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Doc Farwell's only in gallon?
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ericwalls
Gresham
13 Posts
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March 17, 2020 - 8:34 am

I'm trying to locate some grafting seal in a smaller quantity than a gallon. Seams most folks use the Doc Farwell's sealer. I plan grafting after 5-10 scions and don't need an entire gallon. Any ideas where to purchase a smaller amount? I hate having to purchase it by the gallon.

Eric

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Pugs
40 Posts
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March 17, 2020 - 10:05 am

Unless you can find someone to share from their gallon, it isn't available in less than a gallon.

You can use Doc Farwell's Seal and Heal, the green stuff.  Oregon Bag Company in Canby has it in quart bottles.  I understand it takes longer to set up, but works.

I've thought of getting a gallon and dividing it up into pints, and selling them for a little more than cost, but with trying my best to social isolate, ain't going to happen any time soon.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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March 17, 2020 - 10:16 am

Eric, you can get it on Amazon but that brand is very expensive.  There are some other brands there too.

What type of grafting are you doing?  Would a wrap method work for you?  I do a lot of whip-and-tongue with pencil-diameter or half that.  I use a method that involves cutting approx 3/4" wide strips from ziplick freezer bags.  I wrap very firmly and tight, so the cut surfaces are firmly touching.  Last year I had 10 of 11 apple grafts take, 3 of 3 plums, 4 of 4 quince take, using that method.  Only 1 of 4 kiwi took.

I can post more detail if that is helpful.

Just in case, here is some peach I did this week.

peach graft

Then wrapped with zip lock bag strips.  This is as tight and smooth as I can do without breaking the strip.

peach graft step 2

Then I wrap the top with parafilm or thinner plastic strips to prevent dehydration.

peach graft step 3

If that is helpful, or interested, I can give more detail.  Every grafter has their own way, and I don't know if this is for you.  It is much cheaper than a gallon of pruning seal (free - Im re-using the plastic bags).

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ericwalls
Gresham
13 Posts
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4
March 17, 2020 - 6:54 pm

Nice grafts!  This is really my first year and I plan on mostly doing whip and tongue, and maybe a cleft graft to a bigger tree. I was only going to do about 5-6 grafts. Wanted to add some cider varieties to my trees.

I do have some parafilm but at the grafting class they dipped the top cut in sealer. I have an old can of sprayable pruning sealer, would that work?   

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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5
March 17, 2020 - 8:05 pm

Thanks.

The reason I use the zip lock freezer bag plastic strips, is I can stretch it tighter than I can parafilm, and apply uniform pressure across the entire graft union.  The parafilm has a breakage point with less tight binding, compared to the plastic.  So, I use the plastic strips for binding the graft union together.  First, I tie the plastic around the graft, lower than the graft itself.  Then I wind it tightly to up a little above the top of the graft, then wind it back down to below the graft to the knot, and tie again.  That binds the graft over a wide area, so it doesn't girdle the graft.

The second part I do with the parafilm.  I stretch the parafilm over the exposed top cut, wind it down, then again up and stretch it over the top.

This is probably a lot more effort than the commercial people do.  They don't have the time, but I like the result and the materials are free.

I wish I could show you in person but I am in self quarantine right now and am over 60, which in WA means I have to isolate anyway.  I'm not good at explaining but I'm pretty good at showing.

I suspect it would be fine to use the sprayable sealer.  I hope others chime in.  I have thought about using it, but have not.

One disadvantage is the plastic needs to be cut off when the graft has fully healed.  I do that when there is about a foot of growth.  To be honest, I've forgotten a couple and discovered them the next winter.  The stem is a bit constricted by binding it so long, but they seem to grow fine anyway if I cut it off then.  Spray, of course, doesn't need to be cut off.

Apple is very forgiving.  I think I've done about 25 apple grafts and only a couple didn't take. 

I found a couple more photos from previous years.

This is what I do first with the plastic strip, tie it below the graft.

grafting with plastic strip

Then I flatten the strip, wind tightly until it's wound above the graft, then wind back down and tie the strip at the same knot as before.  I pull it quite tight.  This plastic has a "give" point, where it tears.  It takes a little practice to know just how tight you can make it.

graft step 2

Then use less sturdy wrap such as parafilm or thinner plastic for the top, to prevent dehydration.  That's not as tightly bound as the graft winding.  I think that's where you could use tree-kote or something similar just as well.

gradft%2B2%2Bbetter.jpg

This is a different apple, but still the same method, at two months later.

whip and tongue graft healed

I hope that's helpful EricSmile

I've seen people use stretchy electrical tape on cleft grafts.  I haven't done it so I can't give experience on that.

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ericwalls
Gresham
13 Posts
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March 19, 2020 - 8:31 am

Thank you for the great detail and the picts. That helps a lot. I am somewhat sheltered in place as well, had a hip replacement a few months back, and I don't want to risk any infection.

When I was a kid we had a great garden and my dad tried his hand at grafting. Some worked, some didn't. He tried to teach me, but being a kid I was much more interested in other things than growing fruit trees. Guess Dad was always right and now I wish I would have paid more attention. 

When I get the scions I'll make sure to wrap them tight and give plenty of surface area for the grafts to join. Think I'll use that spray and apply a light coating and at the tip of the cut scion.

How is your luck with grafting and growing peaches? I know they are tough to grow here but I have a small Oregon Curl free, and I'd like to graft another variety. It doesn't produce a ton of fruit but I love going out and picking a peach off my own tree!

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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March 19, 2020 - 8:51 am

Eric, thanks for your response.

My dad was also handy with gardening, woodworking, making stuff, and I learned a lot from him.  Being handy connects me to his memory, although he didn't graft.  He would be interested if I could have showed him, and proud that I can do it.

If you like tools, some people like the Zenport grafting tool.  I like being able to use a knife, and take some pride in that.  Plus I don't make enough grafts to justify buying that expensive tool. I  learned at the HOS grafting class maybe seven years ago.  I learned using the plastic strips via the internet.

As for peaches, I have tried many varieties.  They mostly fail to thrive, or die due to peach leaf curl.  I do not like to spray.  This year I sprayed with copper oil spray anyway.  Of the ones I have tried, Oregon Curl Free has been the most resistant to leaf curl.  The peaches were small but delicious.  My OCF peach tree died of canker.  A seedling from that tree is five years old, so far almost no leaf curl, maybe five leaves affected last year.  Peach is harder for me to graft, but I want to reproduce that tree so bought some Lovell rootstock and giving it a try this year.  Peaches would make for  whole topic on their own, very worthwhile I think.  I don't know why I think peach is harder to graft, plums and cherries are easy so maybe I haven't tried enough.

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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8
March 20, 2020 - 12:43 pm

Hi Eric,

Last year I had the same problem so I bought some tree seal and grafting compound from Ace Hardware. They sold it in quart containers, which was more of a size that I wanted. It was black, so don't wear your church clothes. It worked well for me.
JohN S
PDX OR

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ericwalls
Gresham
13 Posts
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9
March 21, 2020 - 4:10 pm

Wish they would sell it in a smaller size. One gallon would last me more than a lifetime. I was hoping I could find someone selling some kind of graft seal at the scion exchange. I'll use whats left of my my spray pruning sealer. Only plan on doing a few grafts.

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
(Offline)
10
March 21, 2020 - 4:46 pm

Like I said, the stuff at Ace is in quarts.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
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11
March 22, 2020 - 5:04 pm

Hey folks,

I really like Doc Farwell's for grafting.  It's what I use.  After seeing ericwalls' posting a couple of days ago, I immediately googled Doc Farwell's to see what was available.  I was very surprised to see that the smallest size available was the 1 gallon size.  Perhaps some 18 years ago, the size that I was able to acquire was probably an Imperial British "cup".  At that time it was a light yellow.  The next time that I needed to acquire more, I couldn't get anything other than a "pint" (half quart).  This time it was a very light green.  The stuff goes a long way, (so it's what I still use.)  Helpful hint:  The first time that you open the container, use your finger to rub a fine layer of vaseline onto the top and threads of the plastic jar, so that the top can be screwed back on and still removed without getting "glued shut"...

There is either an incredibly high demand for the product (--no doubt from the big commercial growers), or the manufacturers have found that there just isn't sufficient demand for the smaller sizes to make it worth their while.  Gotta have amateur grafters active enough to make it worth their while to sell it in smaller (--more rational--) quantities.  

My supply should last for some years more, but if I run out... I'll not be happy about having to purchase a gol'dang gallon!

Reinettes

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Pugs
40 Posts
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12
March 23, 2020 - 8:45 am

Reinettes said
Hey folks,

...  Helpful hint:  The first time that you open the container, use your finger to rub a fine layer of vaseline onto the top and threads of the plastic jar, so that the top can be screwed back on and still removed without getting "glued shut"...

Thanks for that.  The bottle/jar of the green stuff I bought, well, I can't open it.  Seems it is already glued shut.  Any ideas on how to open it?

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
(Offline)
13
March 23, 2020 - 4:23 pm

I have hit the top with a stick or hammer, and "broken" the seal.  Careful that you don't break the top itself.

JohN S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
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14
March 25, 2020 - 5:21 pm

Boy,... When it comes to the day when you want to graft and can't get the darn grafting seal container open... one is led to desperate measures.  More often than not, the dread is two-fold:  you need it to graft scions or buds while they're still viable, and you paid good money for the stuff and don't want to waste the quantity remaining that is being held hostage from you!

If memory serves, in that desperate moment with my first small bottle, I finally ended-up getting a box cutter with a double-thick blade and just cut the top off.  Consequently, I was able to use what I had purchased but couldn't reasonably preserve the remainder for the next year.  The next year, I bought the next available bottle, which was now larger, given that the previous size was no longer available.

Lesson learned, but still with the peril of a jar-lid potentially sealing.  Careful as I had been, it was still hard to unscrew the cap the next year.  I used the can opener blade on my Swiss army knife to "jimmy" the lid all the way around to loosen the grip of any dried sealer on the threads.  I was finally able to get the top off for needed use.  That's when I hit upon the thin layer of vaseline to prevent a plastic-to-plastic seal in the threads, for which the grafting seal was doing a great job on a job I didn't want it to do.

I pass on the info so that there will be less cursing in the world, and less wasted grafting seal.  🙂

Reinettes

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
(Offline)
15
March 25, 2020 - 8:01 pm

I have been using this storage technique lifted from others: a plastic bag, or remnant of one, laid flat, large enough to cover the opening and the screw threads entirely. Screw your cap on as usual, using that membrane as gasket. Disassembly has been easily accomplished even with some drips and dribbles of DF not quite wiped away and worse... before closing.   Not maybe quite as tidy, but quite effective.

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
(Offline)
16
March 26, 2020 - 9:46 pm

I love these handy hints. I have used so many over the years that I have forgotten where they all came from, but I still love them.
John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
17
March 27, 2020 - 3:50 pm

sweepbjames said
I have been using this storage technique lifted from others: a plastic bag, or remnant of one, laid flat, large enough to cover the opening and the screw threads entirely. Screw your cap on as usual, using that membrane as gasket. Disassembly has been easily accomplished even with some drips and dribbles of DF not quite wiped away and worse... before closing.   Not maybe quite as tidy, but quite effective.  

Sweep's idea certainly makes sense.  Wish I'd thought of it, given that we have a roll of Saran Wrap (R) sitting in a drawer that we never use.  Desperation + Panic = Anything that might successfully do the job.  Perhaps combining various techniques all together to make a paranoic "Neverfail" ritual seal of the seal at the end of grafting-time, before putting the it away until bud-grafting time in the summer.    

Whether candles, incense, and thoughtful, directed, optimistic chanting will also help... I don't know.  However, I'm all for anything and everything that will lead to Doc Farwell being readily available at beck and call for when he's needed.  When you have scionwood and rootstocks ready to be operated-on, you just gotta have the Doc ready to go too. 🙂

Reinettes

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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18
March 27, 2020 - 10:37 pm

Ya know, some of you Doc Farwell's fanatics could go in together and split a gallon and the shipping cost.  Just sayin'

I've also heard of people making it.

John S
PDX OR

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
(Offline)
19
March 28, 2020 - 9:32 pm

Pugs said        The bottle/jar of the green stuff I bought, well, I can't open it.  Seems it is already glued shut.  Any ideas on how to open it?  

A Strap wrench and extra pair of hands. Tough with the six foot advisory though...

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
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20
March 29, 2020 - 2:01 pm

I'm just glad that no-one has suggested "small, explosive charges."  I cannot imagine what a terrible clean-up job that would be, let alone the degree of "sheepish look" necessary from the suggestor....

Reinettes

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Pugs
40 Posts
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21
March 29, 2020 - 2:02 pm

sweepbjames said

A Strap wrench and extra pair of hands. Tough with the six foot advisory though...  

Good idea.  May pass it on to my neighbors, who are working from home.  Husband and wife, maybe they can get it opened and not concerned with 6 feet of distance from each other.

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Pugs
40 Posts
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22
April 10, 2020 - 4:43 pm

Got mine opened last night!  Used a thin knife and stuck the edge of the blade in between the bottom of the lid and the jar.  Not going under the lid, to the threads, just that space between the lid bottom and the jar.  Slightly twisted the knife, to pry the lid and jar apart. Went around the jar twice that way, hearing little cracks at places.  Then twisted the lid, and it came right off!  Now to do both the Vaseline and the plastic "gasket" so this doesn't happen again.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
23
April 22, 2020 - 2:10 pm

Pugs said
Got mine opened last night!  Used a thin knife .... just that space between the lid bottom and the jar.  Slightly twisted the knife, to pry the lid and jar apart. Went around the jar twice that way, hearing little cracks at places.  Then twisted the lid, and it came right off!  ....

Pugs,

Sounds like you mastered my "Hail Mary" act of desperation!  With the "vaselining" of the threads, you should be able to use the same container from year-to-year.  Best wishes for using ALL the sealant and getting your money's worth!

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thubten
11 Posts
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24
June 2, 2020 - 9:00 pm

To open your Doc Farwell threaded top, merely hold it under hot running tap water for a short while to soften it.

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jafar
623 Posts
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25
June 3, 2020 - 11:06 am

I'm late to the party.  I'm partial to the layer of plastic film in between.  Then the worst case is having to twist hard enough to sheer/tear the plastic to get it open.

Also like the idea of the strap wrench, but I would use two strap wrenches.

I've done the dull knife between the threads trick as well.  

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