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Callousing bench grafts

Posted by James Austin 
Callousing bench grafts
May 04, 2015 07:55PM
I tried grafting apple scions to Antonovka rootstocks several years ago and had no success. I have just recieved 50 Antonovka rootstocks and will be grafting scions from my trees. The grafting book I now have states that the grafts should be layered in sand til calloused, I planted straight into a nursery bed last time. What do you do with your grafts after the scion is put on the rootstock? I read the other thread and suggestion to tent the grafts. What else should I be doing? Thank you.

Spliced Wire Farm & Apiaries
Zone 4b NE Corner of McKean County, PA



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/05/2015 04:40PM by James Austin.
Re: Grafting question(s)
May 04, 2015 10:43PM
I just finished a substantial grafting project myself. Having done some grafting over the years -- but nothing very serious until now -- I asked around and here's what I came up with. Almost all were whip and tongue, though I did more than a few "modified" cleft grafts because the scionwood was weak.

After grafting make sure the graft union is sealed so that the tissue doesn't dessicate. I used grafting rubbers and Doc Farwell's to both bind and seal the union substantially. Place the rootstock in cool, moist medium so that the roots have access to water, but not so warm that they push the scion to grow before it is ready. Dark, cool (50F), quiet, and reasonably high humidity. I left mine in the medium for 3 weeks (standing up, not laying down) before acclimating them to sun and warmth - in my garage - before setting them into the nursery. The medium I used to heal them in was a mix of peat, vermiculite, and sand. Add water so the roots have access to water - and so it creates humid microclimate - but don't overwater. Once in the nursery even though there is adequate water from an established tree's perspective, I am keeping the entire soil surface wet/damp so that the plants have enough water to support the new growth and create a humid microclimate.

The key is a good graft union, good healing conditions, don't allow to dessicate, place them in nursery where they can be watched closely before setting in the orchard. I'll let you know how it all turns out -- but they are pushing leaves already.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Grafting question(s)
May 05, 2015 06:59AM
One part I am having confusion with is whether the union is supposed to be covered with the medium, or just the roots.
Re: Grafting question(s)
May 05, 2015 06:32PM
just the roots.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: Callousing bench grafts
July 18, 2015 11:11AM
I might report on my own grafting of this year.
I ordered 20 rootstocks (Beautiful Arcade). I had them in a box, and this was my first time at grafting trees that were not in the ground! I must say it is much easier and faster to graft when you can put your root on a table to proceed to graft. All grafts are whip and tong, and I use Parafilm to seal and hold the graft union. I didn't bother to seal the tip of the scion, as this is usually already dry and I don't think any significant amount of moisture will be lost there. I grafted 19, as one of the roots was too small to graft.

I grafted on May 5 and planted next day without any special precautions. Not in the orchard, but in a small garden close to the house, interplanted with onions and garlic, so I can watch them more closely. I expect to grow them 2 years in this small nursery before planting in the orchard. All 19 grafts took. Growth is however variable, between zero growth (i.e. only some leaves), while the better ones have grown a good 18 inches already, and still going.

From this, it doesn't seem to be essential to leave the graft to heal before planting. It can be done I am sure, and when grafting earlier in the season while still impossible to plant outside, but grafting just before planting also works fine.
Claude

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Re: Callousing bench grafts
July 18, 2015 11:33AM
I have run a grafting course each spring for a number of years. We have always grafted bare root (dormant) trees in this course, and the participants then take their newly grafted trees home with them to plant directly. We tie the graft together with simple black electrical tape, (cheaper and stronger to survive transportation of new trees home from the w'shop). (I do use Parafilm for budding because that way I don't have to worry about the bud being trapped under the binding - they will grow through the parafilm readily.) We don't get as good a survival rate as Claude, (but then these are brand new grafters) - generally 60 to 80% takes. There is, however, an interesting phenomenon I have noticed this spring - a number of the grafts have taken, but the buds have not broken dormancy. In previous years these grafts have grown vigorously the following year. I do wonder whether we would get both improved healing and earlier bud-break if I were to encourage the rootstocks to break dormancy a week or two prior to the workshop - ie. get the roots going, with sap flowing and active healing metabolism, (but still with dormant scions, obviously)

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: Breaking dormancy after grafting
July 18, 2015 11:51AM
I made reference to this in a previous post, but would like to get feedback on this as a larger phenomenon. In addition to the "bench grafting" (with immediate planting out) I alluded to, we spend the afternoon hacking up trees in my own orchard, doing cleft grafts and bark grafts to topwork trees. (For the most part, Claude's renamed Fauxwhelps have served as sources of practice trees. ) This year at least 90% of the grafts of Brown Thorn and Sweet Coppin took and grew. But on the tree which we topworked to Improved Redstreak, the rate of take was closer to 60% and, and of these, no more than 20% have actually grown this year. (The remaining ones have taken well, the scions are healthy, but they never broke dormancy, and now are just sitting there, presumably waiting for next year.) Is this a recognised phenomenon? Related to cultivar? If not, what else might be at play? (All 3 trees are similar - Alnarp-2 rootstock, Ottawa-3 interstem, Fauxwhelp framework, with cultivars listed being grafted into ends of cut-off branches.)

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: Breaking dormancy after grafting
July 21, 2015 08:57PM
David Maxwell Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> (The remaining ones
> have taken well, the scions are healthy, but they
> never broke dormancy, and now are just sitting
> there, presumably waiting for next year.)

I am a bit puzzled by what you exactly mean by this David.
When you say that the scion has taken well and is healthy, for me this means it would at least have produced a few leaves, like a corolla with 6 to 8 leaves, but no growth. These often start vigorous growing the following year.
But then when you say it never broke dormancy, does this mean it didn't even put out a few leaves?

I must say I have never seen yet a graft that took without breaking buds and producing some leaves...
Claude

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Re: Breaking dormancy after grafting
July 22, 2015 09:20AM
That is in fact exactly what I mean: the scion has united to the stock, it remains hydrated, (a scion which has not taken dries up and turns brown), and if the bark on the scion is nicked with a sharp blade, the cambium is nice and green. Such scions seem generally to leaf out the following year, but I confess that I have not specifically identified and tagged them to confirm this. I shall do so tomorrow, and report back next spring. (We are currently experiencing rain and thunderstorms, hence the "tomorrow"winking smiley

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
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