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 Post subject: Grafting Question for Appledude
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:04 pm 
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Location: New Milford, PA
First I want to thank you for all the helpful info you have shared. I know I am not the only one who appreciates your sharing your long experience in grafting with us. Yesterday I practiced some cleft grafting with branches to simulate joining scions with seedling rootstock. It was great! I plan to do so “for real” this spring so as to create some pear and apple trees from purchased rootstock which I have potted up in 2 gallon pots. If I could beg your indulgence to answer, several questions come to mind

1. Considering how much easier is the cleft grafting method for joining seedling rootstock with scions as compared to the whip and tongue method, why does anyone even use the whip and tongue method? The whip and tongue is tricky and difficult to master while the cleft graft is a piece of cake to do. So why, then, do the experienced grafters generally use the tongue and groove. Surely it is not because they like to do more work. Is it because it makes a nicer looking union site?

2. If we are using Parafilm, would it be better still if we ALSO used some grafting wax or TreeKote seal prior to applying the Parafilm. I know many sources say it is not necessary but for those of us doing a small number of graftings - say 50-150 or so this spring - where labor is not a huge issue, would we gain anything by this extra measure of using both. I am very much anxious for my grafts to success and will do whatever it takes. It is not a whole lot more work to paint on some sealant or wax before applying the Parafilm. If you do advise us to use the the sealant, which is better TreeKote (or something comparable) or grafting wax. I have heard wax is VERY messy.

3. What is your opinion of the Omega Grafting Tool which forms key and lockhole cuts on the scion and rootstock respectively so that they join in jig-saw-like puzzle fashion. Is this tool worth the $55-$75 it costs?


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 Post subject: Re: Grafting Question for Appledude
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:25 am 
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First I want to thank you for all the helpful info you have shared. I know I am not the only one who appreciates your sharing your long experience in grafting with us. Yesterday I practiced some cleft grafting with branches to simulate joining scions with seedling rootstock. It was great! I plan to do so “for real” this spring so as to create some pear and apple trees from purchased rootstock which I have potted up in 2 gallon pots. If I could beg your indulgence to answer, several questions come to mind

Appledude: I hope you understand that potted plants need more attention over the summer than the same stocks put into the ground. I have done it both ways and prefer the ground. It stays cooler, moister, and doesn't need further transplanting with all the root disruptions. But you may have circumstances that require the pots etc.

1. Considering how much easier is the cleft grafting method for joining seedling rootstock with scions as compared to the whip and tongue method, why does anyone even use the whip and tongue method? The whip and tongue is tricky and difficult to master while the cleft graft is a piece of cake to do. So why, then, do the experienced grafters generally use the tongue and groove. Surely it is not because they like to do more work. Is it because it makes a nicer looking union site?

Appledude: I used to think the same thing. I would think "this whip & tongue thing is difficult, why do they do it?" The graft holds together very well, so it acts like a third hand for you, plus if done properly (and I have done a few properly by accident!) they heal flawlessly. Cleft grafts have the potential to be kinda ugly for a few years, and may need more attention if you have inserted two scions due to mismatch of scion and rootstock calipers. More to fuss with. A very good substitute (and less wood-trauma) for cleft grafting, without all the actual wood-splitting trauma, on limbs an inch or larger in diameter, is the BARK GRAFT. I love this graft. One vertical slice in the bark, a scion shaved on one side only, slide it in, tape it up, and you are done. Do it every 1.5 inches around the circumference of the stump to ensure no part of the stump dies back. Prune all scions back to one bud in the winter, leaving the best one to be your main branch. In 3 or 4 seasons, you can see that it is hard to detect your original graft. It is unbelievable to watch over time.

2. If we are using Parafilm, would it be better still if we ALSO used some grafting wax or TreeKote seal prior to applying the Parafilm. I know many sources say it is not necessary but for those of us doing a small number of graftings - say 50-150 or so this spring - where labor is not a huge issue, would we gain anything by this extra measure of using both. I am very much anxious for my grafts to success and will do whatever it takes. It is not a whole lot more work to paint on some sealant or wax before applying the Parafilm. If you do advise us to use the the sealant, which is better TreeKote (or something comparable) or grafting wax. I have heard wax is VERY messy.

Appledude: Well, you already have the parafilm, so you could just use it and be all set to go. You need not buy more stuff. Parafilm will hold all the scion moisture in, and you cannot possibly hold in more than that by painting any substance on. I personally prefer Doc Farwell grafting glue, but that is just me. Others like parafilm and have never considered the glue I use. Whatever it takes to seal the scion. Nope, I don't think you will gain anything by sealing with two materials. I think any of your anxiety about failing just stems from never having a success, due to never having done it. When you see that 99% of your grafts are growing, not only will you be elated (it's a high, really) but you will think "what was I so worried about?" !!! Get this springs grafting done with the rubbers and parafilm, then you can scheme away all next winter about all the waxes and treecotes! I bet you won't be buying them!

3. What is your opinion of the Omega Grafting Tool which forms key and lockhole cuts on the scion and rootstock respectively so that they join in jig-saw-like puzzle fashion. Is this tool worth the $55-$75 it costs?

Appledude: Glad you asked that. The omega tool is JUNK. junk junk junk. I ordered one from a famous nursery here in the Pacific NorthWest, it was a really nice looking, sturdily manufactored tool. Being too early to graft, I bonded to it by playing with it while watching TV in the evening, sometimes taking it to bed, laying it by my head or under the pillow, you know, the bonding thing little boys do when they have a shiney new toy! I tried a few practice cuts and discovered that the blade comes not pre-sharpened from the factory in Italy, but pre-dulled. I am not kidding. The factory puts zero effort into any degree of sharpness for the CURVED blades. And just try to sharpen a curved blade. I bought a diamond fish hook sharpener to try to sharpen the curved blade. It helped a little, but the tool still ended up mashing the bark. When I graft I want nice clean cuts. Not mashed bark. So I complained to the nice people who vended it to me. Apparently they do not have any feedback mechanism to the factory in Italy, so they merely sent me another unit. I was doubtful at this point. Sure enough, the new unit was just as dull, altho it looked very nice, and the concept is a good one. I made some apple grafts with it the first year, and noticed that whenever I lost a graft, there was a pretty good chance that the machine had been used. Now I just use a $3 Stanley sliding blade carpet-style knife. I think it is the 99E model or something. New blades are cheap, a single blade will last all summer, they are sharp as the dickens, and above all, the Stanley knife really works well. That's the thing that counts the most, that it works well. It does take a little practice to get nice flat cuts, but it is doable. The Stanley tends to want to make cuts that are not so flat (as in whip & tongue) but with practice you can learn how to make flat cuts. It's just a learning thing. The grafting knives of commerce that sell for $50 are only ground on one side, so that aids in making flat cuts. But they need to be hand sharpened etc. I just prefer the Stanley. I bet you cannot tell which knife I like by now!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:41 pm 
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Location: New Milford, PA
Appledude,

That response was VERY helpful. It makes a lot of sense. Now here is something I don't understand. In the whip and tongue graft, are you cutting out "little triangles" to make a tooth-like edge or are you simply putting slits the rootstock and scion at an angle horizontal to the cut surface and then forcing the two parts together - each one forced into the slot (slit) of the other?

I am sure the cleft grafts I plant to do will not be the prettiest in the world but they will take and exactly how "ugly" can they be? I suppose it is a consideration because I am planning to sell some of these trees as potted speciments but if it comes down to the fact that my graft union is too "unattractive," perhaps these folks do not need to be buying my trees in the first place. If they are looking for the perfect "appearing" tree, perhaps these are not folks I want as customers or future "parants" for my tree. Woudl they not be rather shallow?

Now, some of the trees I am creating will not be sold. They will, instead, be planted in my own orchard or else in a number of acres which I am refortesting. I am reforesting a huge track of land with conifers and fruit trees - nice combo, no?

Now this bark grafting you spoke of seems interesting enough. I have a question about that, as well. I have seen a video about it so I know what it is and how they do it. OK, I have on my farm what I suspect is an apple rootstock which grew into a mature tree and now bears knobby green inedible fruits. It may well be an EMLA or whatever rootstock which grew up. I recently called the Geneva research station and asked for a description of what EMLA 111 grows into and they gave a very close description of the fruit from this tree!. So I am thinking it was once a grafted apple tree wherein the top died and the rootstock continued to grow.

It is now a mature, fairly big tree. We have talked about cutting it down and replacing it with a desirable apple tree but now that brought up the subject, I am wondering about bark grafting it, instead. Of course the tree has certain value as a pollinator but my treeline is filled with many volunteer apple trees and I have many varieties of desirable cultivars so I don't really need this rootstock tree as a pollinator and it is taking up a prime spot on the farm. It is in just about the most desirable spot for purposes of an apple tree. If it was on the tree line, I wouldn't dream of taking it down but it is occupying prime real estate apple-wise, so to speak.

What would any advantages of bark grafting it versus simply removing it altogether and replacing it with a desirable apple tree. Will the bark grafts bear fruit any sooner than if I simply put in a new tree in its place. If I removed this mature "rootstock tree" could I not plant another tree near the stump say perhaps 4 -5 feet away. Speaking of this "rootstock tree," I can see where the original tree has died and the (now mature) current tree has grown up from the stump. It is obvious enough concerning what happened. There is even a pile of very old chain-saw cut wood neatly stacked next to the trunk of this tree. Someone obviously cut down a very old apple tree and stacked the wood. Meanwhile, the current tree seems to have grown up from the stump. Given the nature of the fruit, I would seem rootstock and not original tree unless someone specifically liked knobby little green fruits about 2-2.5 inches or so in diameter. I can't recall if it was russetted but probably there was some.

I also have a pear tree wherein the rootstock grew up, as well and there are two different pear trees in the same spot. Neither seems to bear anything edible although they both flower profusely. Apparently they do not pollinate one another because they are covered with blooms and minature tiny pears but nothing ever comes of them. They all drop down after a few weeks and never develop save a very few which turn into small sized russetted pears perhaps 2-2.5 inches in diameter and VERY hard.

Now here is an interesting question for you. It is well known that when any old tree is cut down spouts ofen come up from the stump. Let's forget about grafte trees for the moment and assume that xyz tree grew from its own roots as a seedling. It dies (or it is cut down) and several sprouts grow from the stump, each of which is capable of developing into a whole new tree. Now does not th is process effectively mean that the original tree somewhat immortal? The spout(s) are going to grow into a tree which will have a (long) lifespan similar to the parant and could not this very same process go on indefinitely. I don't mean to be melodramatic but I have often wondered about this very thing. What do you think?

Lois


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:17 am 
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That response was VERY helpful. It makes a lot of sense. Now here is something I don't understand. In the whip and tongue graft, are you cutting out "little triangles" to make a tooth-like edge or are you simply putting slits the rootstock and scion at an angle horizontal to the cut surface and then forcing the two parts together - each one forced into the slot (slit) of the other?

Appledude: The back cuts match when you slide to two together. The tension of the wood helps hold the whole thing together while you put tape on, scratch your back, whatever. After a certain point of explaining, I just run out of words and would rather show you! I wish you knew somebody local to you that could show you. If you look on another thread I posted on, there were given several grafting links. One or more of them had some pretty good illustrations. Have you looked at them?

I am sure the cleft grafts I plan to do will not be the prettiest in the world but they will take and exactly how "ugly" can they be? I suppose it is a consideration because I am planning to sell some of these trees as potted speciments but if it comes down to the fact that my graft union is too "unattractive," perhaps these folks do not need to be buying my trees in the first place. If they are looking for the perfect "appearing" tree, perhaps these are not folks I want as customers or future "parants" for my tree. Woudl they not be rather shallow?

Appledude: Your grafts will NOT look ugly in your eyes, because they are your babies, plus it seems like a total miracle! I do have an idea though, about "dressing up" some pretty ragged looking grafts. -- The Doc Farwell glue I get from a farmstore comes in either gray or green. You could get a bottle of green stuff, and after the grafting tapes/parafilms etc come off, coat the whole union area with some of this green glue. It would serve to dress it up a bit, but more importantly it will seal in any moisture being lost thru raw tissues. I had a grafted tree that suckered and suckered below the graft union for months until I dressed the union with this glue stuff, and then the tree immediately stopped suckering and all went well from that point forward. Apparently the wound was leaking too much moisture to the atmosphere, the graft was merely surviving instead of dominating, and the rootstock wanted to get on with life, and sent out copious suckerage. One the scion was able to stop losing moisture at the graft union, it quickly dominated the whole plant and took over. That was summer of 2006. It is now around 8 feet tall with no more suckers. So you could say that the glue was instrumental in correcting a bad, ugly looking graft union that was actually defective!

Now, some of the trees I am creating will not be sold. They will, instead, be planted in my own orchard or else in a number of acres which I am reforesting. I am reforesting a huge tract of land with conifers and fruit trees - nice combo, no?

Appledude: cool! Go heavy on fruit trees! Make your own property pretty first tho -- that is my opinion.

Now this bark grafting you spoke of seems interesting enough. I have a question about that, as well. I have seen a video about it so I know what it is and how they do it. OK, I have on my farm what I suspect is an apple rootstock which grew into a mature tree and now bears knobby green inedible fruits. It may well be an EMLA or whatever rootstock which grew up. I recently called the Geneva research station and asked for a description of what EMLA 111 grows into and they gave a very close description of the fruit from this tree!. So I am thinking it was once a grafted apple tree wherein the top died and the rootstock continued to grow.
It is now a mature, fairly big tree. We have talked about cutting it down and replacing it with a desirable apple tree but now that brought up the subject, I am wondering about bark grafting it, instead. Of course the tree has certain value as a pollinator but my treeline is filled with many volunteer apple trees and I have many varieties of desirable cultivars so I don't really need this rootstock tree as a pollinator and it is taking up a prime spot on the farm. It is in just about the most desirable spot for purposes of an apple tree. If it was on the tree line, I wouldn't dream of taking it down but it is occupying prime real estate apple-wise, so to speak.
What would any advantages of bark grafting it versus simply removing it altogether and replacing it with a desirable apple tree?

Appledude: You could (I have done this) make a nice horizontal cut with a chainsaw about one or two feet up, when it leafs out this spring. Then you would insert scions every 2 inches or so all around the circumference. This keeps the bark alive all around the stump and provides lots of healing action by which the stump will be totally re-covered with bark from scionage. In ten years worth of time you can hardly detect that this operation has even occurred!!
The advantage is that you already have a huge root system in place, just waiting to drive your scions toward the sky. It's alot different than starting with a bench grafted rootstock. I have had individual scions go 12 feet before, done in this manner, on a plum tree. Lots of root reserve = lots of growth. So in 3 or 4 years time, the scion would be fruiting for you, but it would also be much large a structure than simply starting over with a small rootstock. I always say "why waste the root?"

Will the bark grafts bear fruit any sooner than if I simply put in a new tree in its place. If I removed this mature "rootstock tree" could I not plant another tree near the stump say perhaps 4 -5 feet away. Speaking of this "rootstock tree," I can see where the original tree has died and the (now mature) current tree has grown up from the stump. It is obvious enough concerning what happened. There is even a pile of very old chain-saw cut wood neatly stacked next to the trunk of this tree. Someone obviously cut down a very old apple tree and stacked the wood. Meanwhile, the current tree seems to have grown up from the stump. Given the nature of the fruit, I would seem rootstock and not original tree unless someone specifically liked knobby little green fruits about 2-2.5 inches or so in diameter. I can't recall if it was russetted but probably there was some.

Appledude: It might not bear sooner, but it will bear more volume in the same amount of time as a newly planted stock. If there is no major rot on the current rootstock, I would say go for it. If it looks all decayed and rotten, you'd want to start over. That is my opinion without ever having seen it!

I also have a pear tree wherein the rootstock grew up, as well and there are two different pear trees in the same spot. Neither seems to bear anything edible although they both flower profusely. Apparently they do not pollinate one another because they are covered with blooms and minature tiny pears but nothing ever comes of them. They all drop down after a few weeks and never develop save a very few which turn into small sized russetted pears perhaps 2-2.5 inches in diameter and VERY hard.

Appledude: That sounds like a natural place to install two kinds of pears that will pollinate each other! You would have to make choices of disease resistant cultivars tho, as I hear fireblight is bad in some parts of the east. Bark grafting to these two pears of yours would be quite simple and graftifying, much like the mature apple I want you to stump off and bark graft! Warning: once this grafting stuff gets in your bloodstream, you will never be the same!

Now here is an interesting question for you. It is well known that when any old tree is cut down sprouts ofen come up from the stump. Let's forget about grafting trees for the moment and assume that xyz tree grew from its own roots as a seedling. It dies (or it is cut down) and several sprouts grow from the stump, each of which is capable of developing into a whole new tree. Now does not this process effectively mean that the original tree somewhat immortal? The spout(s) are going to grow into a tree which will have a (long) lifespan similar to the parant and could not this very same process go on indefinitely. I don't mean to be melodramatic but I have often wondered about this very thing. What do you think?

Appledude: as long as the roots don't die, and as long as there is leaves on the top, above ground, the tree is going to be "immortal"! There are some bristlecone pines that meet those qualifications that are over 4000 years old. That seems immortal to me! I think with fruit trees though, that the soil becomes depleted after awhile of people constantly taking wood away and burning it, taking fruit away and flushing it into leach fields, and raking leaves up in the fall and sending them to the dump. You keep taking away nutrients for 200 years, and I see where an apple tree could go into a long protracted senesence. The reverse of that would be to put all your chipped up applewood trimmings around the drip line of the mature tree, adding human waste as well, and making use of the leaves, instead of removing all these things. My guess is that the tree would be much healthier over the long term, maybe living 300 years or more. I know there are pear trees that old. Some species do better than others.

Back in the really olden days, people did slop their gardens with human waste. I bet they had fantastic tree health back then too.

Another thought, some heritage apples seem to have descended to us from Roman times. As scions. So that is another form of immortality for a plant. Be good enough that humans want to propagate and share you around!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:38 am 
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Location: New Milford, PA
Appledude,

I got it! I saw a video and I see how the whip and tongue is done. I will practice a bit and see if I can make it happen - otherwise it is the cleft grafting for me. It does not look too hard actually.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:58 am 
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LEB wrote:
Appledude,

I got it! I saw a video and I see how the whip and tongue is done. I will practice a bit and see if I can make it happen - otherwise it is the cleft grafting for me. It does not look too hard actually.


I personally like the whip and tongue, but I am sure the regular whip graft works just fine if you get a side or two to line up and you are nimble and fast. Lots of people use that method. But when I am on a teetering ladder, and my grafting kit is wobbling at anywhere from 6 to 15 feet, threatening to spill all my little tools and stuff all over the ground, me included, and I am reaching for a little tape to make a graft hold together, you can bet the whip & tongue comes in very handy. I can let go of it and it stays put!

Good for you -- watching a video. That must be one of the perks of working at a university! :D Try to find a bark grafting video next. I guarantee you will like it. They should really put stuff like this on PBS, don't you think?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:11 am 
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Appledude,

I am really psyched about this grafting business. There is something extraordinarily gratifying about "making" trees. So how did you get into all of this stuff? You obviously know quite a bit about it. Also, where exactly do you find all these "wild" apples you reference?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:48 am 
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LEB wrote:
Appledude,

I am really psyched about this grafting business. There is something extraordinarily gratifying about "making" trees. So how did you get into all of this stuff? You obviously know quite a bit about it. Also, where exactly do you find all these "wild" apples you reference?


Yes, because trees are so permanent, compared to us as individuals. We will be dead in 50 years, but our apples may live on for much longer. I posted a bit of how I got interested in apples and how I find them over here:
http://www.orangepippin.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=80


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 Post subject: Re: Grafting Question for Appledude
PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Is there anyway to post videos on the forum to demonstrate these various trimming techniques? I'm a novice and plan on trying to grow some apple trees this year. It would be great to see some videos on how to take my apple trees from seedlings to full grown trees.

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 Post subject: Re: Grafting Question for Appledude
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:00 pm 
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applebiggy wrote:
Is there anyway to post videos on the forum to demonstrate these various trimming techniques? I'm a novice and plan on trying to grow some apple trees this year. It would be great to see some videos on how to take my apple trees from seedlings to full grown trees.


I hate to send you to another website, but U-toob has some interesting sequences.

I know what you mean too, because it was a little hazy for me too until I saw some grafting done in person, right in front of me. Then it all made perfect sense!

I don't think Scott has made hardrive room for people to be posting videos, but I could be wrong!

Be super careful not to catch this apple disease. Once you get it your garden will be over run with your apple projects, and one never seems to recover from it!


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 Post subject: Re: Grafting Question for Appledude
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 1:30 pm 
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I really enjoyed videos from "UMass Fruit Advisor" on YouTube, I learned a lot from his techniques. I hope that helps.

Darel

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