What to trim on my bench grafts?

Below is a picture (a bit out of focus, sorry) of what a lot of my bench grafts are starting to look like. This particular one is an interstem of M27 on M111 rootstock with Chestnut Crab scion.

I’ve been pinching buds off the interstem and rootstock of all my grafts since the beginning, but have left all growth on the scion so far. I left most of my scions with 3-4 buds each and most buds are growing. As you can see in this one, the longest shoot is often not at the top. Since I understand my goal for the first year of growth to be a single whip, I know I should concentrate the trees energy into one shoot at some point. Do I do that now? And if so should I pick one of the lower shoots if they’re the longest and just prune the whole top of the scion off above that shoot?

As a possible added consideration, some of these buds had flowers and on some they are still little rossettes of leaves, not shoots, so I’m wondering if they are future fruiting spurs. My intention is to keep these as small stepover trees around other gardens, so is there any benefit to leaving some of these, or just cutting the shoots I’m getting rid of above the first couple leaves, if I really want to keep these very small and am happy to push them into fruiting mode as early as possible.

Thanks for any advice.

Here is what I would do. Chestnut crabs are one we grow in our nursery business. I would pinch the growing points off the 2 side branches,when you do the highest, most vertical branch will take off. If the tree is in its permanent location you can allow limbs to become permanent scaffolds at the heights you want. The more green leaves you have the more growth you will have. I leave temporary limbs as long as their diameter doesnt exceed 1/2 of the central leader until dormant season pruning, just personal preference.


Thanks TurkeyCreek, that is just the info I need. I had heard somewhere that you should trim away all but the one you wanted to keep, but it really seemed like that was wasting the trees energy. I think leaving as many leaves as you can makes more sense. I’ll pinch out the growing points from all the side shoots and then clean things up when they’re all dormant.

These are in a nursery bed for now. I have about 6 times more trees than I can really use, but wasn’t sure how my grafting would go, especially with the interstems. So far it looks like only one in thirty didn’t make it… oh well I’ll try to convince all my neighbors to try one in their yards as well.

Thanks TC, I needed that also. Great info.