Transplanting Rootstock and new grafts

So I have several OHxF 87, Julien A, and now Rootpac-R rootstocks. Only one is in the final location of the tree I want to grow.

Grafting and transplanting timing questions:

I assume bench grafting is popular because it is easier to make grafts sitting down comfortably at a ‘bench’, especially when making a lot of grafts. In my case I’m only doing a handful and don’t mind sitting on the ground to do so.

Since I have my rootstock but won’t have scion until late winter / early spring (which is late February to mid - March here), my thought is to move the ones I know the finally locations for once dormant, say late December, and graft in place in the spring.

My thoughts are to let them settle over winter as I know there is a small amount of root growth that still takes place, especially in this mild climate.

For the others should I take them out of the ground once dormant and move them to grow bags, graft in spring, then transplant once they have taken and are growing well?

Or I can keep them in the grow bags all next years growing season and transplant in the fall. In this scenario I’d have to tend to them a lot more for moisture control though.

Reading online many talk about moving newly grafted rootstock to the shade and a certain temperature range. If I’ve moved them to a grow bag in winter, I can certainly move them out of direct sun once grafted. I do not however have any control over the temperature they are kept at for those few weeks. It could be in the 80’s or 60’s in the day at that time of year.

Hope that spells out what I’m asking about clearly.


Especially with pear, I would plant now, field graft in the spring.


Your growing conditions differ so widely from mine, I would be inclined to plant them soon to take advantage of whatever dormancy they experience, possibly even trigger dormancy.

Remember: do the work, take notes, let plant life teach you. May you prosper.


Thanks @NuttingBumpus, @Masbustelo

Good thought that the fact it is transplanted could trigger dormancy early.

I just needed to go ahead and make my decisions on what stays and what goes in my yard, then pick my locations for new trees.

PS Down here it’s not unusual for some deciduous trees to not loose all of their leaves until the new growth in spring pushes them off the tree. What is dormancy exactly if the leaves are still on the tree. Obviously no new growth at least.

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I dug up and transplanted 2 wild callery pear saplings early January… and grafted scions to them late February… (they were budding, small leaves coming on).

Both have been great success.


So I transplanted one of my Rootpac-R with Desert Peach grafted on it into its final home (why do I want to call it it’s forever home? That’s for pets right?).

I moved it from a raised bed with loose soil and watered it in. It had a lot of root growth outside the permeable sleeve it came in. A few days later I got about 1.5 inches of rain over 3 days ending today.

No transplant shock at all. I was worried moving it with so much new growth would be a bad idea. I was assured by the nursery it would be fine and it was.

Notice how many rootstock shoots it has. I’m happy with that as I will remove the peach and graft something else come spring. All the sprouts show it’s a healthy rootstock.

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Moves the other 5 Rootpac-R trees to their final spots. I moved one to the worst part of my backyard that has standing water for several hours during / after heavy rains… Will be a good test.

Using a raised bed with loose soil before moving them did great for developing roots on them. See photo.

This is after 52 days from planting. I’ve included a photo of how I received them.


I also moved my first leaf mulberry and persimmon to new locations.

Happily after seeing young growth droop upon moving, all 7 trees perked up by this morning so I know the roots are doing their thing.

I still have 3 Julien A and a few OHxF87 to move… Will wait a bit longer for them.


Moved the 3 Julien A to my little plum espalier area. Hope my grafts take next year and catch up with the two small trees that survived this year.

Moved 2 OHxF87 to their final location for espalier.

Forecast for this week is highs in the upper 50’s to mid 60’s with lows in the 40’s. Hopefully that’s cool enough for them not to push new growth and warm enough for the roots to get active and grow through the fall.

During the heat of the summer I accidentally disturbed one of the small OHxF87. I moved it a few feet. Within 2 days the leaves turned completely black and dropped off. It leafed out again no problem.

I wonder this far into fall if they will show transplant shock.

This past year was my first trying grafting into branches of existing trees. This coming year will be my first grafting to a rootstock.

It’s quite exciting.


So as mentioned on a previous unplanned moving of a OHxF87 rootstock, the two I moved 2 days ago also are showing the same transplant shock.

Leaves turning black and will drop. At this time of year it’s probably not a big issue, unless it tries to put on new growth.

Has anyone else aren’t this behavior for this rootstock? I would assume it’s not unusual.

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My very small Belgian fence espalier. The two trees on the right are Santa Rosa and Yellow Gold. They lived and grew most of the way on the trained form I’m their first growing season.

The other 3 trees never broke dormancy and died (Tyty). I grew out 3 Julien A to graft these 3 replacements. Transplanted the rootstock a few days ago and they seem to be OK and mostly dormant if not quite losing their leaves yet.

Excited to be grafting in spring to fill out this Japanese plum espalier.

I’m thinking of Satsuma Improved, Burgundy, and Laroda for the final 3.

The form is only 8 feet wide and 7.5 feet tall. Next time I do a multiple tree espalier I will do a much longer one.

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