Grafting European Pear to Asian Pear

Overview

Joining, or grafting, the fruiting wood of a commercially important pear tree to the rootstock of a more vigorous tree gives the pear the best characteristics of both, making it viable to grow in areas with known soil-disease issues. The Asian pear (Pyrus calleyana) provides European pear scions greater fire blight resistance, improved vigor and good resistance to pear decline, a disease that shortens the lifespan of pear trees.

Step 1

Collect bud wood in early morning. Snip sections of this season's new wood from branches of the desired cultivar and store in zip-top bags until needed. Continue to chip-graft pears from July through September after new buds mature.

Step 2

Select a mature bud from the lower part of the donor or scion twig--not immature buds near the end. Cut straight across the twig 1/2 inch below the scion or donor bud. Angle the cut 45 degrees toward the base of the twig and cut 1/8 inch deep.

Step 3

Start a second cut 3/4 inch above the bud. Cut quickly to 1/8 inch depth and then under the bud to meet the bottom cut. Lift the bud shield from the twig without touching any freshly cut tissue.

Step 4

Cut a base for the shield graft on a clear section of the rootstock seedling's stem. Make the first cut straight across the stem of the rootstock and 1/8 inch deep. Angle the cut downward at 45 degrees.

Step 5

Open the shield base by starting a second cut 1 1/4 inches above the first. Match the bud shield by cutting 1/8 inch into the sapwood and then straight down to the bottom cut. Lift out the waste wood and discard.

Step 6

Place the bud shield in the matching wound on the rootstock stem. Bark layers should match exactly and the base of the shield should fit the corresponding notch at the base of the wound.

Step 7

Wrap the shield with overlapping layers of 2 mil clear polyethylene grafting tape. Secure the ends of this slightly elastic tape by wrapping over the first turn and tucking the end under the last turn.

Step 8

Carefully cut the tape away from the shield graft after three weeks. Successful bud grafts should heal completely by then.

Tips and Warnings

  • Graft to the north side of the host rootstock if the seedling grows outside in a nursery row. Grafting on the shady side of the stem prevents sunscald.

Things You'll Need

  • P. calleyana seedling
  • European pear scion wood
  • Ziptop bag
  • Grafting knife
  • Clear polyethylene grafting tape
  • Pruning shears

References

  • University of California Cooperative Extension: Growing Temperate Tree Fruit and Nut Crops in the Home Garden and Landscape
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Asian Pear Culture in Alabama
  • Oregon State University Extension: Choosing Pear Rootstocks for the Pacific Northwest
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Grafting and Budding Nursery Crop Plants

Who Can Help

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Grafting and Budding
Keywords: pear grafting, asian pear, chip grafting

About this Author

James Young began writing in 1969 as a military journalist combat correspondent in Vietnam. Young's articles have been published in "Tai Chi Magazine," "Seattle Post-Intelligencer," Sonar 4 ezine, "Stars & Stripes" and "Fine Woodworking." He worked as a foundryman, woodturner, electronics technician, herb farmer and woodcarver. Young graduated from North Seattle Community College with an associate degree in applied science and electronic technology.