The Overthinking It Grafting Blues

Anyone else drive themselves nuts with 17 alternate plans of what to graft where? Talking about top-working.

E.g. I haven’t tasted X so do I really want a whole tree of it just because I have High Hopes for it? Should I give Y one more year to taste good (bad the last five years) or topwork it now? Should I roll the dice and graft blighty Z that tastes great and hope for the best? Do I feel lucky?

Should I cleft graft a one inch branch now (dislike clefts) or wait a week for a bark graft but one inch is bare minimum (for me) for a bark graft? Do I have too many late apples? Do I have too many apples period? (That’s the real question.) And on and on.

So I walk out and stare at various trees and their branch structures the umpteenth time hoping inspiration strikes. Any of this sound familiar? LOL.




Last year was my first year grafting. I was going to plan out what scions was going on to each tree. Then I received the scions, and realized that the scions were all different diameters. I found the easiest way was to start with the bigger diameter size scions, and work down to the smaller size. I would try to match up the scion to size of the branches. (top working) I had a little advantage because my trees were about perfect age to top work, and I grafted about 15 apple trees.


All too familiar.


I had plan to graft certain varieties onto specific tree. But when I was actually in my yard, I ditched the plan and grafted scions that match the branch size regardless.


Yes. I have plenty of trees but this year I ordered about 10 benchgrafts of dwarf apples and 2 semi-dwarf sweet cherry trees. I suspect if the Pandemic hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have purchased them. I am having some second thoughts about doing this but at least all of my trees are going to be small. Nothing is on large rootstocks and a dwarf tree is easy to graft over or remove if it doesn’t work out.

I wonder about guys that graft a 100 trees on MM111. How are they going to care for the trees when the trees are mature? What are they going to do with the apples if their not selling them? I think as a dedicated hobbyist it is easy for this to drift in being a second part time job if you’re not careful. Good planning and equipment can help a lot but the risk is still there.


I have done all the things you mentioned and still do.


Just planted 160’ of muscadines and about three years in these can easily produce 400 pounds of fruit. I have no plans to sell them so if all goes well I will be looking for an outlet but most likely it will not a for sale situation. When I have extra I enjoy sharing.


So happy to hear of kindred souls. At some point I force myself to Just Start Grafting. And then a Zen thing takes over- flow maybe- total concentration and things start to fall into place.


Yes, I’ve walked around my trees many times trying to figure out where to graft. 2017 and 2018 were the years greed took over and I grafted about 100 apple grafts on 4 existing trees!! I could not decide which varieties I wanted more so all were somewhere on the trees.

What a hot mess!! I have learned from it? Not yet!!

Just the other day, my better half wondered why it took me so long to fill two bird feeders. That was done in 5 mins and the rest of the time was spent on staring at the trees contemplating where I should graft.


I don’t know that I over-think it, but I definitely over-do it.

This is my project apple tree. Each tag is a grafted variety. It currently has 15 varieties on it, counting the 5 I grafted last week. It’s about 3 1/2 feet tall.

This is what happens when you only have room for one tree. If only it had ever had as many apples on it as it has tags. :thinking:


Well done Ca Poppy, well done!


By the time that I finally did pear grafting, I had already changed my mind many times about what to try. There are so many options, by the time my root stock was ready to graft to I had 3 scion more than I had room for and I grafted those on to my pear tree since I had no other options of where to graft the 3 more than my root stock could hold. Now I have started another list of more varieties to try, beyond the 8 varieties that I got this spring + the ‘Honeysweet’ pear tree I bought at an online nursery. It worked out very good taking so much time to decide before I actually grafted, I discovered new varieties over the years, more information was made available online. I had more time to think about the positives and the negatives about the varieties. It does seem like the new discoveries never end when it comes to certain types of fruit bearing plants, yet I think that it’s worth taking the time, if it’s something that matters enough growing.


Agree- it’s always a choice of the bird in hand vs better future options. Life lessons played out in the orchard.

There are usually too many varieties and not enough places to put them.Then,going back through my bags,there will be the ones,that I remember getting and wanting to try.


Exactly. A real challenge for Libras who weigh every aspect of every decision.

1 Like

Yes , I spend a lot of time “ over thinking it all “
Life can be hard sometimes !
I usually start by multiple grafts of anything newly acquired,
In different areas , hoping to keep some growing .
Then ,what did I acquire last year, ?
Make more of those , and anything else I only have a few of that seams promising.
It’s all about preserving promising genetics , and giving things multiple places to prove their self.
Things happen , grafts can die ,and / or be productive in one place , but not in others .
I hate Losing a variety before it has been given a fair chance.
Of course making multiple labels for those rare things .
After that , it’s like what has done good ,that you want to eat more of ! :grinning:


Do I have too many apples period?

C’mon, you already know the answer to that


When I did the last graft it was like watching the last episode of “Game of Thrones.” Is it really already over???


Agree the challenge is to give every graft a fair chance to prove its worth without pulling the plug too soon for some new “shiny object.”