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Joined: Wed May 06, 2015 9:30 pm
Location: Sacramento, Zone 9b

Fruit Tree Cuttings

Most, if not all fruit trees (bare root or potted), comes grafted on root stock of a different variety/cultivar. My question is not why, as the positives are well known. However, I do wonder a couple of things about its role after planting.

I no longer have this issue since I learned to plant much higher, but in the past when planting bare root trees, I planted them somewhat close to the graft point. Over the course of the year, the plant hole settled causing the "hole" to cave in and as a result, soil in some cases now fully cover the graft point. The tree grows just fine, but has developed roots at the graft point and/or above it. So in other words, roots come from both the roots stock and the graft. What is the result of this? The root stock no longer provides the benefits? Will it grow/produce differently?

When taking cuttings from these trees, the resulting tree will be on its own without the benefit of the root stock. Is this a bad idea or not? I mean, a bare root cherry tree costs around $50. I have no desire to fill out my orchard with purchased trees every year and want to instead use the existing trees to do it for me by using cuttings. Sure it takes a bit longer, but it's free and I get the type of tree I want (minus the root stock). Or can I get the trees the root stock is based on for much cheaper and then do the graft myself?

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Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 11:11 am
Location: Sussex. England

Re: Fruit Tree Cuttings

Hi Mocky,
On your first point.
As you say...once the graft Union is in the soil and roots start to grow from the stock above it, the root stock ceases to control the tree. As a result any dwarfing effects that the root stock may have had lost. Also, any virus and soil pathogens, like Collar Rot for instance, will have access to the tree where once the root stock would have acted as a barrier.

On your second point.
As I’ve said above, the root stock does many things. It’s grown specially virus free. This then acts as a buffer against many soil born pathogens that could attack your tree. It also controls the height and growth rates of your tree....and in triploid varieties this can be very helpful as they can grow rather than crop if left to their own devises. Finally, if you planted an orchard all on their own roots, you would have very little control as to their finishing sizes. An orchard of trees that consisted of large, tall, small, wide, narrow, slow growing, fast growing trees would be a nightmare to control or to get regular crop from.
So, you can grow trees on their own roots successfully, but you must be aware of the problems that can arise from doing so.
Finally ...any good nursery can sell you root stocks to do your own grafting.
Modern stock beds are all checked regularly for virus and to ensure they are all growing true to mother trees.
Good luck.

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Posts: 1897
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

Re: Fruit Tree Cuttings

The better option , as John noted, is buying rootstock (considerably cheaper than buying grafted trees) and grafting more trees yourself. You can even buy scion wood for many varieties if you want a tree of something you don't already have.

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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Fruit Tree Cuttings

If you live in California, there is a new law that requires growers and hobbyists to use disease free budwood and trees cannot be transported from place to place because Huangbunglong, citrus greening disease is now in California and spreading. The link below is a video on how to get disease free scions. ... trus-trees
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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