[nafex] Question about crabapple trees top-worked with domestic apples.

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Fri Sep 26 08:52:54 EDT 2014

Ginda, list at ginda.us wrote:

I've had  poor success doing this. I did several grafts, most of which 
appeared to take  fine, onto two mature crab apples. One of them died two years 
later, and I  suspect it was some latent virus in one of the scions that 
killed it. I've  also lost  a seedling crab apple shortly after I grafted it, 
with similar  symptoms.

The other crab is still thriving, many years later, and still  supports all 
the grafts I put on it. But it turns out that domestic apples  need more 
sun to produce than the crab does, and are more susceptible to  insects 
(especially winter moths) damaging the flowers, and are much more  attractive to 
wild life (deer and rabbits, etc.) that eat the bark, twigs, and  fruits. I 
haven't lost any of the grafts completely, but I don't think I have  gotten a 
mature fruit, either. (In good years, some of the grafts that get  more sun 
have flowered and produced fruit, but critters took it all before it  

But, other people have had better luck than I. Especially if  your crab is 
in full sun, I'd urge you to go for it. It's not very hard to do,  and it's 
sort of fun.
Almost all fruit bearing species do best in full sun. This  includes pawpaw 
which naturally is an understory tree. 

I once had 15 apple varieties grafted to a Schmidwarr (sp?)  rootstock. It 
was interesting as it bore different varieties from June to  Oct. When this 
is done constant pruning is required as some varieties  outgrow others, 
shading the less vigorous varieties. The mistake I made was  grafting to the 
dwarfing understock. Dwarfing understocks are dwarfing partially  because they 
have poor root systems and require support,  staking, to remain upright. I 
had failed to do this and it blew over after  only a few years. My attempts 
to stake it up failed as the root system never  recovered.  

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