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Grafting pyrus on....malus

August 21, 2006


By accident (and chance?), I grafted a pyrus onto a malus sylvestris rootstock. 3 were made but only one succeeded. And the tree is growing normally. I read that such experience was impossible. Perhaps it will die in the next years, but I am curious to know if such experience was made and how long the graft lived.

Would like to know if there is a compatibility between mespilus and sorbus intermedia.

Thanks for your opinion

Comments (12)

  • jellyman


    I don't think you are going to get this kind of technical advice on the fruit and orchards forum. Grafting a pear to an apple rootstock has been done many times, and I understand that the results, when they survive, are short-lived. Whether medlar is compatible with mountain ash is a question to ask of a professional horticulturalist, although I don't know why it would make any difference to anyone except as a pure experiment.

    Most of us here grow apples on apple rootstocks, and pears on pear or quince rootstocks. We grow fruit.

    Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

  • joereal

    I have winter banana apple growing vigorously on Bartlett Pear branch.

    Todate, I have the following 5 species grafted together on one tree, with 9 cultivars, which I think is going to be a very decent growing fruiting tree:

    Pyrus betulaefolia (rootstock)
    Pyrus pyrifolia (Asian pear) - should bloom next year, vigorous growth
    Pyrus communis (European pear) - should bloom next year, vigorous growth
    2 cultivars of Malus domestica (Apples) - already fruiting
    5 cultivars of Cydonia oblonga (Quinces) - all cultivars fruiting already.

    IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE! Common sense is the key. If one rootstock can accomodate all the 4 species listed above, you can naturally have 4 species in one tree.

    So if a certain rootstock can be used to graft apricots, peaches, nectarines, cherries, pluots, plums, apriums, plumcots peachcots, almonds, etc..., naturally, without even bothering with interstems, you can have all of these in one tree, perhaps as many as 12 species if you accept that the interspecific stone hybrids are different species.

    I have grafted together 36 pears into one tree. 2 dozen cherries into one tree. 2 dozen apricots, perhaps 27 persimmons, more than 48 apples into one tree. All types of blood and pigmented oranges in one tree. I only have one tree which is not multi-grafted, and I use that for wine making, that is why I need to harvest at one time to make wine in big batch.

    Todate, I have 50 citrus cultivars in one tree. But it doesn't mean I will have 50 times more yield. My total yield is the same as any ordinary tree of the same sized canopy, only the harvest dates are year round, quite manageable.

    Practically I have all major types of citrus included todate into one tree. Bergamot, Sudachis, Yuzus, limes, lemons, grapefruits, pummelos, clementines, satsumas, tangerines (clementines, satsunas and tangerines are all mandarins) navels, valencias, kumquats, limequats, mandarinquats, grapefruit x pummelo hybrids, citrons, sweet oranges, blood oranges, acidless oranges, tangelos, orangelos, and most other hybrids all on one tree. I cannot agree on which major citrus types to follow honestly, as citrus naming is now thrown into chaos after it was discovered that most major commecial types are actually complex hybrids progenies of only three citrus species. These complex hybrids are propagated true to type in nature, fooling our taxonomic forefathers into believing that we have various distinct species, but not anymore, according to genetic tests. Anyway, whatever system of categories you have chosen, I practically have them on one tree, excepting only the microcitrus genera from Australia.

    If I had just a couple acres of land, I won't bother multi-grafting, but as expensive as the city lots are, I simply have to fit 355 cultivars into 750 sq ft of soil. A couple acres of land, I could perhaps fit the entire germplasm if I don't take other time to enjoy life.

  • lucky_p

    As Joe indicated, there can be some fairly long-lived compatible combinations within the pomefruit species.
    'Winter Banana' and 'Superclone' apples are well-documented to establish good, long-lived unions with many pear selections. Likewise, 'Fertility' pear is reputed to be quite compatible with many apple varieties.
    I have both pear and quince(Cydonia) happily growing on native cockspur hawthorn(Crataegus crus-galli) understock, and understand that grafted selections of Amelanchier are often worked onto Crataegus rootstock.
    A number of years ago, I purchased a bundle of 10 seedling P.communis rootstocks, which I lined out in my orchard, and grafted them all to named varieties of pear. Most 'took', but one rootstock 'refused' to accept a pear scion - I re-grafted this one three times that first year before I finally gave up - and once I allowed the rootstock to grow, it was immediately evident that it was an apple seedling. Subsequently, two other pears in this group of young trees began to show signs of decline over the next two to seven years, with rootstock suckers providing proof that they were, indeed, seedling apples, rather than pears. All of my 'pears on apple' are now gone, as the last one finally 'gave up the ghost' last year.

  • zcabn

    Thanks all; interesting.
    My issue about mespilus is to find an understock that could increase the vigor to get a tree providing fruit with a good quality but more ornemental (higher). Perhaps Pyrus would be better
    I graft mespilus on crataegus but would like to graft on sorbus intermedia if possible as I have young seedlings.

  • plumfan

    For what it is worth, I have found both medlar and the sorbus group (mountain ash) to be pretty promiscuous. They will graft to alot of things that you would not suspect. And alot of suprising things can be grafted to them. So I say go for your proposed graft, do it to 10 or 2O seedlings so you don't inadvertantly grab the lone seedling that is going to reject such a graft. I have seen some seedlings reject all foreign grafts while others take and mend okay. So it does vary sometimes.

    I have a Mountain Ash hybrid that is in its third year on a seedling apple, FYI. And not all sorbus' are inedible. Russia came up with a number of useful selections a coupla decades ago. I have seen selections that have fruit as large a golf balls, altho I do not have it in my collection.

    Joe Real, I am interested in the betulaefolia multi-tree of yours. Did you let the betulaefolia go up to six feet, then start bark grafting to major limb stubbs?? How many years have the apples and quince been on it and what kind are they? Thanks in advance.

  • demoerbeiboom

    Hi all,
    I live in Belgium (Europe)and I have a small nursery of about 2 HA(= 20000M2)where I grow all kinds of "edible landscaping" plants. I have quite some grafting experience and I can tell you that pear,apple,hawthorn,sorbus,amelanchier,cotoneaster,eriobotrya,mespilus and probably other members of the rose family can all be grafted onto each other....it just depends on varietal affinity, some varieties will work well while other varieties of the same genus will fail..it's all a matter of trying and finding out what works and what does not...Commercially ofcourse this has no point whatsoever but it's great fun to experiment....
    Perhaps the strangest grafting fact is this : In mexico a commonly used understock for apples and pears is the mexican hawthorn or tejocote(crataegus mexicana) strangely this understock will also happily accept any peach variety....try this one!
    (prunus species are allways the odd ones out ,but not here)
    Happy experimenting!
    Dithmar Guillaume

  • tampopo

    Hi, I'm NOT the expert, I'm a relative newbie, but can say for a fact that medlar (at least the little round brown ones) can be grafted onto a quince tree for a bit of height. I know because my late uncle had some like that.

  • murkwell

    Joe Wrote:
    Todate, I have the following 5 species grafted together on one tree, with 9 cultivars, which I think is going to be a very decent growing fruiting tree:

    Pyrus betulaefolia (rootstock)
    Pyrus pyrifolia (Asian pear) - should bloom next year, vigorous growth
    Pyrus communis (European pear) - should bloom next year, vigorous growth
    2 cultivars of Malus domestica (Apples) - already fruiting
    5 cultivars of Cydonia oblonga (Quinces) - all cultivars fruiting already.
    Joe, what are the quinces grafted to on that tree?

  • joereal

    Quinces: Pineapple, Portugal, Smyrna, Champagne, Mideastern seedling (no formal name yet), Aromatnaya (recent).

    This year I have grafted 10 more cultivars. Can't remember what they are exactly, but I added another quince, 3 apples, 4 European pears, 2 Asian Pears, and another one which the label was blown away, the tree is 30 miles away from me at the moment.

  • plumfan

    Murky, I am betting he is able to graft quince directly to the betulaefolia stock. Joe has never revealed his secret!

  • appleman178

    With regard to medlars, I usually graft these onto pear rootstock. Joseph Postman from the USDA in Corvallis had originally suggested that I follow this however by planting with the soil above the graft union to encourage the medlar to put out it's own roots and improve vigor. This appears to work well with them.
    The ability of plants to graft compatibly to other species is dependent on their isoperoxidase make-up in the tissue. As long as the two plants have profiles that overlap sufficiently you'll have a compatible match. As the profiles overlap less, you'll see increasing rates of graft decline or outright failure. Apple varieties such as Winter Banana and Northern Spy are quite well known for having a broad spectrum of compatability as does the pear variety Beurre Hardy. For this reason, they are commonly used as interstem grafts. If you were to dig around in some of the technical texts for botanical biochemistry you could probably find additional information on the isoperoxidase spectra of different plants.

  • PRO
    Sunrise Vineyards

    In the spring of 2012, I attempted to graft a Pear scion onto my apple tree using Winter Banana Apple as an inter stem.
    (All of he grafting i do is "Whip and Tongue" grafts wrapped in grafting tape. I then coat the wrapped union with grafting wax)

    The parent branch was a Winesap Apple branch with a grafted Winter Banana Apple scion from a few years before.
    (I actually have two of these paired branches.)
    I then attempted to graft two "Kieffer" Pear scions onto my two Winter Banana Apple inter stems. The "Kieffer" Pear scions started to grow, but died a few weeks later.

    This spring (2014) I attempted to graft this Apple / Pear union again using the same Winter Banana Apple inter stems. I had just enough branch on my Winter Banana branches to try this experiment one more time. This time around, I used "Sunrise Pear" scionwood.
    The grafting was a screaming success! (I had enough "Sunrise Pear" scionwood to graft two branches onto my apple tree, and two more onto an ornamental pear. All four pear grafts were a success!)

    I have no idea why this experiment failed in 2012 and was a success in 2014. I do not know if it had to do with the pear variety used, or if it had to do with environmental circumstances. I will re-post in 2015 with an update.

    There are a few different treads on this subject so I will be re-posting on those threats also.

    Below are pictures taken on 07/27/2014.

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