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Grafting onto Bradford (Callery) Pear

 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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I have recently identified some wild Bradford pear trees on my property. I am going to guess that these are in the neighborhood of 3-5 years old. I found that they have some pretty terrible thorns on them so I was ready to replace them especially when I found that my local extension listed them as invasive. I started thinking that grafting these with some fruiting pear varieties may be a great option. Do any of you have any experience turning a Bradford pear into a useful tree? These trees will need to be thinned a bit either way but I am sure I can get at least 4 useful trees out of them. The main trunks are about 2 inches in diameter. I think that a cleft graft may be best but a rind graft may give better cambium contact. I am going to thin the trees this year and trim them up. Next March I will do the grafting. If any of you have any tips, I would love to hear them.

Thorns









I also have several other roughly 2 year old Bradford pears scattered in fence rows ect. that may be good candidates for grafting.
 
Ann Torrence
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If you can find source material, you might try bud grafting this summer. Then if it doesn't work, you can always do the other style graft next winter. The hard part is getting the bud wood. I haven't seen anyone offering it for sale or trade, but you can ask around.

But a quick google search yielded this caution that the Bradford pear is not that sturdy a tree under heavy fruit loads. Worth practicing on, but I might not count on it as a long-term producer.


 
Peter Hartman
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I have a small Bartlett and Starking Delicious tree that I can pull a couple scions from this winter. I am going to see if I can find a few more disease resistant verities though.

Thanks for the link, I have seen many junk pear trees split from the main for all the way down the trunk. I am hoping that cutting right at the main trunk and letting the fruiting pear go straight and then branch off that I can eliminate the splitting though. I would basically just use the Bartlett pear for it's established root stock.
 
Alder Burns
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When I lived in Georgia some years ago I started a bunch of Bradford seedlings and grafted Asian pears onto them. Rootstock sprouts were pretty persistent, but the grafts that did take did well provided I kept ahead of the sprouts.....
 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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Alright, I attempted my first bud graft.
image.jpg
[Thumbnail for image.jpg]
 
Peter Hartman
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Alright, another day and my bud graft is still hanging in there.

 
Jay Hayes
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Location: Missouri
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Peter,

I too live in Missouri, and I too found a good sized pile of wild Bradford pears growing in some fence rows on the farm last year. Just prior to the buds popping last spring I cut the trees off about 6 inches above ground then dug up a big chunk of roots on 6 of them and transplanted them to an orchard site I have going. I then cleft grafted on European varieties of pears (I believe Bradford pear has European origins so Asian varieties will not be compatible) I had acquired, I had about 60 % success on the grafts (mostly due to inexperience I would guess). My grafts all sprouted again this spring and seem to be taking off nicely. The trees I dug up ranged from 1-2 inches in diameter where I cut them off.

The best thing is all 6 trees I dug up last year are sprouting from the roots in the fence rows again, so I plan on digging up more roots this fall and transplanting them too. Now that I am looking I notice volunteer bradford pears in many parks and roadsides around town. It seems that a huge quantity of decent root stock is free for the taking.

Hope your graft keeps on keeping on. Please post anymore successes you have with this.

I just read Alder Burns comment about grafting Asian pears onto Bradford roots. I defer to his experience, it is greater than mine in this realm.

J
 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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Hey Jay, I am not sure where you are at but I agree I am seeing bradford pears everywhere now that I am looking for them. Unfortunately I am not sure that this graft is going to make it. The leaf is turning black, I am not sure what that means, but I know it can't be good. It was a fat chance anyways. I think a cleft graft is much more likely to take. I would love to see some pictures of your grafts.

 
Michael Qulek
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Peter Hartman wrote: Unfortunately I am not sure that this graft is going to make it. The leaf is turning black, I am not sure what that means, but I know it can't be good.
You tried grafting a scion that has leaves (leaf) on it? That's a big mistake. Anything with leaves will dry out overnight because the leaf is a natural dehydrating panel. That's how leaves function. I've grafted pears successfully, both european and asian onto Anjou rootstock, and got sucess, but that was always with dormant winter stock. Don't give up though. Just wait till the winter, and graft again just before spring for your local area. I've gotten named varieties off of neighbors overhanging trees, Home Depot trees, and bareroot mailorder trees. Just make sure you start with completely dormant scions, that have no hint yet of budbreak.
 
Peter Hartman
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I meant to update this a long time ago, You were right that graft failed miserably.

I did find a fruiting pear tree though and collected many scions from it. It was at an elderly ladies house. She said it produces to much fruit and she does not spray it. I have no idea what variety it is but I will keep an eye on it. I checked on it this week and it is done flowering and looks like it has set fruit.

I grafted about 10 trees with the scions a month ago. The scions had almost flowered in my fridge and those turned brown after about a week. There is little sign of growth on any of them yet. Most of the buds are brown and don't seem to be doing much. I do have one that has me hopeful though.





and this is the bud that has a hint of green on it.



I have about 15 more trees that I will do next year if this is successful. Most of those trees are on the small side. They have been brush hogged an unknown number of times. They are about 1" in diameter.
 
Patrick Mann
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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If you post some photos of the grafts before wrapping we might be able to give some helpful advice.
Personally, I trim scions down to 2-3 buds only. Be sure to seal the tip of the scion (if it's cut) to prevent drying.
 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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Patrick Mann wrote:If you post some photos of the grafts before wrapping we might be able to give some helpful advice.
Personally, I trim scions down to 2-3 buds only. Be sure to seal the tip of the scion (if it's cut) to prevent drying.


Thanks for the tip. I have put a dab of wax on most of the cut scions.

I think I have about 30% that look like they have taken so far. I unfortunately do not have a picture before I wrapped them. I was a sticky mess so I couldn't grab a camera.

The most success seems to be my bark grafts. My cleft grafts are definitely taking longer, but the scions are still pliable so I have hope that they will make it.

Can you give me any advice on leaving 2 scions if they both take?





 
Peter Hartman
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Location: springfield, MO
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It looks like I am up to about 80% of my grafts have taken, or at least appear to have taken. The root stocks (I guess that is what they are?) have shot up tons of sprouts. Several look like small bushes. Should I trim all or some of those off so more energy is diverted to graft?
 
Peter Hartman
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Here is a July update:

 
Bill Erickson
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Peter, it is generally a good idea to remove all sucker sprouts from the root stock as they occur. That way the scions get all the feeding and not the suckers.
 
Peter Hartman
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Alright. I will get everything trimmed up this week. I expected quite vigorous growth but these trees have surpassed my expectations. It is pretty exciting. I am hunting options for scion wood for next spring now. Can some one chime in when would be the best time to Remove the grafting tape and should I leave the wax?
 
Suzy Krone
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These trees came about as a result of the USDA trying to create a fire blight resistant pear tree.
Interesting, my property is infested with them. They grow real aggressive here. 10 per square foot. They are impossible to get rid of. They grow a 5" cork screw tap root before it makes a sprout so when you try to pull it out you just top it and it comes back. It sprouts from stumps and root systems too.
If I could do grafting, that would atlas give me an option. They are hard to deal with, pruning can be painful and dangerous, and if you don't deal with the limbs right away, you basically have sharp thorny limbs you could step on (and I have) lying on the ground.
Oh god do I hate them.
It's amazing how readily they sprout. They sprout in my yard and garden and my fields of course. Atleast privet can be pulled up relatively easily. I'm guessing bradford will be seen as more of an issue pretty soon, since it can displace entire acres and become 99% bradfords with a few native plants struggling inside to out grow them.
My own observations on my land is that Sweetgum, pine, and persimmon seem to grow fast enough to out pace them, so if you can keep them down or in check and let the native trees grow, they should hopefully establish a forrest where the bradford can't take over. Like in the older forests on my land, no bradford or invasive plants. It's only in disturbed cleared areas does this invasive plant stuff become an issue.
I'm so nerdy.
 
Peter Hartman
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Suzy Krone wrote:These trees came about as a result of the USDA trying to create a fire blight resistant pear tree.
Interesting, my property is infested with them. They grow real aggressive here. 10 per square foot. They are impossible to get rid of. They grow a 5" cork screw tap root before it makes a sprout so when you try to pull it out you just top it and it comes back. It sprouts from stumps and root systems too.
If I could do grafting, that would atlas give me an option. They are hard to deal with, pruning can be painful and dangerous, and if you don't deal with the limbs right away, you basically have sharp thorny limbs you could step on (and I have) lying on the ground.
Oh god do I hate them.
It's amazing how readily they sprout. They sprout in my yard and garden and my fields of course. Atleast privet can be pulled up relatively easily. I'm guessing bradford will be seen as more of an issue pretty soon, since it can displace entire acres and become 99% bradfords with a few native plants struggling inside to out grow them.
My own observations on my land is that Sweetgum, pine, and persimmon seem to grow fast enough to out pace them, so if you can keep them down or in check and let the native trees grow, they should hopefully establish a forrest where the bradford can't take over. Like in the older forests on my land, no bradford or invasive plants. It's only in disturbed cleared areas does this invasive plant stuff become an issue.
I'm so nerdy.


I am not sure where you are at but we have the same issue with them in the ozarks. I grafted a few more this spring and I hope to have the rest done next spring. Now that I have my own source of scion wood I think I will take up some gorilla grafting.
 
Ken W Wilson
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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Anyone know if those feral, callery pears can pollinate European pears. I planted a European pear near my neighbor's callery. My pear is supposed to be self pollinating, but more pollination must be better.

I guess I need to check my property more closely. I hadn't thought of grafting on them. I haven't noticed any on my side but wasn't really looking.

I'm in MO too.  Guess we have a pear outbreak.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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