Scionwood Vs Cuttings

  • Scion – Must be grafted
  • Requires root stock
  • Most fruiting plants accept grafting
  • Some skill required
  • Cutting – May be planted
  • No root stock required
  • Fewer plants species grow from cuttings
  • Less specialized skill required


Benefits of Grafting:

  • Ability to dwarf scions
  • Resistance to soil-borne pests & disease
  • Provide multiple pollinating varieties on one tree
  • It should fruit earlier than cuttings
  • Faster growth



  • We are using hardwood in winter;
  • Softwood is taken in Late Spring or Early Summer. 
  • (Semi-hardwood (greenwood) cutting are used for some Prunus trees)
  • Mangos, guavas, citrus, apple & pear usually are propagated through grafting


  • Pomegranates, Figs, and Mulberries, filbert, gooseberry, kiwis & brambles are excellent from cuttings. (These are commonly grown on their own roots)
  • Rollinia, Surinam Cherry, Persimmon, Pecan, Mamey Sapote & Sapodilla need to be grafted, not from cuttings
  • Water/Wax Apple & Wax Jambu are successful as cuttings & not grafts

Challenges for grafted trees:

Challenges for self-rooting trees:

  • Graft union incompatibility
  • Vigor loss – If you use dwarf rootstock, the trees can have a shorter life & have less ability to withstand drought



  • Most temperate tree fruit species propagate poorly on their own roots
  • May have poor fruit quality or quantity
  • Suckering – shoots grow at the base & take nutrients from the main tree
  • Susceptible to Burrknotting – which weaken limbs and can be an entry point for disease and pests

Compiled by K.Connell January 2023 for California Rare Fruit Growers – South Orange County Chapter