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I improperly planted my Medlar tree - how to bury the graft?  RSS feed

 
Posts: 8
Location: Barrie, Ontario
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Who knew!

Apparently, you need to bury the graft of a Medlar tree to let it form its own roots. The union between the rootstock (I think they used hawthorn for mine) will not last forever, and as the tree grows will become a bigger issue. I can't find much information on this, other than the constant advice: bury the graft.

The tree is performing very well, and I'm surprised that for the first year in the ground it will give us a few fruit. Here are my options:

1: Build up the soil around the tree by four inches or so. The mound would drain quickly I think, making any resulting roots susceptible to drought.

2: Now, middle of summer, dig out the roots and bury them. The ground might be softer and the roots less developed than later in the year, but greater shock to the plant.

3: After leaf fall in autumn, dig out the tree and bury it deeper.

4: Spring of next year, while dormant, dig out and bury the tree deeper.

5: Leave as is, it'll be fine...


I have a feeling I know what people will say, but I'm new to this and I don't have all the information. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. :)
 
pollinator
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Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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That could be true, but I’ve never heard it before. I have two grafted medlars that are about six years old. They’re doing great so far.

Without more information about it being necessary to bury the graft, I’d leave it alone.

If it does need to be buried, I’d build it up at least 8 inches.  If the graft is just barely underground, it might not root anytime soon. It might not stay moist enough. If it roots above the graft, I think the original roots should keep it going until the new roots are deep enough to stand some dry weather.  I’m just speculating though. I haven’t heard of this being done.
 
gardener
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This is from GardenFocused

If you grow a medlar tree on its own roots it will grow to about 7m / 23ft tall and about the same width. This is too large for most gardens so all medlar trees sold in the UK are grafted onto dwarfing rootstock. The rootstock is the lower part of the tree and will be dwarfing - either quince or hawthorn. The upper part of the tree is a medlar. The rootstock will be responsible to a large degree for the overall size of the tree. Normally, grafted medlar trees grow to a height of 3m / 10ft and a width of 4m / 13ft, a very nice size for many gardens.



So you have a grafted tree, and found some highly suspect information, that you seem to believe is correct (the internet is full of misinformation).

The low down on grafted trees is;
Grafted trees, no matter what family, genus, species are grafted for some reason, usually to restrict size or increase disease resistance.

The graft is never buried because, as you mentioned, the scion will grow roots and that does away with the rootstock.

If you didn't want the properties of the root stock, why buy a grafted tree in the first place?

So if you want a big tree, the medlar is a rather large fruit tree (related to the pears) when grown on its own roots. "Medlar is known for its tree habit and growing to a height of approximately 7.00 meters (22.75 feet). This plant tends to bloom in late spring."

Be aware that if you go ahead as you plan and bury the root stock, the tree will grow to around 22 feet tall and 15 feet wide.
The hawthorn root stock was used to keep the tree at around 4 meters tall.

By the way, hawthorn trees are known to grow for well over 100 years.

Redhawk
 
Don Komarechka
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Location: Barrie, Ontario
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Thanks for the feedback so far, guys!

I bought the tree from Whiffletree Farm & Nursery out of Elora, Ontario. Right below their Medlar selections in their catalog it reads:

"They should be planted with the graft union several inches below the soil level to allow the scion to form its own roots"

From North Coast Gardening ( http://northcoastgardening.com/2016/01/growing-medlars/ ):

"Due to the slow growth of own-rooted medlar trees, a cultivated variety is often grafted on a compatible rootstock— pear, quince A, or hawthorn. Graft incompatibility is not uncommon. To avoid sudden breakage, this is one tree where planting the graft union below the soil is recommended." ... and then they immediate contradict themselves in the following sentences: "This will eventually encourage own rooting and will sustain the mature tree. For small garden spaces, Quince A in particular is often chosen to create a dwarf tree." - wouldn't stay dwarf on it's own roots!

Home Orchard Society ( http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/growfruit/trees/persimmons-medlar/ ) has this to say:

"Medlar differs from other fruit trees in the way it is planted. For most fruit trees, it is recommended that you make sure the graft union stays well above the soil line. Medlar is the opposite. The union between the medlar and the rootstock is weak. Once the new graft has healed, plant your tree with the graft union below the soil line. Both the rootstock and the medlar will root and provide good support for the tree."


Many people seem to be of the opinion that the union between the rootstock and the Medlar is weak. The nursery I bought it from even suggests burying the graft. Hmm.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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There isn't any reason to not bury the graft, unless you don't want a full sized tree. The Medlar is such an ancient fruit tree that it can survive nicely on its own roots.
It seems from your information that location on the planet has a lot to do with the way they are treated.

Holland recommends keeping the graft above ground, and this sentiment abounds in Europe and England. (gardens aren't usually large spaces)
Here in the states it is an either or recommendation.
Australia seems to be similar to the US sentiments.

I'd just decide how big a tree I could have and use that for making the decision.

Odds are that up in Canada it is based on survival of winter that was the deciding factor.
One of our daughters has one in her front yard that has the graft above ground, but she lives in BC where the weather is different.
If I was going to plant a medlar I'd have to let it grow on its own roots because of the donkey, who loves fruit tree leaves.

If you already have it planted with the graft above ground, just wait till leaf drop + 2 weeks then lift and replant it deeper, that way all will be good.

Graft strength is related to the root stock used. Quince is closer related and forms a nice, strong union.  Hawthorne is not as closely related so that might be a weaker union.

Redhawk
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I am wondering why these aren't just rooted straight away instead of all the trouble of grafting.
Seems like a lot of extra effort and possibly lost scion wood that could have just been rooted so it was already on own roots.
The Medlar also can be air layered with great success and in the spring it roots fairly easily. (just incase you want more than one)
 
pollinator
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Anyone have growing info for this tree? As well as uses for the fruit. I read what i could from the internet and found little/no info on where it grows.

I was intrigued by the november fruit. It reminds me of persimmons. Except for the rotting nature of medlars.

I am debating on whether to plant some trees in 8a Central Tx or add more persimmons instead.

Any real life comparisons would be appreciated.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Ok Wayne, the tree grows in USDA zones 4-9 has a growth pattern similar to the Saskatoon or Service Berry.
The tree blooms in spring with fruits coming ripe in fall (most times it is fairly late fall).
Medlars can be stored if picked while still hard, once they turn brown they are ripe and will last a week perhaps two.

My pallet describes the flavor as citrus/ baked apple

Need more of a description?

Redhaw
 
wayne fajkus
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Thanks.  Its amazing how many "new to me" fruit trees there are. Every year i think I've planted the last type, then something new comes along. I'll give it a try. This past year was jujube and paw paw. Thought i was done. Lol
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Long ago I kept a list, when it go so long I realized I'd have to own over 300 acres just to grow everything on that list, I stopped adding to it.
Wolf found that list a few years ago and it turned to ashes, I do thank her for that.
 
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