Episode-1527- Grafting, Root Stocks and Tree Propagation

Various Types of Grafts, These are Just a Few, There are Many More

Various Types of Grafts, These are Just a Few, There are Many More

Recently I did a show with Kevin Hauser about apples and we discussed that he did all his propagation with “bench grafts” and always uses “M111 Rootstock” which basically caused a listener to say, WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN?

Point taken!  Sometimes when you know a subject well you just assume people know what you are talking about.  The truth though is I am still learning about tree propagation myself.  I know a lot about tree care, tree pruning, tree planting, etc. but making new trees I am new to myself.

This might actually make it worse because as I am new myself I am likely worse about using terms and figuring others know what they mean.  So at the request of this listener I am going to talk about making new trees today, the methods of doing so and what some of the terms mean.

Join Me Today As I Discuss…

  • Thee primary ways to propagate trees
    • From seed
    • Via Grafting
    • Via Rooting
      • Softwoods
      • Hardwoods
      • Layering
  • What are root stocks and what do they do
    • Main ways they are created
      • From Seed
      • Stooling
      • Layering
    • Functions
      • Disease resistance
      • Size control
      • Vigor
    • Types of grafting (not individual grafting techniques)
      • “Nursery” grafting
      • Over grafting
        • On grafted trees
        • On in ground root stock

Resources for today’s show…

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28 Responses to Episode-1527- Grafting, Root Stocks and Tree Propagation

  1. I’d love to have a YouTube video of your net neutrality bit to share. It was your “QE3” videos that got me to listen to your podcast.

  2. Hi Jack, i took hardwood cuttings of blueberries this year. I removed the large buds on a lot of them. Will these still root?

    • Modern Survival

      May be but less likely. Hardwoods should have the buds left on them so they can capture enough energy to produce roots. Also they should be stuck pretty soon after you take them. How have they been stored? In the fridge it might work. On a shelf, they are about 100% dead at this point.

      You can always stick them and just see.

      • I did stick them in sand the same day, everything was done right except for that 🙂 .

        Could you talk about growing seedling stock from cone tainers? I’ve tried Apple seeds but most of the planted trees grew only a few inches, one grew about 18″.

        How long should they be grown in those containers?

        • Modern Survival

          Containers are for making seedlings, then planting or shipping for planting, not for growing trees in. Pretty much when they can be transplanted, they should be.

  3. Jack,
    Can you spell the Russian variety of apples. I’ve tried various permutations of anakatova and my google-fu has failed me. Seed source would be great, but I can search once I can spell… Don’t want to put in swells 🙂

    • Modern Survival



      An ton nav ka (when I can remember to say it right that is)

      Seed source https://sheffields.com/seeds-for-sale/Malus/pumila/030453//Antonovka//

      • Awesome. Thanks!

      • I went to the site and bought 850 apple seeds for $23. You mentioned somewhere that you can get 20,000 seats for $20. If you find this place can you let me know please. 850 seeds are more than enough for me but 20,000 sound a lot better.

    • As a follow-up… any idea on chill hours for Antonovka? I’ve got some stratifying that will be planted regardless. But I’m curious if I should plan to graft onto these or just let ’em go.

      I’m in central MS – Zone 7/8 border – and get near but sub-1000 chill hours most years. Of course, with all of this global warming the chill hours have been >1000 every year for the last 5.

      • Modern Survival

        I am not worried about it, so what does that tell you. Did you listen to the interview with Kevin Hauser?

        • Of course I listened. 🙂 But you’ve since filled my brain with lots of other fun stuff.

          Like I said, I’m planting regardless and I’m a big fan of plant, help grow, and let God sort ’em out. Thanks for grounding me back in reality.

  4. Jerry P. Evans

    Angus this spelling is close and will get you there. (Antonovka)
    My question is if Antonovka comes true from seed why does it need a pollinater? Wouldn’t the seeds be hybrid?

    • Modern Survival

      It doesn’t need a pollinator but like many things it produces better with one.

      If you want Antonovka to produce reliability from seed they should be mostly or fully with other Antonovkas. Each tree is unique but very similar. So they cross pollinate like say tomatoes of the same variety. Make sense?

      IF you look at the seed source I provided you will see that it was collected in the Ukraine where they grow them commercially. If you took seed from one surrounded by other apples it would produce something, likely something good but yea you get a hybrid that will decline from the parent with each out crossing.

      If you want seed you have to sort of treat them like anything you save seed from.

  5. Could you talk about growing seedling stock from cone tainers? I’ve tried Apple seeds but most of the planted trees grew only a few inches, one grew about 18?.

    How long should they be grown in those containers?

  6. I’ve actually read that some of the serious disease issues fruit trees run into (say, fireblight for example) is related to the way the fruit industry has massively stalled adaptation of the species with a massive majority of plantings being clones rather than having new generations of-say- apple trees popping up on a regular basis.

    It’s why I’m generally more inclined to grow diverse apple seedlings in place, see how they turn out and overgraft the ones without a dedicated purpose such as baking, hand-eating or cider.

    • Modern Survival

      I think there is some truth to it but if you read the books by the true pioneers in Apples, the guys that saved many species from extinction it is clear in the past they dealt with fire blight, cedar apple rust, etc.

      I think the biggest problem is orchard sized trees. In the old days a tree was a tree! 20 feet or more tall, pruned, “so a robin could fly though the branches but a cat would catch one if you threw him through it”.

      Deer and what have you browsed off everything below head height.

      Any fungus or disease that was soil born and had to reach the leaves never got there. The best apples were eaters, the next grade down cookers, down from that cider, down from that vinegar, anything left was cleaned up by hogs and chickens.

      Some apples were cider apples, some for apple butter but a lot of folks just pretty much used anything that wasn’t perfect eating quality for anything but fresh eating and divided them based on variety. So one that was a bit off might to to cider and another that was a better baker to pies.

  7. Too much to understand in a pod cast. I’m definitely taking the Plant Propagation course. But another great discussion by Jack!

  8. You sort of touched on patented varieties with respect to rootstock, but I was wondering what the actual “prohibited” activities are. I called a local orchard to see about taking some cuttings of apples and peaches and the owner mentioned the plant protection act but was still ok with me coming out.

    • Modern Survival

      Patents are patents. You have to look up any patent and see what it covers and how long it is in force for.

  9. Jack, just to clarify- apples from seed are a 1 in 10,000 chance of getting the next best thing in apples, got it. If you want to produce apple trees from seed, go with the Antonovka, got it.

    Any draw back to planting 1000s of random seeds, just to see if you strike it lucky and grafting on good varieties to the losers? Seems to me the best of both worlds- chance at hitting the jack pot with a new variety plus getting a seed grown tree to graft on to. Of course you missing out on the known attributes of cloned rootstocks. I’m going to listen to this one again, if you touched on that and I missed it, just ignore this.

    If someone was to go that route, what’s your thoughts on the least number of seeds/trees planted it would take to make the project worthwhile?

    • I’ve had that same thought nagging at me for a while. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ve been thinking of doing like 10,000 seeds in a relatively small area with a good heaping of top soil and just seeing what grows. The area I’m thinking of just has terrible soil, so I figure it’s an even longer shot than 1 in 10,000, but if I can get a couple that are really vigorous and hardy that come out if it while the rest die – AWESOME
      And since apples are just about the easiest thing I know of to graft onto, even if I don’t get a good one, I have a rootstock that’s perfect for the spot to work with.

    • Modern Survival

      No and we should and you can go faster if you want to, grafting is the key.

      Here is how grow thousands of seedlings. Then do thousands of grafts of the seedlings. You can get fruit in 2-3 years that way. Once you have a looser rip him out of the grow bed and plant another seedling there.

      Better then planting seeds and waiting 5-8 years for results.

      You are getting it right! The beauty of the 1 in 10000 ratio is you only need to plant 100,000 seed to get 10 amazing new apples. There are about 13,000 apple seeds to the pound, so all one needs to do is plant 7.6 pounds of seed to change the world of apples forever!

      • What about pears? They can also be used for cider, vinegar etc., are the odds roughly the same as apples?

        Does anyone have recommendations on buying bulk seeds for pears and/or apples?

  10. Here’s a great article on apples and the old varieties and the quest for new genes in todays current apples. http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/breaking-ground-the-call-of-the-wild-apple/

    • forgot to add that a Standard size tree can be obtained by any rootstock by planting the graft union two inches below ground level. I have not tried this but have read this on several occasions.

      • Modern Survival

        That might work, sadly what more often happens is the graft rots and the tree dies OR the rootstock goes ape shit with suckers and drains the energy from the grafted tree, takes over and you get a M111 or whatever tree.

  11. I just wanted to offer a resource that I have found invaluable when it comes to tree propagation. I have had tremendous success using the techniques in this book. Highly recommended. http://www.timberpress.com/books/reference_manual_woody_plant_propagation/dirr/9781604690040