum grafted to tomentosa (nanking cherry)
Prune grafted to Nanking cherry bearing

Like the updates. Keep them coming.


Very nifty. I think I remember that nanking cherry is also compatiblr with peach, I wonder what others it could work with to provide dwarfing roots?


Jesse, I think Lucky tried this experiment and wasn’t impressed with the results, but he lives in the Southeast and I live in the Northwest, so I gave it a whirl. I don’t know whatall amongst the stone fruits can be interchanged, but I think cherries are the outliers, and there are at least maybes elsewhere.

I came across this link to a page Fowler’s Nursery provides and I think it’s at least a good starting point. Mind I’ve never had any dealings with Fowler’s and I’m not recommending them -just their webpage!

A year or two ago I budded apricot to prune plum, which I thought should work. The grafts healed over nicely and that’s all- they would not break dormancy. It might have worked on a different plum, with a different apricot, or in a different year. I don’t know how to know without trying. And that’s the case for me with all of them. Bill (Auburn) does a lot of cross-species grafting and might have better answers.

At any rate, it’s fun, creative, and educational, ay?


No better answers here on stone fruit grafts. I have been keeping up with your post and others trying to get a hold on what is compatible with stone fruit. Apples and pears are what I have my most experience with. Bill


Nanking cherry is actually more closely related to plums than to true cherries.
I have grafted peach and Japanese hybrid plums onto Nanking understock.
The peach lived for years, in my dad’s orchard at Auburn AL…never got more than about 4 ft tall… not sure it ever fruited.
The AU plums were not so dwarfed, but I lost track of them.

Prunus tomentosa as Rootstock

Whatever became of your plum graft on your Nanking? Is it still alive? Did it fruit last year?


It is alive, and healthy, but it didn’t bear last year; still, I had almost no fruit on anything last year, thanks to frosts. So it goes.

But the year before it was quite generous, and I hopeful for this year. We’ll see what the weather has to say about that!


THanks. I just planted a couple nankings today. How is your nanking itself doing? Producing well? My Romance serious cherries have been SLOW growers so I’m hoping Nanking may do better. Plus I have the option of doing a graft like you it seems!


My Nankings in Zone 7b central Georgia grew extremely fast from 1 foot high seedlings. Some fruited in their second year and most reached their full size in 3 years. They are the first thing to bloom and despite two days of temperatures with hitting 21 degrees during bloom, some of the plants have set a decent crop.

On the downside, several have gotten some bacterial or fungal disease that kills the whole plant. It may be phytophthora root rot, since I’ve got heavy soil that tends to stay wet and we had an incredibly rainy summer this past year. The symptoms just don’t match the usual cherry diseases. Another downside is the birds seem to like the fruit as much as I do.


I haven’t grown Nankings as such much, but I do have an 18" plant that got something last year. Nankings all over were getting it, and I pruned it off. Maybe verticillium wilt? I don’t know, but I think that’s what the extension people were saying. Almost no fruit from any of them.


Based on your post, I just looked at Cherry verticillium wilt. That might be what mine have, too. Of course, as is often the case for these soil diseases, there’s not a lot of treatment options. I’ve replaced my dead Nankings with figs because I had some extra cuttings sitting around in pots that needed planting. Looks like I might be in luck, according to figs are resistant to verticillium wilt.


I should have mentioned that, according to the county extension folks, at least, the plants will recover.