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Ordering Apple Rootstock

 
Chris Barnes
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When ordering rootstock, what is a good strategy for selecting the appropriate dimensions for root stock for grafting? It appears that 1/4" and 3/8" are the most common sizes required for grafting. Without measuring each scion stick, how should I know how many of each size that I need to get? Are there any rules of thumb or do I need to order extra of each size to cover my bases?

Thanks

Chris
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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I've always just gone with 1/4 inch. Many people sending scion wood will try to get "pencils" of wood, and pencils are a quarter of an inch in diameter. Additionally, 1/4" offers a bit of flexibility since if you get appropriate sized scions you can do a saddle graft or a whip&tongue graft, and if you can only get thin diameter twigs of a variety you are looking for you can use a cleft graft into the 1/4" rootstock.

In terms of how much to get, rootstock is one of those things where you can really see the economies of scale. For example, if you were to order 30 M111 apple rootstock from Fedco it will cost you $87 plus shipping. At the same time, if you order 100 M111 apple rootstock from Copenhaven Farms it will cost you $97 plus shipping. With that in mind, I would suggest ordering based on the area you wish to fill,* and there are worse things in life than having to give trees away to your friends and neighbors if you order too many.

**One caveat to that would be if you are ordering pear rootstock and will be growing them in a nursery area for a year or two before planting them, order 50% more than what it will take to fill the area you want filled. I've had terrible luck with pear rootstock.
 
Eric Thompson
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Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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Agree with John that 1/4" is probably the best size - small enough to match up but big enough for stability. I've had good success with 3/16" also but it's a little tougher. 3/8" is great for budding, but not whip or saddle grafts (cleft is ok).

Stick to getting the largest 1st year growth scion wood - and get more than you need so you can trade some too!
 
Chris Barnes
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Thanks for getting back to me. One more dumb question: Can I graft crab apples on to the typical apple rootstocks (e.g., M26, M111, etc)?

Chris
 
John Wolfram
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Chris Barnes wrote:Thanks for getting back to me. One more dumb question: Can I graft crab apples on to the typical apple rootstocks (e.g., M26, M111, etc)? Chris

Yes, you can. In general, as long as the tree is the same genus (think back to science class, genus-species) then you can usually graft the two together. For example, almonds, apricots, nectarines, plums, and peaches are all in the genus Prunus, so with a bit of luck you could graft all those onto a single tree. Even if you graft onto a different genus, sometimes the graft will survive for a little while. Here is a video of an apple branch grafted onto a pear.


 
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