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labeling grafts

Posted by Fabio Chizzola 
labeling grafts
November 04, 2016 01:45AM
I've been grafting some of my trees with 5-10 different apple varieties on the same tree and I'm wondering if anyone has a good way to keep track, on the tree, record of the varieties grafted. I tried a couple of different ways but I'm not happy with either one and wondering if anyone has a good and durable way.

Westwind Orchard
Zone 5b in New York
Re: labeling grafts
November 04, 2016 03:24AM
Hello Fabio,
Did you make your trip to visit cideries in Italy yet?
As of recording graft location, I have quite a number of multiple variety tree. I work with cardinal direction and height of branch. Height is recorded as low, medium-low, medium, medium-high, high, very-high, and head
So for example, ML-SSW is a medium-low branch facing in the direction South-South-West. In 30 years of doing such grafting, this system never failed.

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Author, The New Cider Maker's Handbook
Re: labeling grafts
November 04, 2016 03:30AM
I have settled on labels cut from vinyl siding, engraved with a an engraver, followed by rubbing with a pencil, (to deposit graphite into the engraved letters). The graphite does not fade with time at all, and the vinyl labels seem to be very durable, (in contrast to everything I used previously over the last 40 years). The labels are then attached to the branch or tree with aluminum wire, threaded through a hole in the label and looped around the branch with lots of slack to allow growth. (Neither galvanised wire, nor copper wire lasted more than a year or so, but the aluminum seems to be both very easy to work with and very durable.)

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: labeling grafts
November 05, 2016 08:30PM
My method for all trees now, but especially multigrafted topworks like those mentioned, is metal tagging. I cut aluminum flashing and emboss them with a steel stamp kit. Formerly I did so with a lettered kit, but currently all mine are number labeled. This works especially well for those trying to keep records of particular trees or grafts. I have digital and notebook backups of them all. So it'd look like this- #957 : court pendu plat, grafted 5/14, selkirk rootstock... ad nauseam..in the notes. A wire, ideally coated (electric ground wire is ideal) is punched through the tag and VERY loosely looped around a branch or graft. This process is easy, cheap, and forever. I know a number doesn't help in the field if you have a lot of varieties to remember, but the numbering system can be tree or graft specific. I routinely use an industrial sharpy (not the regular sharpy which fades quickly) on the other side of the tag, but if it fades (pencil does indeed last longest, but can rub off), I always have the punched number to rely on.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: labeling grafts
November 29, 2016 07:01AM
Fabio ,

Avery Lable has a weather proof address label #5520 . In Canada about $55 for 1500 labels . Use a laser printer to print . These I stick to either a regular gardening ID strip ( a plastic strip with a hole on one end so you can make a loop ) or my growers supply also had " cardboard " tags with wires to attach to plants or trees . I'm at 5yrs and counting . The mice were a little hard on the ones low enough to reach .

Re: labeling grafts
April 10, 2021 11:16AM
I found that aluminum foil duct tape makes handy labels for new grants in the nursery. It is quick to apply and the aluminum is easily embossed by pen or pencil. I use this over the wax tape I graft with, folding it back on itself to create the “tag.” These are replaced midseason with permanent labels on all successful grafts, and saves me the time of making permanent labels for grafts that don’t take. Some of my vinyl tags have cracked and blown off so I’ve switched to using heavy aluminum flashing with pencil, but I like the idea of punches. Rite in the Rain and Space Pens both have waterproof inks that literally write in all conditions, (raining, freezing, upside down,) I use them now in all my carpentry projects but haven’t yet given them the rest of time for long term plant labeling.
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