Two-in-one graft

I was thinking about the easiest/cheapest way to make and grow a single apple/pear/etc tree. For pollination you would need two varieties. But suppose you were cheap and only wanted to use one root, and wanted to do spring grafting, not budding. How about the following:

Hopefully the picture is clear - the idea is a double wedge graft.

Good? Bad? Ugly?

An alternative way to do it would be to do a cleft graft but make the scion wedges half as thick (taper them to achieve this), and just smoosh them both into the single cleft in the stock.


Scott I thought I had tried all the unusual graft styles. Now this will bug me until I give it a try. Going to look through my leftover scions right now. Bill

I’d worry about the two scions getting pulled apart by the green growth in that pic. Nothing holding them together. Unless you tie them up.

bark-grafting is my method of choice for multi-in-one’s using leftover scions and onto wayward stock. Am sure everyone here ends up with extra sub-prime scions in dubious conditions, but like me, wouldn’t want to throw them away. Here is a 7 in 1 which seems to have poor/failed takes, except for one which is now sprouting. 1 in 7 is still much better than 0 out of 7-- had i decided to just toss them into the compost pit, haha


The only thing that would concern me would be the strength of two branches coming off the rootstock at the same union at such a steep angle. Usually, if we see branching like this in a tree, we prune that out, as the crotch will eventually split. How would you plan on making the angle of the crotch at the graft union less acute?

Patty S.


Would grafting once, and then a grafting a few years later onto a lateral be out of the question? I know it would give something like the same result as budding, but it would work.

Or are you looking for a double trunk two tree type deal?

OR you might even be able to try an interstem type thing where you let a tree grow up enough to have its first laterals, then topwork that leaving the laterals of the initial cultivar.

Actually, you might be able to graft those two together into a single trunk (think about when you have a branch crossing and getting pinched. it eventually gets absorbed by the other branch). I’d think if you could slit a bit of the cambium and then wrap the two together it might work. You can do it for a bridge graft when a tree is girdled, so I’d think it would be the same concept… but using two small trunks instead of one big trunk and a bunch of small cuttings.

Lots of stuff to try!

The only problem I’d see, potentially, would be what hoosierquilt said about the angles.

That’s a neat idea! I think I would prefer a cleft because, as bleedingdirt says, the scions might not adhere well enough -but they might, and if a person has rootstock and scions and space why not?

If you didn’t need it to all come together in one season you do cleft or whip and tongue sequentially. Do one variety each year, each right on top the the previous year’s.

wasn’t sure if you were referring to my post, but at any rate-- one way of offsetting the mechanical disadvantages of multi prongs is to use very tiny/thinnest/shortest scions.
(which obviously didn’t do on all the grafts since wasn’t expecting much from the ‘just-for-kicks’ project)

I was replying to Scott’s original post, but looks like I didn’t attach my reply to his post, sorry.

Patty S.

Scott. I got some Ayers pear scions this year and then realized that an established quince tree was the place I had remaining to graft them.

Believing that Ayers is not graft-compatible with quince, I decided to use an interstem. I’ve never tried double working in one go, so as a backup I grafted a scion to a branch that already had a quince compatible pear growing on it that was grafted last year.

With a pruning for that graft I created an interstem for grafting to a quince portion of the tree.

A) Ayers grafted to existing Euro pear growing on quince.
B) Ayers and dormant piece of Euro pear grafted to each other and onto the quince in one go.

A and B both leafed out and grew.

B pushed and grew buds from both the interstem and Ayers. I rubbed off the interstem buds.

But If I’d wanted, I could have allowed buds from both Ayers and the interstem to grow.

Okay, that was a round-about explanation, but the bottom line is you could double work your rootstock with two varieties in series, all in one go.

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I think conventional wisdom with clefts says to cut the least vigorous one the following year, close to the graft, so the live tissue will help set the scar but it won’t form a tree with very weak trunk angles. I have no idea if that’s true, but I’ve seen it mentioned a few places before. In this case too I would be a bit curious if the angles created any problem.

That said, it isn’t an automatic problem in side grafting or budding…

If you try that you might want to enhance it by including an approach graft between the two scion. Remove some bark from the two scion and hold them tight together above the rootstock graft. That might add some strength.

Thanks for all the feedback!

They should be as secure as either half, assuming the graft is good.

The scions should send out shoots which you can put at good angles. Once the tree is big these little scions will look like a blip. Or so is the hope… it does concern me a bit and probably would be a good idea to add the approach graft danzeb mentions below.

I was thinking about that but got concerned the bottom one would not leaf out since it is not dominant. But it is the closest to the stock and as you saw they both could grow. So this looks like a pretty good option as well. I have done this one-shot interstem and they always did well.

Thats probably a good idea in any case, if one scion did not take as the base it could “feed” off the other one (like the one-shot interstem murky mentioned). Another variation is split the two scions down the middle all the way - you would not even notice it was two scions.

Now, to make it bit interesting, why not whip and tongue each scion?! :grin:

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I’ve had it work the two times I did it as well. A magness interstem on quince to allow a non-quince-compatible euro pear to grow. Both the target pear and magness leafed out. I’m not sure that this will work as well with other types of trees- after all, pears seem the easiest to graft.

I do this all the time- whenever the rootstock (or branch) is too big for the scions, I just use two. Though I’ve always used the same variety. Sometimes, if the scions are both 70% as big as the rootstock, they each need to be shaved down on one side to fit the inside the rootstock, with their outer cambiums in contact. But, the cambium layer in the middle isn’t really doing anything, so it is no loss.

It is a trickier question when each is only 30%. Then there will be a hole in the middle (I’ve tried filling it with wax), which also means that they are less stable in the graft. Eventually, assuming both take, I have to decide which one to chop back and make into a small spur.

I have also done the two per cleft many times. Above I was assuming the stock was a standard bulk rootstock, i.e. very small and so 2 would not fit next to each other. The way I was proposing was to put them on top of each other so each scion has one side to stock and the other side to the other scion. The wedges would have to be extra thin. I can draw a picture if its not making sense.

I believe in one of his videos @skillcult explains that he did something like 6 interstems between the rootstock and the scion of interest and had good results.

I see what you are suggesting, but think it would be harder than a double cleft graft. With a double cleft, at least there is something holding the scion in place. With a saddle graft (as Stephen Hayes would call it) that has been split in two, it doesn’t seem like there would be much to lock in place while you tie it together. I’m pretty sure someone could do it, but I have doubts that I would be that person. I can picture it falling apart, just as I start to tie it up.

Even if the rootstock isn’t too thick, I’ve often received tiny wood where you could still fit two of them into a 1/4" rootstock. Or, using better wood, just cut as much as you need off the scion for it to reach the half-way point in the rootstock.

6>? why would one need to use so many? I’ll have to find that video.

I think he did it because he is curious, I applaud that. Sometimes you just have to do the quick and dirty experiment and see what the results are.

Its somewhere in the 3 interstem videos. Grafting — SkillCult