Timing on Moving / Grafting Rootstock

I have 3 Julien A rootstock and 3 OHxF 87 rootstock I’ve been growing since this spring.

What is the timing suggested for grafting and moving to their final location? I’d assume it’s safer to dig and move the trees while dormant. Knowing that roots do grow a bit over winter, would it be better to move them, say, in December then graft in place in the spring?

I’m also assuming you wait until you see at least pushing buds before topping the rootstock and making your scion graft?

Depends on size. If they can be potted and you have a greenhouse, I would pot them as soon as they go dormant, mulch them well to insulate from winter freeze, then move into greenhouse for grafting around mid March as soon as your greenhouse holds above 40F at nights.
Without a greenhouse to graft early, it’s best to relocate before buds swell in spring, to reduce shock of transplanting. Once you see buds swelling is a good time to graft. I use the below general guidance for ambient temperature ranges for best results:
Callusing temperatures of Fruit and Nut trees

Posted on May 21, 2013 by qwertyqweryt61

Nectarines/Peaches – 18-26 deg C. ( 64.4 to 78.8F)

Apricots/Cherries – 20 deg C. ( 68F)

Plums – 16 deg C. ( 60.8 F)

Apples/Pears – 13-18 deg C. ( 55.4 to 64.4F)

Walnuts – 27 deg C. (80.6 F)

Grapes – 21-24 deg C. ( 69.8 to 75.2 F).

Figs - 23.9- 29.4 deg C. ( 75-85 F).

Do not forget tissue damage for most temperate fruit will occur at temperatures over 30 deg C. (86 F). So if you use electrical tape or any dark materials to graft, cover them with aluminum foil to prevent the sun from killing healing tissues.

Temperatures either side of the optimum will also work, but the percentage take will be reduced. See graph below for walnuts.


Callus graph showing optimal temperature range

Kent, wa



I’ll move them after New Years I think.

The temps vary so much here in February into March it will be hard to actually target a time with the best average air temp for the grafting.

I’d say I’ll just need to go with bud swell and graft.

No greenhouses down here for homeowners as our winters are so mild. The coldest day of average daily temp of winter is 61°/41°. Of course that’s a 30 year average so temps can be anywhere from there.

This past spring I had bud swell ands blooms starting the last week of February into the first week or so of March.

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