Grafting/buddy cherry to another cherry above rootstock

mpalermoApril 13, 2012

I picked up 2 sweet cherry trees (bing and black tartarian) from a local nursery. They are each grafted onto a rootstock. I'd eventually like to combine the trees together by grafting/budding the bing to the tartarian and vise-versa. Mostly I want to have this "multi-grafted" tree so that it's self pollinating (in case one dies for some reason).

The problem I see is that the rootstocks on these trees are only a couple inches out of the soil before the graft starts, so there is no room to graft/bud directly to the rootstock. Can I graft/bud onto the tree above the rootstock graft, or do all branches need to come directly from the rootstock to be successful?

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Yes, you can graft the black tartarian directly onto the bing and vice versa. People do stuff like that all the time.

Neither of those varieties is too hard to find though, so if you lost one of the trees you could replace it or graft it then. I suppose you want two trees both in production with both.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 12:17AM
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Okay, great. Is there a disadvantage to doing it this way? Would the grafted limb be any better or worse off it was coming directly from the rootstock instead?

Yes, I know both are easy to find. I like the idea of having two self-pollinating trees. Also, it will be my first chance to try out grafting (something I've been anxiously waiting to try). I've read a lot about it and watched many YouTube videos, but haven't had a chance to do it myself yet. So, it's for practice purposes as well.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 12:28AM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I would not let any sprout from the rootstock to come up at all. Just use a branch on top about a pencil size and graft your dormant scionwoods to it ( use wedge or bark graft). Make sure you rub off all the new growth below your graft union because you want the sap to feed your new graft only.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:11AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


It would be difficult to graft directly onto the rootstock. At least it would for me. I'd do a whip and tongue onto a small branch higher up in the tree. But I'd chose a location that could by pruning be made to become a significant portion of the top as the tree gets older.

There are many ways to do this. You could try several, bark, cleft, and W&T just for grafting experience.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Ok, thanks for the info. I just want to make sure that I'll get the same results from grafting above the rootstock graft as I would by grafting directly to the rootstock itself.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 4:45PM
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You'll likely get a better overall result if you follow the advice given and graft the two cultivars directly onto each other instead of trying to perform some sort of exotic graft down below the graft junction or onto a sucker.

For your intents and purposes (the way you are asking) yes, you'll get the "same" results.

But if you are going to get into the excitement of grafting, why not find a friend or neighbor or somebody who has a 3rd or 4th variety and add those onto your tree? That's when the fun really begins.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Yea, I'd love to find someone nearby with a different variety. Haven't yet, but I'm gonna keep looking.

Thanks for all the info!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:42PM
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