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Adventures in grafting

I've been noodling about in the orchard / forest garden nearby, and come away with some clippings to try grafting. I want a branch of a different variety on each of my trees to ensure pollination. The fact that nothing in the orchard was labelled makes this more interesting!

I went for bud grafts, and it seemed very simple so now I'm waiting to see what I've done wrong...

Is this a good time of year for it?

I believe for bud grafting you typically want to do it in the early spring when the bark slips easily.

But you never know what will take, so perhaps there will be a lucky one or two! And a good practice run for next spring if they don't take.

Ye olde RHS book said "midsummer" so I'm not stupidly far off, especially given weather.

I did daub the spare stems with rooting powder to try cuttings too Laughing

I haven't really done any myself, except a citrus in a class once, and that was early spring, but looking it up now I see that you're dead on and I was wrong Very Happy

Keep us posted on the progress!

The buds are all sprouting, and I'm trying to decide whether this is from any sort of stored energy or whether they have taken so quickly??

They should have some stored energy, but all of the cells for the new leaves have already been made (in preparation for next year). The cells sort of get "inflated" with water pressure, which wouldn't happen if there wasn't some flow through from the stem, so congrats! Sounds like early indications of probable success!

It surely can't be that simple!

Also I'll end up with far too many if they ALL take Laughing

Fingers crossed though. When do you think I'll know, and when can I take off the supporting tape/wrap?

If you used something like parafilm (my preference) than you can just leave it on for the plant to force off as it grows.

Notice that I said an early indicator, not a proof positive! I'd leave them unmolested for at least a couple weeks before poking about to see which have really made it. And I wouldn't worry about having too many until you know which have made it through winter!

If you used something like parafilm (my preference) than you can just leave it on for the plant to force off as it grows.

Is parafilm parafilm or are there different types?

It looks like it gets marketed differently than the laboratory stuff, but I don't know that it is any different..... dontknow

(I may have used sticky tape)

Mistress Rose

Some sticky tapes are quite flexible and will probably do the job all right. It is the ones that won't stretch and form that might not work. Sounds as if yours has worked at present anyway.

(I may have used sticky tape)

Ordinary stick tape will probably get water behind it and fall off. As long as that happens after the graft has taken, it should be fine.

When y'all say sticky tape, is that the same thing that we would call Scotch tape, or "invisible tape"? Hairyloon

When y'all say sticky tape, is that the same thing that we would call Scotch tape, or "invisible tape"?

Ah, "sticky tape" covers all manner of things. I'd taken it to mean sellotape (tm?) or similar.
Scotch tape is something slightly different.

Yes, sellotape. Old enough to be a bit less sticky but still quite sticky. sean

Sellotape degrades on it's own given time so you should be fine I think.
@HL I *think* that Scotch tape in the US is pretty much like Sellotape here in that it's the same sort of stuff just a different brand name has become generic IYSWIM.
Mistress Rose

Yes, they are both trade names. I was once confused by a special tape we used at work made by the Minnesota Mining and Mineral Company. Turned out we usually call it 3M. Very Happy Slim

I thought the old "Scotch = cheap" joke was transAtlantic anyway, isn't it? Laughing (that's where the name for the tape came from)

My grandfather always called people watching "Scotch movies"
Mistress Rose

Yes, we can get Scotch tape too, but the most popular brand, and therefore the name most often used in the UK is Sellotape. NorthernMonkeyGirl

Some of the "ehhh, worth a go" grafts have dried up already, the others still look suspiciously green.
Also someone was being "helpful" and cleared away the pot of cuttings. Oh well! Plenty of source material.

I got some parafilm tape today... dpack



it still didn’t find me a decent source of a roll or two of parafilm grafting tape Laughing

Ye olde RHS book said "midsummer" so I'm not stupidly far off, especially given weather.
Thanks for the reminder: I'd got my head stuck in the idea that it was a spring thing.
Maybe that's apples?

as far as i can gather different techniques are suitable at different times of year and there is something for most of the time which does mean if you have rootstocks readily available ( ha ha ha ha ) a few bits of a donor can be collected at any time

now about a uk source of genuine parafilm grafting tape.....

My experiments failed delightfully Mistress Rose

NMG, is a 'delightful' failure a better failure than a 'complete' one? Laughing gregotyn

If at first you don't etc.-give it another try! buzzy

Sellotape degrades on it's own given time so you should be fine I think.
@HL I *think* that Scotch tape in the US is pretty much like Sellotape here in that it's the same sort of stuff just a different brand name has become generic IYSWIM.

Depends on the conditions. Sometimes Sellotape just goes very hard. The adhesive degrades and does horrible things to paper.


as far as i can gather different techniques are suitable at different times of year...

So what type of tecnique/plants should we be grafting now?
Has anyone here tried grafting pear onto hawthorn? I'm told it can be done...

What else can graft onto what? I know apples to apples and plums to plums, but is there something a bit odd like peach onto cherry? I recall at least one other combination that surprised me.

cucumber onto pumpkin. not very odd, increases crop and reduces salt intolerance so extra feeding helps rather than hinders.

adding a second pumpkin plant to supplement the first for super giant specimen growing. sneaky but effective.

i will get back to you re fruit trees when i have done more reading.

UK parafilm:

I'm sure it's not all on all, but I think many stone fruit can be squished together:

thanks, i dont know why i did not see that on amazon Embarassed Slim

It's a bit spendy still....
probably cheaper to buy through someone who already gets a discount for their lab supplies

For those who've never used parafilm before, remember that it stretches it to many times it's size, so "a dab'll do ya".

first graft taken and is now putting out leaves Cool

the two that were a fortnight later might still be settling and uniting ( they might not )

cancel that , the first graft was dead and the rootstock was putting out leaves from beneath the deceased Embarassed Slim

d'oh! dpack

on the bright side it is a fresh green shoot for a rooting experiment Laughing Mistress Rose

That's a pity. Have another go at the right time of year. dpack

a 4 yr old mm111 rootstock in a pot will become a mother plant for greenwood shoots if fairly savagely pruned and then nursed and pampered Cool

getting 1 0f 10 from seaweed based rooting powder using semi hardwood cuttings in late spring. educational.

i have 3 small batches of various types of cuttings in 200mg/l I3BA and cut flower feed mix.
in 24 hrs they will get potted on into sterile cutting compost
they are in a propagator.

it is a mid range concentration for slowish soak and the only variable is the type of stick in the splosh. cunning Wink

biopunk horticulture is fun.

as the mothers can be persuaded to produce nice green shoots i recon i could go micro culture if needs be.
or root em from being earthed up if there is a suitable location .

a free supply of " new " rootstocks seems like a good idea if adventures in grafting "unknown" old apples might happen .

the skill is transferable if it doesn’t Laughing

So what sort of grafting technique is best for this time of year?
I have cherries, plums, apples and pears to play with...

roostock preparation ready for dormant period styles. Wink

the cuttings are all planted, the youngest shoots look a bit chemically challenged but the older and semi hardwood ones look quite perky so far.

those did not go too well Rolling Eyes

the summer rootstock twigs casually pushed into damp soil still seem alive Laughing

today i collected , the little russet, the horizontal one i did the serious prune on, a rather nice high acid cooker that keeps, a cooker then eater and a rather spiffing pear that is ripe for a day.

all unidentified although we have tried in the right places

i have plenty of suitable rootstock, tools ,film etc.

wonder what might happen Laughing Laughing

an unknown russet graft from before has definitely taken and needs a bit of tlc in the soil department

the twigs to provide the scions are now in a bag outside to stay quiet until tomorrow which is likely to be frankentree city and needs decent light.

i dont know what your microclimates are but my pear root stock has just started to show green from the buds and all of the scion material looks ready to go.
Mistress Rose

Our apples aren't showing too much sign at the moment, and we don't have pears, but they are behind a hedge to the immediate south of them, so probably not long. dpack

about 10 in assorted styles onto 5 maturing rootstocks.
that covers the pear and 3 types of apple so tomorrow i have 2 more types to do

one of the rootstocks was ideal as there were 3 perfect branches that matched scion twigs so they got a rather tidy end to end angled cut and shut

the rest were a mix of slips and custom insets. some of the rootstocks are a bit gnarly Rolling Eyes

i will report back on survival etc Laughing

ps the japanese knife is ace now i have started to give it a properly sharpened edge and it has a knot whipped handle Very Happy
white paper metal, beaten, tempered and given a half decent bench hone by the maker, nowt wrong with self steel if it is good quality and the right sort for that tool.

the handedness of the cut is both perfect and a bit awkward when working on a small gnarly tree in a pot cut, as a table knife for twig surgery is is fairly easy to use.
better than a centre edged blade
the angles seem about right for green bark and wood

a few days with the water stones might get a very nice edge

i was a bit dubious about it at first but i am warming to the simplicity and function.

i just found that one of the rootstocks has 2 successful grafts from last year Cool
i was looking to see if it was a suitable host and spotted them so that makes two new trees so far, new from old and unidentified but new to this collection.
trimmed to allow the scions to thrive.

i can think of a few hundred old fruit trees round york, most are pretty easy to id once you check the relevant "popular" types from the estimated planting dates but there are some that nobody seems to be able to name so far.

if i expand a bit chances are i will hear of plenty others but for the mo i will stick to one hospital site until i get those bagged.

back to the surgeons bench Laughing

if i do apples and pears ( if i can ) i needs somebody to do the plums, gages and damsons and bullace.

the york historic collection is extensive and includes loads i have never seen before.
at a guess there must be a few hundred that i know of.

the hedge rows at the edge of the ridge and furrow that have survived are rich in "rustic " prunus as are remnants of estate/field hedges.

1950 years as a city and a place collects fruit tree genetics Cool
Mistress Rose

I know that our local country park had some crab apples identified and found they had they had some unknown varieties. You may well have the same. dpack

i can think of a crab hedge about 100 yrs old with 30 varieties in a 100 yards.

a deliberate planting of no two the same Cool

the small prunus things are both planted and wildings. there are lots of varieties.

the prunus cultivars in the remnants of orchards and gardens are quite varied and less than 50% identified.

york has been a international port, national road hub and a prosperous walled city for rather a long time, include a few miles around the walls and it is far more biodiverse than many patches the same size.
that goes for the full spectrum of bio ( that can find a microclimate suitable for them ) but it is very noticeable with plants that folk have cultivated or welcomed as wildings.

leaving out the roman, scandi and norman influences ( which do show in the biological census ) the trade and wealth of the middle ages until now has brought a huge selection of plants to a smallish place.
it seems plausible that many of the unknown fruit trees are locally grafted from older genetics by or for whoever planted them.

ed grafting has been around for a very long time so some of the genetics could be a lot older than the old trees,
for example the apple i recon is about 250 to 300 yrs old is a graft onto a rootstock so it was taken from a previous tree ( posh house, walled garden, just a corner of 2 walls standing, reused as part of the 18th/19th/20 c hospital grounds .)

the pear i nipped is from the same place, 3 very old trunks against the wall. possibly fan trained originally? but now a bit tall and quite stout of trunk with assorted branches.
Mistress Rose

Nice to keep the old varieties going. Some of the crosses might be interesting too. That was how the original Cox started if I remember rightly. dpack

pear , not grafted, perhaps timing was a major issue as the scions were 2 weeks ahead of the rootstock.

2 unknown apples from previous grafts have taken, one is now sole leaf bearer, the other has two scions as leaf bearers and has healthy flowers.
that was 2 out of twenty but not by me, i got the frankenfurter rootstocks free as part of a job lot of trees

of this seasons apples from six varieties on 6 rootstocks, 2 look healthy, 2 are struggling a bit and 2 don't look at all promising although they are still trying .

as i made several grafts to most rootstocks i would have thought that style would have been a factor.
i might have underestimated other factors such as compatibility of timing ( twigs in the fridge next time , scion vigour ( most of the donors must be well into their second century, one and the pear might be into their third Rolling Eyes ) although age is not a direct measure of scion vigour in the case of one of the very old cookers which looks well happy so far.

some of the rootstocks have been pruned for earthing up or layering so i am hoping to self raise future rootstocks but next winter i recon i will buy some nice undamaged young ones and try old onto very new.

last one alive is the one that looked least promising Laughing see how it goes

one of the two from before is looking good , the other was looking good but has just been deverminified with a starter of nice shampoo and a hose powered mist at close range then after uncurling each leaf more foam wait hose

deverminified it is a word, even my spell checker dictionary knows it now
Mistress Rose

Not the most common word in the dictionary. Hope it works. dpack

the current inventory is one of this years seems to be doing ok, good scar and decent growth.

the others of this years failed to take.

2 from previous are alive and taking over the rootstocks

one of the two previous is a bit unusual, i have no idea what it is, hopefully that may become clear later, it is a very old type.
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