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Earliest to graft successfully
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jekahrs
81 Posts
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February 4, 2021 - 8:14 am

I just received some scion wood for my espalier pear tree. When is the earliest that I can successfully graft the scions in NE Portland? Thanks! Out of curiosity, are apples the same?

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
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February 4, 2021 - 12:30 pm

Jekahrs,

I looked through my notes.  The earliest I have grafted apple and pear is Feb 19th.  Most years I graft early to mid March.   Those are all whip-and-tongue, dormant scion.  

I think apple and pear work and take about the same.  I think pear might be easier than apple, but both are among the easiest.   I've done dozens of both.  I cant get peach dormant grafts to take to save my life, but every pear and apple has worked.  I do wrap then snugly. 

I imagine a late frost is a theoretical concern but it has not been an issue for me.

I am in Battle Ground which is a little cooler than Portland, with a little later Spring.

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John S
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February 5, 2021 - 10:08 am

I graft pears onto quince sooner than onto pears, because they start to leaf out earlier.

John S
PDX OR

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
155 Posts
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February 6, 2021 - 12:03 am

Generally, when the roots stock is starting to push, that’s the time to graft.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
458 Posts
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February 6, 2021 - 11:35 am

With a local cold snap coming, I think it would be good to wait until that ends.

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jekahrs
81 Posts
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February 19, 2021 - 11:58 am

OK. Now that the cold snap is over and my Loquat has been devastated (Thanks freezing rain):

1) Is now a good time to graft to graft my pear espalier?

2) Also, I will graft directly on an espalier trunk due to an error last year. Has anyone used a "T" graph before? so that I would put a scion directly onto the main wood. And if so, given the angle the the scion (points up 80 degrees or so), once the branches start to grow, should I keep the first one and cut all the other ones off so I just have one bud that has flexible wood growing parallel to the other branches? Any hints?

(By "T" graft you cut one horizontal cut on the main bark and from the middle you cut down making a "T". You then prepare the scion and insert it into the pocket).

3) Should I rinse the scions with a light bleach solution to kill bad germs since they have been in storage a few weeks?

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jafar
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February 19, 2021 - 10:12 pm

The T graft you are describing sounds like something you would do when the bark is slipping.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
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February 20, 2021 - 8:10 am

On bacteria or mildew on scions, I keep them for months in a moist zip lock in the fridge.  I don't bleach them.  There have been times when one is moldy.  If so, I wash it with dish detergent and rinse, before cutting it.  Detergents and soaps are at least somewhat, to very, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal.

On the old fig forum, I remember a member (that rhymes Smile) who used 10% solution volume/volume to wash his fig cuttings.  He rooted his cuttings in moist paper towel in zip lock bags, on a warmer.  So they were prone to mold.  I did that and it worked fine, but I have never bleached grafting scion.

I agree with Jafar.  It sounds like what I use for buds in June.  Not sure about dormant grafts.

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czczcz
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February 20, 2021 - 2:33 pm

Any thoughts on timing for sweet cherries. I just received several scions that I am planning on grafting to existing trees.

Is the best way to store the scions I have just in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel in it, placed in the refrigerator?   I have a few apples and pears that came with the order for the cherries. 

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
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February 20, 2021 - 4:48 pm

@czczcz, not sure about the sweet cherries.  I grafted Kwanzan cherry onto wild cherry in May a few years ago, no problem.  I have usually budded cherries in June or so.  I hope someone else with more experience.  Sone stone fruit needs warmer conditions, ie peach.  I've done plums earlier however.

You described how I store pome scion.  The paper towel tends to mildew so needs replacement every few weeks.  The paper towel should just be moist, not wet.

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czczcz
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February 20, 2021 - 8:27 pm

Thanks for the response, will do on the occasional paper towel swap

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Dubyadee
Puyallup, Washington, USA
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February 20, 2021 - 10:27 pm

Damp newspaper does not mildew like paper towels do. It also is a little stiffer and won’t cling to the scion wood when you go to use it, easier to unwrap. 

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John S
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February 21, 2021 - 8:50 am

Yes, I get the newspaper damp and then I let it lean on something so the water falls off and it is just mildly damp, then I put it in the bag with the scions and the label.  Before, I had the mildew issue.

John S
PDX OR

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
458 Posts
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February 21, 2021 - 12:07 pm

Thanks @Dubyadee and @John S regarding the damp newspaper.  That sounds like a better idea.

I stratified apple seeds in paper towel and had to change it two or three times.  At least some of the seeds have grown do far, but maybe newspaper would be better.  

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jekahrs
81 Posts
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February 21, 2021 - 9:24 pm

I have 3 scions I bought and put them in a slightly damp newspaper in a ziplock bag and in a dark box in the fridge. Also, when grafting do people wrap the exposed scion in grafting tape to reduce evaporation?

The reason why I am looking to do a lateral graft (Not technically a T graft) is that I screwed up last year and took off 3 branches from the espalier instead of just grafting to the branches. Long sad story.

So I face the problem of getting the 3 spots going this year where there are no branches. So looking to do it from the main stem. I have the awesome scions NOW in the fridge, so waiting until summer to have ultra slipping bark isn't an option. From what I saw on the internet when apple branches have buds the size of "a squirrel's ear" then the bark is starting to slip. In which case could I to a Lateral graft? Below is a video showing the lateral graft. Here the tree has small leaves (breaking buds) just emerging before blossom. 

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Rooney
466 Posts
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February 22, 2021 - 11:38 am

With pear I think you shouldn't have to wait longer than when you start to see apples begin flowering. I have done lots of my yard tree asian/nashi pear grafting in the slip before. 

Having had lived in the same house for 30 years I am facing similar problems with older cherry trees that will need to be initiated to form new branches. If your tree is still young then indeed the method illustrated in your video will be a good one. I like everything including wrapping the scion and everything else but never place energy of a knife towards your hand as you see in your frame above of a good video. 

Edit_2021-02-22_2.jpg

The first cut is the one requiring the most energy and is the most potential to cause harm. Having said that as a retired electrician (all my fingers) is because the first cut is always performed under tools, not a knife. (ie. the right tool for the job)

The upper branch is malus with options of wide crotch angles. It is malus renetka. My cherries would deserve something special like what I think as a bird planted duke cherry down my street which has a good selection of possibilities to make scion cuts with a heel attached to the basal portion of the scion. (here again, I am not sure if older crotch wood is suitable for you)

It's also of benefit to the parts of the tree being cut to use sharp tools as to lessen the chances squeezing living plant tissue to death. Which brings into the picture the razor sharp box knife craftsman pruner, another product squeezed out of the market due to Sears going away, so check ebay. Since this old 2 year plus wood is very energy intensive you will need more than a knife to do it. 

The main points here other than (i) safety in the right tool are (ii) saving old cherry (or espalier) trees by prospecting around for as young a scionwood as possible with the further possibility of wide crotches. Of course with any established stone fruits there's more risk in flooding the graft union when the upper portion is chopped away after grafting then there would be with pear or apple so stone fruits will be grafted much later after sunshine days roll around and upper foliage kept on slightly longer. 

Also as per another topic elsewhere -"drilling" a crotch in the rootstock of stone fruits is out of the question for reasons already stated. Stone fruits are often hypersensitive to an alarm like a drill motor where as a pear will not.

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jafar
474 Posts
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February 22, 2021 - 12:19 pm

I think I'm agreeing with what Rooney says.  I like what he does in the video as far as the shape of the scion,  wrapping it, the incision to the tree and the timing - see the leaves on the tree.  I'd probably wait a little longer to be sure, but the bark is slipping there.  If bark isn't slipping, you wouldn't be able to slide the scion in by pushing it.

But also agree that I wouldn't hold and cut the scion that way. I would not direct the blade towards my flesh.  Also a single bevel, right handed knife is meant for a pulling stroke.  The bevel is the opposite direction for cutting a controlled plane when pushing the blade as he is doing.

He's practiced and skilled enough with the knife that neither of those things are a concern for him.

I don't want to jinx myself, but I've yet to cut myself while cutting wood (carelessness with the knife between actually using it for its purpose is another matter).

BTW, I like what is shown with the loquat scion.  Looks like it will give a better crotch angle.

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Dubyadee
Puyallup, Washington, USA
80 Posts
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February 22, 2021 - 12:48 pm

Wrapping of stone fruit scion with parafilm is essential for success. Pome scion (apple and pear) not so critical, I sometimes dab wax on the pome scion tip. 
A tight wrap around the graft helps heal and promote growth. 
I have not had much success grafting low on the trunk, apical dominance tends to favor top growth and low branches stall in their growth. I find it better to graft higher on the tree to establish the new cultivar. Your lateral graft may take but growth will likely be very slow if placed low on the trunk. 

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Rooney
466 Posts
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February 22, 2021 - 2:58 pm

Jafar: The use of a loquat scion on this page is not what this is;

-Mine is 'palmetta', an apple hybrid that works very well with asian/nashi pear conversions towards malus. Have searched for this then tested it for years. It should work on his central pear leader if a nashi pear were one branch on the tree.

-Loquat would work on quince trees as I recall from you elsewhere. But also elsewhere the large download available as published by Westwood. It's the chart about past halfway. If quince is any less prone to freezing than loquat then loquat can be less prone as well. Also medlar under loquat. You just have to know the latin names.

apical dominance per Dubyadee:

Well understood point there. A way around this would be to graft clones that are listed to be grown on more stronger less dwarfing stocks to be the top branches. Such as 'njiseiki' nashi pear. The lowest on the trunk would be best to choose a strongly dominant variety such as I think 'bosc' is. Of course I also don't know how well any these pears offer scions with heels the way malus 'palmetta' will. 

We get wise in our ages with the help of computers and past experiences don't we(?). I establish which is a first of it's kind on a 31 inch high native prunus pennsylvanica graft per the year-2006 icon below. The above section and down to the graft is what I just said, and underneath emerging from the pot of 'F12/1' commercial cherry rootstock. 

The discovery here is that the large sweet cherry F12/1 rootstock has no upward influence on the natural growth pattern of the native. The same holds true of bush cherry prunus fruiticosa upon sweet cherry. Each instances impose infertility. However these fertility instances rarely prove true with other Rosaceae. (just trial, error, and time)

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jafar
474 Posts
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February 22, 2021 - 3:32 pm

Rooney, my mention of loquat is in reference to the linked Youtube video in the post above yours.  It shows various "add-a-limb" grafts with scions slipped in under the bark.   One of the depicted grafts is loquat, and he shows a method of making two cuts, both an entry and an exit, so the scion is less parallel to the host branch than some of the others, not such an acute angle between them.

I haven't made much use of it, but I expect one way to help encourage the new graft to grow, and thwart apical dominance, is to notch the wood above the graft, partial girdling it, to interrupt the flow of auxin that would otherwise suppress the buds in the scion.

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jekahrs
81 Posts
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21
February 24, 2021 - 10:14 am

Also, out of curiosity, does adding rooting hormone benefit a graft or not?

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Dubyadee
Puyallup, Washington, USA
80 Posts
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22
February 24, 2021 - 3:00 pm

I have a Desert King fig that was growing three whips straight up towards the sky. This fig only produces on last year’s branch tip growth and I wanted to get it to branch to get more figs. I tied the whips down and cut the bark beside dormant buds. Where I cut below the bud no branches formed. Cuts above the bud promoted new branches. 

FD4A3529-CFAC-49EE-8275-41C738524577.jpegE1790515-6D67-42CA-AE1F-9ED20FEE1CDE.jpeg

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number2
Portland Metro
3 Posts
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23
February 25, 2021 - 11:10 am

DanielW said
@czczcz, not sure about the sweet cherries.  I grafted Kwanzan cherry onto wild cherry in May a few years ago, no problem.  I have usually budded cherries in June or so.  I hope someone else with more experience.  Sone stone fruit needs warmer conditions, ie peach.  I've done plums earlier however.

You described how I store pome scion.  The paper towel tends to mildew so needs replacement every few weeks.  The paper towel should just be moist, not wet.  

Following up on DanielW's post, when is a good time in the Portland Area for budding stone fruits like peach, plums?  For budding pome fruits? 

I imagine if one were wanting to force the bud to grow the season it is budded then earlier is better versus keeping the bud dormant to open during the next growing season.

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John S
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February 25, 2021 - 1:57 pm

August is usually a good time to bud, Bud.

Great post Dubyadee.  Notching is a fascinating practice. How or why it works? I don't know.

John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
466 Posts
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March 17, 2021 - 2:23 pm

@John. I have yet to bud anything in the summer and have it rest through the next season and still survive. Not with stone fruits. Yes once with apple. I am very familiar with the steps of waiting until spring to force the bud by removing the topical portion come spring but come spring the stone fruit buds end up dried. 

I will never try summer budding around here again. It's also out of the question for me in Alaska as well due to lengthy winters and the same zero success come spring. Then as far as I'm concerned summer budding guidance is for the nursery trade in California conditions only.

So when you say bud in August, but what's your actual experiences?

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John S
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March 18, 2021 - 7:26 pm

I have budded many trees that way. Exclusively that way. Jerry Shroyer taught me to bud and that's what he always said. I ended up teaching the budding classes after Jerry died and no one ever thought that was a bad idea.

I don't have as high a percentage with budding as I do with w and tongue grafting.

I also bud in September.  They need to be watered beforehand.  If they are dry, it won't work. If they're juicy enough, you hear a snap when you break through the bark.

Jekahrs: rooting hormone is for putting cuttings into the ground to make them grow into plants by growing roots. It's not for grafting.

JOhn S
PDX OR

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
458 Posts
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March 19, 2021 - 5:28 am

John S said
August is usually a good time to bud, Bud.

Great post Dubyadee.  Notching is a fascinating practice. How or why it works? I don't know.

John S
PDX OR  

John, I have never trued notching, until now. I am trying to lower the branching on a young but too high branching apple tree.  I don't know if it will work.

 

My understanding is that growth tips of trees produce plant hormones, auxins, that flow back down the tree.  Those auxins inhibit growth of buds. If you cut off the top, then no inhibiting auxins flow down and dormant buds awaken and grow.  Similarly, if you notch above a viable but dormant bud, that interrupts the downward flow of auxin, so the bud awakens and grows.

Notching, WSU Extension

If this image link works, here is the notch I did the other day.  If it works, I can remove a higher branch after apple season, to lower the crown.  That will be a two or three year process.

notching

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
458 Posts
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28
March 19, 2021 - 5:32 am

(duplicate post, deleted)

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Crankyankee
Connecticut
60 Posts
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29
March 19, 2021 - 8:15 am

Daniel, thanks for posting that link to Bartlett pruning. I inherited two neglected pears trees that I started rehabilitating last season. I was just outside doing touch-up pruning and the advice on that page helped a lot.

Zone 6a in the moraines of eastern Connecticut.

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John S
1020 Posts
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March 19, 2021 - 5:03 pm

Rooney,

If you still question August budding, I would ask Jafar, as he also taught the budding classes and I think generally is a little more accurate and precise than I am on grafting.  I think James was there too. 

JohN S
PDX OR

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Rooney
466 Posts
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March 19, 2021 - 7:13 pm

The original question is certainly looking for more feedback. I also checked some more and the nursery craft has been budding all the stone fruits for the months August and September. If somebody has a good memory the way I do and knows then anybody can answer as long as it's local conditions, in which case Jafar would be a good one. 

Stone fruit buds for me: Tried summer budding 'honey babe' miniature peach per book for a year or two which failed. Tried same using the current season's push in June budding the year after and it worked. Ever since I have only summer budded apple around here twice and each time it worked. One of which is how I first managed to figure out at times that apples work on pears. So I never doubted that the overwintering of pome fruit buds to live outside in a state of dormancy.

All of this was done in the slip. This miniature peach budding goes back when I was not well versed in protecting peaches from PNW conditions, which back then could have been part of the problem. 

Then there is also my past cases of cherry buds that fail every summer through the winter. The latest case is 2020-2021 (now). They were covered for rain. X-pugetensis onto prunus mahaleb and buds not pushing any when the rootstock buds are. My p mahaleb stock is already hosting stick grafts of the same species so the issue of relationship isn't an issue. 

I don't ever have prunus issues using the active budding method in May or June so it's unimportant to me as much any more but I still like to compare.

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John S
1020 Posts
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March 22, 2021 - 9:54 pm

You've got me intrigued, Rooney. I may have to try some budding in May or June this year to see if I can make it happen.

John S
PDX OR

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