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Grafts not taking

Posted by Henry Jacobson 
Grafts not taking
July 15, 2017 10:33AM
Hello folks,

So I grafted way back in late April early May as I live in Wisconsin. Since I have only been grafting for 2 years I still have some questions that cannot be found in the Google Search engine. I have also observed some things that I find interesting with the apple trees and whatnot.

I'd say 60% of my apple trees that I grafted took. I have a young farmer friend who wanted 10 apple trees on M111 rootstock of Wolf River and his Duchess tree. So I split the varieties 5 and 5. Back in May I made the mistake of leaving the scions heeled in outside after having the callous heal in the barn. Here in Wisconsin we had a 13 day streak of no rain and really, really warm weather. In May. Some apple trees took right away and others not. I watered them every other day but still seemed to be drying out. So after that streak, I dug them up, put them in buckets, and gave them a good drink. I set them in the barn because it was cooler in there. Well it's mid-July and most of them actually popped in the barn. The cool temperature from the shade and the cool stone floor must do amazing things. Here's my question. I have some scions that have not taken but are still green. Why the heck are they doing this to me?

Thanks,
Henry Jacobson

Central Wisconsin Apple Rediscovery Project
New London, WI
Zone 5a
Re: Grafts not taking
July 31, 2017 10:56PM
Hi Henry,

It is also my second year at bench grafting. I bench grafted in early April. I left covered grafts sit in my refrigerator for about a month to 6 weeks. I then planted them in their permanent orchard homes between first and thirds weeks of May. I use tree tubes to protect scions years one and maybe two. Tree Tubes are 18" to 2-1/2' tall. I just finished weeding, pruning and checking grafts from this year. 90% of scions have taken. Scion-less root stock from last year was re-grafted early April 2017 and had 100% scion acceptance. All are doing well. This is a small sample size, however, - 6 grafts. I used rootstocks B9, G935, a little G202 and a little M111. I have watered once this year otherwise, we have had adequate rain. I grafted about 70 trees this year, most are cider and antique apple varieties.

Having them planted early during cooler weather seems advantageous to me. Next year I will plan refrigerator time more like 2 weeks and get grafts out during cooler weather. I suspect rootstock breed, varieties grafted, scion quality, weather, water, general timing of things and scion protection all play roles in graft survival. Some years are better than others.

I have noticed that some scion varieties are a slower to bud out than others. Could this be a reason for the green scion but not leafing yet?

Some thoughts.

Russ Martin
Zone 4b Extreme west Central Wisconsin Hager City, WI
Re: Grafts not taking
August 02, 2017 07:08PM
Hello Mr. Martin,

Great to hear you are starting an orchard here in Wisconsin! Some varieties are less vigorous than others so that could be one of the reasons. I planted them out behind the barn where during the morning up until maybe 11:00am they are protected from the sun but after that it's all sun until sundown. That was a week ago. We have had some pretty nasty hot and humid weather recently with no rain for about 5 days. I watered the scions everyday either in the morning before work or in the evening around 8:30pm. I noticed some buds just barely starting to leaf out with the rest of the scions above dried out. Maybe I should cut off the dry dead stuff on the scion and reseal it on top? Most of my varieties that I bench grafted were antique/heirloom varieties including some pretty rare varieties such as Ratzburg, Milwaukee, Pewaukee, and Yahnke. Other varieties I grafted for friends are Duchess of Oldenburgh, Wolf River, Fuji, Unknown, Wealthy, and Fallawater. I hope all of these scions make it because it is disheartening to tell your friend that their graft died. The deer are horrid this year.

Thanks,
Henry Jacobson

Central Wisconsin Apple Rediscovery Project
New London, WI
Zone 5a
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