Problems With Multi-Grafted Apple Varieties

Written by barbara gulin
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Problems With Multi-Grafted Apple Varieties
A multi-grafted apple tree usually includes three or more varieties of fruit. (Apple-tree image by Beausoir from

Grafted apple trees contain multiple varieties of apples grafted to a common trunk. Since two or more varieties of apple are needed to pollinate fruit, grafting multiple varieties on one trunk is popular among people with limited space. As appealing as a multi-grafted apple tree may be, it is helpful to know some of the problems you may encounter in advance.

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Sometimes, one or more grafts do not survive when the tree is planted. Often nurseries will graft on an additional variety because of the chance that one of the grafts will die.


Sometimes, one of the grafts will "take over" the tree and grow significantly more than the other grafts. Since many people purchase multi-grafted apple trees because they have limited planting space, this problem can affect the tree's ability to pollinate itself.

Unexpected Tree Size

If the part of the tree that is grafted above the soil line, called the scion, is placed below the soil line, the scion may produce roots of its own. If the grafted roots are for a dwarf tree and the scion is from a full-sized tree, the tree could grow much taller than anticipated. Many fruit trees are grafted to dwarf or semi-dwarf root systems to simplify harvesting fruit.

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