Grafting onto Bradford Pear (fruitless)

Needville, TX(Zone 9a)

I have a good sized Bradford Pear in my front pasture. I have a small fruit orchard near my pond. I have 3 Asian pears(20th Century, New Century, and Housi) and 3 European pears (Kieffer, Pineapple, and Ubileen). Iíve been looking into grafting, and pears are supposed to be easy. The Bradford pear is high enough that the horses wouldnít be able to reach the new fruiting limbs.
A few questions:
1. Can Asian pears graft onto Bradford? Can European pears graft onto Bradford?
2. The limb will be larger (about an inch across) than the scion (about a half inch across), so Iím thinking to use a Cleft graft. Is that the best choice?
3. Along that line, Iíve seen cleft grafts showing a graft on each side. I donít think I have enough room to put two and still line up both cambiums. So I plan to cleft and place just one. I will be using parafilm and rubber strips, but what about the open crack on the other side? Just leave it?
4. Can I avoid collecting scions early, and just do this a bud break time, all on the same day?

Thanks for your help.


This message was edited Oct 23, 2011 8:25 PM

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Well, I'm not a grafting expert but I'll put in my 2-bits. In theory, Bradford pear should support European pear, they are pretty closely related. I don't know if Bradford will support Asian pears or not. Even if the grafts are incompatible, sometimes you get a big ugly knot at the graft site but the graft still grows - I'd say it is worth a try. Half-inch onto inch sounds too big - the little over-lapping area of cambium has to support the graft above it while it knits and the larger the graft the more difficulty it has. Also grafting is one of those "by the numbers" things, the more you do, the more likely you are to have one knit and grow.
So I would say you might have better luck with more smaller grafts. Could you try several buds or twig grafts around each inch cut? Also, timing is important - you might want to try several grafts at slightly different times instead of doing them all at once, especially if the pasture tree and the pond trees tend to break dormancy at different times.
The other consideration is make sure the Bradford limb used has a good sturdy attachment to the tree - Because if this does work, the Bradford will have to support fruit, which is hasn't had to do before. Bradfords tend to be very upright which could lead to splitting.

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