Will Fertilizing Older Trees Help New Grafts?

I made a number of European Pear grafts this past year on some Callery trees.These are probably at least twenty years old.The grafts were done on some similar diameter branches that were low enough to be joined,by standing on the ground.
Several of the grafts were successful,but most only grew about six inches or less,with some just putting out a few leaves.Maybe these trees have reached an age where vigor is slowing.
I’ve never seen these trees get fertilizer in ten years. Brady

Brady, How did your grafts do this Season? I made some similar grafts on a large old seedling pear in the spring with similar results. I’m hoping they’ll grow more next year.

Lack of growth could be because of apical domenence.
If you grafted only on to lower branches whith out cutting back the top ,it wants to grow out at the top.not on low branches.
Try grafting on the top and or all branches,equally.
Grafts on larger trees don’t want to grow,in that they would rather grow somewhere other than the graft.
You have to convince that tree it only has one option .grow at the graft or nowhere .

It is a lot easier to graft a new seedling once ,than top work an old tree.
So consider starting a new tree ,and let the old be.
As for fertilizing ;
I like to fertilize the year befor grafting if possible .then they jump.
Be careful fertilizing pear ,as you can kill it from fireblight, too much nitrogen.
Good luck


Also making a single cut in the trunk with a knife ,just above the branches you grafted can help force them out.


I think Hillbillyhort summed it up really well.Not a lot of growth,with the tops growing to the sky.Brady

It will be interesting to see how our grafts do down the road. Since the tree I grafted onto is a branchy 35 ft tall grafting at the top wasn’t very practical! But I had extra scions so wanted to see if I could get them going lower down. I plan to trim out more branches around them as they grow.

1 Like