What's your favorite graft for larger rootstock?

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.

A … gives you 2 points of cadmium contact
B … 3
C … 4

B and C get a little more wonky :wink:

Next time i graft a goumi i may try C.

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I’m doing A, there’s 2 points on each side. There’s a slight angle, depending on length of the cut and width of rootstock vs scion. I worry about the strength with an extreme angle like c, but it’s probably fine.

An oldtimer tip I picked up for clefts: when almost done tilt the top of scion slightly away from stock, thus forcing the stock and scion cambium to cross. Like a very tall, skinny X.


I often do the same if there is even a slight difference in size. I have trouble seeing the cambium line on small scions. It’s like extra insurance that the two will cross somewhere along the graft.

Your numbers only count cambium contacts on one side of the scion/rootstock connection. It happens on both sides. I don’t even even do A (unless it happens due to the length of the cuts) and with the simple cleft you still get two cambium contacts and after 100s of grafts, the success rate is well above 95%. I can also correlate the few failures to bad scion or rootstock being not vigorous. One exception is citrus - clefts just don’t work for me there but I get good success with whip and bark grafts.


@californicus … i see now…

C - would have 8 points of contact considering both sides of the scion.

But they would all just be crossing points of contact (small points of contact)

Is that better than two long points of contact like you would have if you lined it up nicely on one side ???



More points of cambium contact is definitely useful but there are also benefits in keeping the graft union straight (reduces further damage, heals up clean, etc). The more you tilt the scion, the more crooked the graft will be. Many will heal fine over the years but it can also change the shape of the branch. That’s why I like whip and tongue in some cases over cleft.