Too late for scion grafting?

I’m wondering just when is too late for grafting apple scions? I am expecting some scions in the mail next week, but some of the trees I want to graft onto are getting to the “squirrel’s ear” leaf stage, and some not quite there yet. Do I have a couple more weeks yet to do some grafting? When is too late? Thank you!


Should still be good in your zone i figure…if buds are pushing/trees starting to leafout your should be in primetime

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My daughter lives on the other side of town, and I am hoping to graft a few of these scions on her trees too. Her trees are leafing more than mine, as she is in a different “microclimate” at an altitude about 500’ lower, so…when do I know it is too late to do her trees? (Same Zone 4b.) Is it possible to graft until blossoms appear, or petal fall? Can I graft later than that, as long as the bark is still slipping and my scions are kept properly? Thanks for your help.

You should be fine, apples and pears are very forgiving and generally have a very high take percentage…as long as its relatively early in spring your take % should still be good (i generally like to graft a bud growth to small leaves stage but others do at different times and still have good results…people have been grafting for thousands of yeara so it is generally quite forgiving


My apple is at the same stage as yours, and I grafted yesterday and plan to today. Actually, I’ve grafted apples and pears right through May with no problems at all. You should be able to graft good scions into petal fall. But by then you need to start thinning!


Established trees, W&P grafting scions onto limbs (frankentree building basically). I did some on July 28 of last year and they appear to be fine. As @Carlin said, they’re pretty forgiving.


Good to hear that. I did a simple splice graft on a pear last July and it is doing fine.

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Thank you! It is good to know these hard to find scions (Reine de Reinettes) will not go to waste. This is my first year grafting trees other than dormant rootstocks…and it is not easy to find when is “too late” for grafting in books or online. Thanks again very much!

Thank you. It is hard to find in books (or online) when is too late for grafting, and I really appreciate hearing I have plenty of time. And as for thinning, yes, I am learning that too. I have six 50 y/o trees (unknown varieties) that were neglected terribly for 20 years. LOL Thank you again very much!

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Should work fine. Im a greenhorn but ive had success grafting in august in alabama in 90+ F weather. Now that was with current year growth as scions but i bet dormant would work great. I do cleft graft and wrap the union with electricians tape the wrap everything including scion with parafilm tape. Good luck.


Wow, the end of July even! I am relieved to know I still have time to use these hard to find scions I am receiving next week. Previously all my grafts were done while the rootstocks and trees were both dormant, and now I am seeing I may have better luck when the bark is actually slipping on the trees. Last month, while all was still dormant, I made 6 two y/o trees into “Frankentrees,” adding three varieties onto each, and also added varieties onto some 50 y/o trees in my backyard. I found bench grafting much easier than grafting onto trees, at first, but with a little practice I am finding it easier too. Thank you for your help!

Working on established trees is harder -you have to wrangle yourself into the right position, push branches and twigs our of your face, watch what you’re breaking with your elbows … and in my case, working under the scowl of my wife, who disapproves of me doing anything that requires a ladder!


So you have taken [growing] scions from one variety and used them for grafting? In all my reading of books, I have never heard of using anything other than “dormant” scion wood for grafting. Hmmm. I am only a second year grafter, but have done whip-and-tongue, cleft, modified cleft, and bark grafts (using parafilm, and Doc Farley’s seal n’ heal). Last year, I had 19 of 20 successful takes on rootstocks, this year I am more ambitious with 31 rootstocks and also grafting new varieties onto 9 trees. Thanks for your advice! By the way, I have also tried growing some Valencia peanuts here in Montana (for boiling), but without any luck. I have to buy them dried–from New Mexico–and boil them myself.

LOL. We’re marriedd to the same woman!


Didn’t realize you’re a Montanan too. I’m in Missoula. Actually quite a number of westerners near us. (I started to list a couple and then realized I was overlooking some.)

Thats right they were new growing shoots. Having said that, they were not tender green shoots. They had hardened a bit and the bark was reddish green with tiny little buds starting to form at the leaf bases. I plucked all the leaves off and used the fatter, older, more hardened wood for grafting. I even put some in the fridge a couple weeks before grafting. No problem. I didnt think it would work, it was emergency to save varieties on a tree that became infected with fireblight. These grafts did not grow as vigorously as spring grafted but still put on plenty of growth and then took off the next spring. Keep in mind im just a hobbiest so theres not much riding on these trials.

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I had grafted those varieties onto M-111 rootstock and later they died. Got bumped and broke the union I suspected… I had kept any spare scion material in the fridge and figured what the heck. Took off and grew throughout August and September and are leaved out doing fine this spring.

Hmmm, wow, that’s nice to know. Never know when I might need to do that, but nice to know it is a possibility. I am just a hobbyist too, and this year moving to “Plan B” with my trees…switching rootstocks and starting over:sweat_smile:

Hmmm, I don’t appear on the map. Maybe I haven’t been a member long enough?

In Missoula, @marknmt, are you growing any cider varieties…and homebrewing cider? I made my first batch, last Fall, from 50 y/o unknown variety trees and it turned out pretty decent. (Learning as I go with that too.) And I am imagining the cider made with the new varieties I am growing will–one day–be far better.

What rootstocks are you growing on, how many, and what varieties? I had 19 of 20 grafts take on G-210, last year, but only 7 survived the summer (in pots) and none grew more than a foot–most less than 6 inches. Decided to switch everything to B-118 and Antonovka, this year, and start over. Bought some whips too, last year, growing on G-890, MM-111, MM-106, G-210, and B-118 (also all in pots). The G-210, again, did not grow much at all, though they were smaller caliber, lower grade (from Cummin’s). The MM-106 grew great–really great!–but I am reading they are not so very winter-hardy, perhaps unsuitable in the long run for Montana. The MM-111 grew more than 3 feet, and the G-890 close to that…so they may be worth saving, or maybe selling/giving away. Decided, however, that if I am limited to just 20 trees, I want them all on B-118 and Antonovka for the larger size and production. So, after grafting this year’s selection of scions onto rootstocks, I grafted leftovers onto [all] of the 2 y/o trees for evaluation purposes. (Everything is in pots still, because we are planning to move to a new home–hopefully this summer–and hopefully not longer!):confused::cold_sweat:

Anyway, I am anxious to hear what varieties and rootstocks you have there…and I am interested to learn your thoughts for producing cider apples in Montana.