What's your favorite graft for larger rootstock?

A picture or diagram would be nice.

Basically I have two rootstocks from last year whose scion didn’t take. They are at least half an inch thick. I figure I’ll give them another try and play with doing a different grafting technique.

I would use ether a whip and tongue, modified whip and tongue side graft, if scion diameter is much smaller, cleft, or a z graft if there is a big difference in diameter. Also consider a couple chip buds below your top graft as an additional chance of success should the top fail. Each of these would provide a strong union.
Kent wa

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What kind of rootstock are they that determines the method for me.

I had some rather small diameter black limbertwig scions and whacked off a branch on my crab apple about 1/2" and did a bark graft to it. It worked well… buds are swelling.

If you had 1/4 inch scions… probably not working. Mine were pretty small.

I have had very good luck this year with modified cleft grafts on apples, cherries, pears, goumi.
If your scion is just a bit smaller than your rootstock that works pretty good.

And yes whip/toung will work when the diameters don’t match… you just have to line up one side only.

Good Luck !

The rootstock is baccata. I already figure I would try at least two pieces of scion per rootstock to double my chances, there should be enough space there for them.


Modified cleft on goumi.


You have embraced grafting full throttle. Congratulations to you on all your successes!


Less than about 1 inch a cleft with two scions works; last year I did that and then, just for the heck of it, stuck a bark graft on the side. Everything took. You could also just do bark grafts (two or three to the stock). You only need one to take permanently, but the extras help callous form on the rest of the stock.


In these situations, I just do normal cleft graft and align the cambium on one side and the success rate is no different than same size rootstock and scion. That’s why I am not sure what the modified cleft adds except that choosing where to cut the rootstock and doing it can be tricky (compared to splitting in the middle for the regular cleft)


Unfortunately i’m not familiar with baccata.

Siberian crab, probably hardiest rootstock known to man, not compatible with all apples. A favorite in Fairbanks and their -50f winters.


I do regular cleft grafts anytime rootstock is bigger than scion. I like to keep it simple

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Actually i am familiar with that. Thanks for explaining. Why dont you try a cleft graft like i use on pears? Top working Callery Pears weather permitting .what will you cleft graft on there?

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I cleft everything that can be clefted. It’s a much sturdier graft.


@californicus … i have not tried a regular cleft graft yet… but have found the modified cleft very easy to do, simple and it works great. 100% so far this year.

If you can cut a whip toung… mod cleft is much easier.

Probably just what you get used to.


The pic of the modified cleft that @TNHunter posted has worked well for me and would be my choice on this case.

One advantage for modified cleft that i see is that the cuts you have to make are all quite simple.

On the scion you really just make a whip type bevel cut on one side … and then flip it over and take a small amount off the tip on the other side.

On the rootstock again a very simple cut … a straight down type cut…near the edge… long enough to accept your scion.

I dont see this being any more difficult than splitting it down the middle. Just take your time and rock it down slowly.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how quick the scion springs to life… buds swelling, shoots and leaves… with mod cleft.

On average seeing quicker response than with W/T here.

This guy shows cleft and modified cleft and results. Modified cleft is quick and easy. Cleft requires more time and attention to get the scion cut just right… you have to bevel cut the scion on both sides and take off enough to get it quite thin.

Not all that difficult… but a little more difficult than the scion cut with mod cleft.

He favors mod cleft when the scion is smaller than the rootstock. This video inspired me to try modified cleft this spring… and glad i did.

Good luck to all.


I’ve actually had a lot of success this year doing a cleft with the scion inserted at a slight diagonal so the scion cambium makes a point of contact on both sides of the rootstock cambium. I’ll get a picture later.


@Evenfall … i would like to see that.

Sounds like that might work well if the scion and rootstock are similar in size but not a perfect match.

Perhaps even if rootstock is 2x that of the scion.

Below i scetched out what a 1/2 inch rootstock with 1/4 inch scion might look like.

You might be doing that a little different.

Nailed it, but I haven’t been sticking out as much on the bottom. So it should have 4 points of contact with the cambium. I dislike a regular cleft because I sometimes move it out of alignment when I wrap it. It’s hard to see on a wrapped graft so I’ll take a mock up picture later. I have a limited sample set so far, but the take rate has been much higher than any other methods I’ve been using. I think it’s 6 of 7 vs 0 out of 5 for all other methods this year.