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Buried my graft union.

Posted by daemon2525 5 (My Page) on
Wed, May 29, 13 at 11:34

This is more of a story than a question.
About 5 or 6 years ago I planted two apple trees. I planted them only because I bought a new house with a big yard and planted a little of everything.
I have since become a Novice Orchardist and have planted 12 more apples with my selection of variety and rootstock.
I learned about rootstock/graft unions, etc. The new ones are planted correctly.

I just noticed the other day that there is no visible graft union on the two original trees.. Either they never had one or more likley I planted it too deep!

Anyway they are now 11' tall and about as tall as I want them. I guess that I'll just keep pruning them?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Buried my graft union.

Sure, just top them off.

RE: Buried my graft union.

Would a graft union likely even be visible 5 to 6 years after planting (and possibly another 2 or 3 years after grafting)? I wouldn't expect it to be, but I don't have a lot of experience.

RE: Buried my graft union.

Depends on species, variety, rootstock vigor/scion vigor, etc.

With some, there's a very distinct difference in bark character, between rootstock and scion, so you could still easily pick out the union 100 years later.
Most of the original apples I planted here, nearly 20 years ago, are on combo M111/M9 rootstock - with some varieties, there is a very significant difference in diameter between rootstock and scion variety, so there's no question about where the union is.

daemon - there's nothing magical about any particular rootstock, such that they just 'stop growing any taller' once they reach 8-10-12 ft - or whatever was printed on the nursery tag. They keep growing until they die - and ultimately YOU are in control of how tall they may become. Prune.

RE: Buried my graft union.

Rootstock "should" stop a tree from getting larger then it would on its own roots, however as lucky stated that does not mean they just "stop". They may slow down and may not reach the 30 or 40 feet as they would on their own roots, but they will just keep on growing (on semi dwarf rootstock that is, id have to assume on the actual dwarf rootstock, they dont get too much bigger then 6 or 10 feet if just left alone - the principle is the same IMO )

Its funny too, I asked my neighbor about planting my Toka Plum and the year before the apple. He stressed over and over again that I should plant it below the graft union. He is pretty old school, and I would have to assume he doesnt like grafted trees, but his do very, very well. His one plum is 40 years old, produces well. I think he mentioned before, that he said to do it because of the cold as well.

Rootstock will control the vigour of the tree, but its up to us to keep them pruned to the size we find acceptable. IF youre worried about size, maybe try an open center pruning so the growth is trained wide instead of tall.

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