Grafting Basics 101
March 04, 2015 12:06AM
I have three questions which may be obvious to the old guard out there. I have heard opinions and have my own thoughts, but would really like some expert (yes, that means you all) advice.

1. What medium (soil media) do folks use to put larger quantities of grafted trees into just after grafting? I have heard numerous suggestions, looking for the "best." I don't want to put into individual buckets, as I am grafting about 250 trees all told.

2. What do folks think about heating (mildly, from the bottom up) the container the grafted trees are in for the first few weeks post-grafting? Of course, maintaining moisture is critical (aka don't let the suckers dry out). If not heated, then optimal temps for best healing?

3. rodent control -- obviously individual trunk guards on each young tree is obvious, but they are also time consuming and expensive. Is there something more efficient and/or effective, but that keeps the trees from getting devoured esp during winter.

I plan on grafting the week of Mar 16, letting them heal for a couple weeks (w or w/o heat TBD) in a TBD media. After which they will continue to recoup until the ground is ready for them to be planted in a small nursery situation. Any other cogent thoughts people have would be wunnerful.

Thanks for ya'lls help.


Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Grafting Basics 101
March 04, 2015 12:45AM
1. Any medium that you would plant in works, BUT, in most cases things are sitting in a situation where they are not getting good circulation, ie, oxygen to the roots, because of concern over dehydration and callusing. Assume, then that rotting will occur if the medium is not resistant to such. Peat is a good option, which is why it is in starting mixes. Absolutely no fertilizer. Even compost isn't a good idea. The more acid and sterile the better in my opinion.

2. Heat means the tree will grow a whole lot faster- read- break bud. The research is that 92 degrees is the perfect temp for healing over in that graft union. The scion itself should be in the low 30's. The stock, it depends on when you are setting it out. See the problem? There are nurseries who run warm air through a pipe to get the callus going in a tiny area (slits in the pipe are where the tree's graft union are fit). In the real world, mid 40's are a compromise, and will keep things from getting too moldy. The cooler the temps, the slower the heal, but a tree that begins growing when you are not ready to plant is a disaster.

3. Hardware cloth enclosure, down a foot below the soil line, 4 feet high. Oh, and a cat inside.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: Grafting Basics 101
April 26, 2015 05:48AM
I've got nearly 1500 grafts under my belt in the last 3 seasons, and this year I've got two things figured out and wanted to share.

1. A way to sharpen my knife properly has changed my life ! I've wasted tons of time rubbing knives and tools from my kitchen to my orchard on all manner of sharpening stones and blocks and rods over the last 20 years and never really had success. This year I got a set of waterstones in 4 different grits: 220 , 1000, 4000, 8000 + a leather strop and have finally experienced a properly sharp knife. They are 2 sided "combination" stones with a different grit on either side made by Norton. I also got a "lapping stone" that will keep the waterstone perfectly flat, crucial when sharpening a grafting knife. If you are not using multiple grits and keeping your sharpening surface flat, your knife is not sharp enough !

2. Stay away from grafting wax. Any cut surface it falls on won't dry out, but it also won't callus or heal right. Use stretchy parafin tape to seal the wound. I've been using the perforated budding tape from A.M. Leonard. Make sure you also wrap a small piece around the cut tip of the scion or it will dry out ! I first wrap with a rubber band strip to pull the graft union together and follow up with parafin budding tape.

Josh Klatt
Ohio River Valley
Zone 6b
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