Rootstock compatibility for different types of tree

Make sure you are using the correct roots or host tree for your scions or you will be wasting your time

Rootstock Scion


Although they prefer well-drained, deep, loamy soils, they will tolerate other soil types, including poor soils, as long as they are not wet or poorly draining, which they absolutely cannot abide.

Almond, Peach, Nectarine, Asian Plum, Apricot (prefers own apricot rootstock), European Plum (many varieties incompatible), Ume, Plumcot


a range of heights from 3 - 10 meters

Apple, Medlar, Quince, European Pear
Apricot Apricot, Plumcot, Ume, European Plum (most varieties incompatible), Peach (short-lived), Nectarine (short-lived), Asian Plum
Asian Pear Nashi (Asian pear), Asian pear hybrids, European pear (fruit quality affected, some partial or delayed incompatibility)
Cherry Sweet Cherry, Sour Cherry

Cherry Plum / Asian Plum

Tollerate much wetter soils than other stonefruit

Asian Plum, European Plum (some varieties incompatible), Plumcot, Ume

European Pear

can grow to heights of 13 meters

European Pear, Northern Spy Apple only, Hawthorn (various species), Medlar (imperfectly compatible), Nashi (Asian pear)
Peach Peach, Nectarine, European Plum (short-lived, many varieties incompatible), Almond, Ume, Apricot (prefers own apricot rootstock), Plumcot, Asian Plum


used to grow dwarf pears at around 4 meters

Quince, Loquat (dwarfing), Pear

Incompatible pear cultivars, requires an interstock of compatible pear

  • Bartlett
  • Bosc
  • Seckel
  • Winter Nelis
  • Eldorado
  • Clapp's Favorite
  • Forelle
  • Farmingdale

Compatible pear cultivars

  • Beurre Hardy - I have had good success with this
  • Anjou
  • Comice
  • Old Home
  • Packham's Triumph
  • Gorham
  • Flemish Beauty
  • Maxine

 2 pictures - click to enlarge

Rootstock compatibility for different types of tree

Scions of desirable species must be grafted onto a suitable, compatible root system or ultimately the graft with be rejected by the host tree.
The roots determine to size, growth rate and suitable soil conditions for the tree while the scion controls the flowers and fruit type and timing.
Most are only self compatible and so apple must be grafted to apple but as usual there are exceptions such as almonds onto peach.


Quince root stock for grafting dwarf pear and loquat

Quince root stock for grafting dwarf pear and loquat

Botanical name   Cydonia oblonga
Details   Quinces are used as a root stock for producing dwarf pears, loquat and other quinces.

Root stocks can be created from root suckers, stool bed or seeds from overripe fruit planted in late autumn.
Flowers   White
Fruit / berries  
Tags     graft  dwarf  fruit tree  pear 
Benefits   The primary benefits are smaller trees that fruit sooner
Negatives   Many cultivars of pear are not directly compatible with quince and require double grafting with a compatible interstock
Pears grafted on quince have shorter lifespan than on seedling grown root stocks
Quince trees are prone to suckering, sending up growth from around the base of the tree and near damaged roots. These can be used as rootstocks.

Grafting calendar

There are 2 main activities related to grafting that are season and weather specific.
  1. Collecting desired varieties of scion wood from healthy trees while they are dormant. For deciduous fruit and nut trees this is mid winter or late June to July in New Zealand
  2. Grafting the stored scions onto the appropriate rootstocks in early to mid spring when growth is commencing. Here in North Canterbury this is from early August to to mid October.

Correct timing is only part of the grafting process. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the technique, compatibility and after care for the best results.
Grafting After Care

Grafting After Care

In the weeks and months after completing the graft it is important to check back and follow up with basic care to ensure the graft stays healthy and has the best chance for success.
  • It is usually obvious after a couple of weeks if the graft has failed as it will have dried and shrunken. If the wood looks alive and the buds are full or opening then there is a good chance your graft will take.
  • Remove active growth and buds from below the graft point as this will take energy required by the healing graft.
  • If any of the buds on the freshly grafted wood are blossoms then these should be removed. Just pinch them off carefully with fingernails or clip with secateurs. This allows the branch to focus on healing the union and prevents any breakage caused by heavy fruit. This may be necessary on the following year also, depending on the style and state of the graft.
  • When the graft is part of a larger tree consider periodic pruning or bending down of old wood to encourage development of grafted part(s)
  • After several months check grafting tape / bindings are not strangling / girdling the healing graft. Some tapes are biodegradable and will split or peel after exposure to summer sun, others require manual splitting with a sharp blade to release the pressure.
  • Excessive sun and wind exposure can dessicate or dislodge grafts. If your rootstock is in a pot keep it in a sheltered location until the union is solid. A high humidity environment is ideal.

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