Problem with caliper on Peach tree

blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)April 22, 2012

Hello. I have recently planted a peach tree with a root system that is very close to the caliper. The thing is I cannot bury the tree without the caliper touching the dirt. The dirt is just at the bottom of the caliper. As long as it doesn't get too wet it should be OK right? I mean, what are the problem with burying a tree too close to the caliper? I would bury it properly but the tree just doesnt have any room. It just ROOTS and

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alan haigh

I don't know what a caliper is, but if you're talking about the graft union, peaches can be planted at or slightly below the union. It is with dwarfing root stock that care (usually) must be taken to keep the union well above the dirt. It is often recommended that peaches be planted right to the union- especially in windy sites.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 6:25AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


The part above the graft union is called the scion. This is the cultivar or variety of fruit you are growing. The part below the graft union is called the rootstock, or if I had my way just the root. But the commonly used name in the trade is rootstock.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 8:32AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you plant a tree so the ROOT FLARE.. is at ground level ...

which is summed up.. roots in the ground.. trunk in the air

bark protects the trunk.. but bark underground.. can trap moisture on the trunk.. leading to death ..

i would not be surprised of the fruit peeps have another theory .. lol

caliper.. is the width of the trunk at a given height...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:00AM
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alan haigh

Ken, I think most "fruit peeps" do have a different opinion, or at least general explanation, about planting peach trees and other grafted trees.

It is a common practice to plant peaches and other trees that are not on size reducing rootstock so soil is just below the graft union. I have even heard it recommended to plant below the graft union for peaches on windy sites (although I have never done this). Here is Adams County Nurserie's instructions. They call the graft union the bud union.

"Place tree in planting hole so that roots lay naturally, with the bud union 2 inches above soil level after planting (just above ground level for peach). Fill in soil in layers and tamp around the roots to insure good soil contact and remove air pockets. Immediately water trees to saturate the soil. After settling, insure that the bud union is still 2 inches above soil level and adjust as necessary."

I generally plant fruit trees so they are at the same level they were at the nursery, unless the graft union is so low on size reducing rootstock that scion wood may be exposed to soil at some point.

I don't think grafted fruit trees always have an obvious root flare when they come from the nursery.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:48AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

On peaches, I try to plant the graft slightly below grade.

This does sometimes cause the trees to "wallow out" if there is a lot of rain and wind. If that happens I put sand in the wallowed out hole to firm the tree up.

Although I've not observed any trunk rot, planting trees this way sometimes requires the roots to be deeper than is preferable (if the root stem is long) and so will only work if the drainage is very good or trees are planted in mounds.

Probably for these potential problems, I've read most often to plant peach trees at the same height they were grown in the nursery.

Still, I prefer to plant the graft below grade. If you can avoid the above problems I think non-irrigated trees planted this way tolerate dry weather better. It also enables me to start the first scaffold at ground level.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 7:17PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I always thought a "bud union" and "caliper" are one and the same? Its like how your calipers on the brakes on your car work. The pads comes into contact with the disc and the caliper holds the pads. Just as the rootstock hold the scion. Hence the "bud union" is also known as a You guys never heard that term? I thought that when you ordered fruit trees off the internet they always gave caliper size? I always took that to mean the thickness of the bud union. Maybe Im wrong.

But I know what rootstock is and a scion and how to plant a tree and all that good stuff. Im just wondering because all my other stone fruit trees I have planted the "bud union" about 1-2 inches above the soil. But this tree I am unable to do this as its "bud union" is right at the roots almost so when I buried it I had to bring the dirt right up to it. You know? Would this be OK? I think so by what Ive read but I wanted to make sure were all talking about the same

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:49PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Sorry I meant "graft union" not "bud union"

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 10:52PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Bud union is correct. Most fruit trees are budded not grafted.

To me caliper means the diameter of the tree above the bud union.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:00PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

This peach tree is grafted onto rootstock so I would call it graft union correct?

And yes, to me caliper means the diameter right above the graft union.

And I thought most fruit trees are grafted into rootstock? Not budded, as In grown straight without a grafted rootstock correct?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:08PM
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"Caliper" is fruit peoples' talk for what gun folk call "caliber", and may be measured with a set of "calipers", and therefore be "calibrated" as to diameter. Language does these things!


    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:08PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I mean technically a bud union is a graft of a scion to rootstock right?

So bud union and graft union would mean the same thing? Unless you were to take the term "graft union" as the spot higher up on the tree where a cutting was grafted onto a branch perhaps? In that case I could see the difference in meanings.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:11PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Most fruit trees are budded in summer often using a T budding technique. Grafting would be way too much work and would involve storing graft wood. T budding is done with current season growth and involves much less work than grafting. The only fruit trees I've gotten lately that were grafted were jujube. These were done by cleft grafting.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:26PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Ahh. I see.

So Ill use the term bud union from now

So I buried my tree right up to the bud union. I had no choice. The roots almost came right out of it. The rootstock was only about less than 2" long.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:24AM
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alan haigh

I've always thought of budding as a form of grafting.

Is that some tiny peach tree? Peaches I get usually have a pretty deep root system.

Seems awfully late to be planting bare roots in S. CA.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 5:45AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Budding is a form of grafting but it's called budding not grafting. If fruit trees were grafted they'd cost way more. With budding nearly every bud cut can form a tree. Not so with grafting.

To my way of thinking if you have to cut and store dormant graft wood, that's grafting. If you cut green, current season wood and bud immediately, that's budding. I'm sure there are exceptions.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:04AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I guess the real difference is that with budding you insert a single bud of the scion into the rootstock. With grafting you insert a piece of wood often containing several buds.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:11AM
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alan haigh

Fruitnut, words are liquid. In hort school they were all termed grafting of various methods, as I recall. If it is a form of grafting it is by definition grafting, IMO, but I prefer your more specific usage. It provides more precision.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 10:14AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Ahh I see. I did not know that one bud could be inserted into rootstock as opposed to an entire "cutting". Interesting.

Yes the tree is semi dwarf from L E Cooke and is about 4' tall. I know of a small nursery that orders them bare root and then pots whatever they dont sell for the season. I bought this red baron about 3 weeks to a month ago.

There are many small nurseries around here and in Korea Town and in somewhat hidden large lots behind houses and such. In Westminster where I live and grew up it used to be a patchwork of huge fields. Then one by one they disappeared. But now there are many "backyard" fields so to speak. From the front they look like houses or business but from behind they are open. They are all reputable places that have been here for many generations and some are bigger than others. But anyways, this place has ALOT of different fruit trees at different stages of growth. This red baron peach had been planted from bare root into a #5 pot about 1-2 months prior to me buying it. For some reason this nursery plants all their bare roots in dirt WAY ABOVE the bud union. So when I took it out of the pot I realized it was planted way to deep but as I went to put it in the ground I realized It had no room to put the "caliper" above ground at 2". It was not in the pot for long and the dirt was very loose...

So the now the dirt from the hole in the ground is right at the bottom of the "caliper" or "bud union". I dont see a problem with it but I wanted your guys advice :-)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:03PM
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