Menu Close
Avatar
Log In
Please consider registering
Guest
Forum Scope






Start typing a member's name above and it will auto-complete

Match



Forum Options



Min search length: 3 characters / Max search length: 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_TopicIcon
Grafting to an American plum
RSS
Avatar
mfan
1 Posts
(Offline)
1
March 2, 2021 - 4:44 pm

Hi folks, long time lurker, first time poster!

Ive got a couple of what I believe to be American plum trees (prunus americana) growing in my yard which I've tried to graft to in the past with no success. But perhaps: a) I do not in fact have an American plum or b) I chose the wrong kinds of plum to graft to it. And also, c) I wasn't yet practiced in this art of grafting. That last one I'm sure of!

So first, I'm attaching a picture of one of them, which is currently in flower. This one has reddish leaves and is quite ornamental. But also note the severe spikes. My other one is not yet in bloom (but will be soon), is similarly spikey, but has a green leaf. In my five years here it's borne a single fruit, once. It also suckers prolifically. There's a stump not far from it that I reason once was its pollinator. Neither of these trees have a visible graft line.

So if they are americana, I've read that Japanese and Japanese/American hybrids will take (but not European plums). Has anyone successfully done this? I'm putting together my scionwood order and wondering what ti get. Leaning towards hybrids only because it might take more readily? Would love to hear any suggestions or thoughts y'all have.

Attachments
Avatar
Dubyadee
Puyallup, Washington, USA
80 Posts
(Offline)
2
March 2, 2021 - 5:26 pm

I think compatibility is of less concern than your grafting technique/abilities. I have grafted weeping cherry onto a wild cherry growing in my yard, I wanted a taller trunk that I could walk under without bending over to avoid weeping cherry branches because it is adjacent to the sidewalk. The trunk is 11’ tall. One does not see such a specimen available at the nursery!  I have had ugly unions form on plum, I put Shiro and Early Golden plum on apricot. 

I suggest you pick scion cultivars which are blooming time and pollination compatible. Then perform several styles of graft onto your tree: veneer, cleft, whip & tongue, etc. I have better luck keeping scion pieces to two or three buds and wrap with parafilm. Early is better than later in my experience on stone fruit.  

Avatar
Crankyankee
Connecticut
60 Posts
(Offline)
3
March 3, 2021 - 8:21 am

I don't mean to hijack this discussion but this seems like a timely place to comment on grafting plum and cherry which I have been told are tricky to work with.

I'm heading out now to do some grafting onto cherries and plums. This is my first outing with anything other than roses so I studied up on various websites but especially youtube and most especially the videos of this fellow, Ken Coates, who is a specialist in cherry grafting. He lives and works out of Wenechee, Washington.

The three videos he particularly recommended to me are for what he terms 'side-grafting', which is a modified cleft graft. It is important to note that these videos show a relatively small scion being grafted to a very large understock but the principle is the same as for more closely matched (but not exactly the same diameter) scion and rootstock.

 
His grafting videos are all here (he has a separate page of motorcraft videos that has a only a few of his grafting videos)
 
 
I watched all his many videos and took notes. Here are my notes.
 
These folks try to get their cherry and plum grafting done from mid February through the end of March then they go on to apples. Their weather is about two weeks ahead of us in Connecticut as best as I can tell based on the dates of forsythia blossom.
 
Choosing and storing cherry scions for a wedge, cleft or side graft -
 - ring finger diameter, brown wood, avoid where it starts getting red
 - stiff, not bending wood - he flexes the full scion branch and discards the portion that flexes.
 - dormant buds no green tip
 - store as close to 34 degrees as possible do not freeze, 34 to 38 degrees to store. (note, Bob Purvis at Purvis Nursery and Orchard in Homedale, Idaho sells scions and he holds them at 29 degrees F until he ships).
- store with no excess water just wood shavings
 - graft when the scion is fully dormant
 - cambium layer is a one cell layer where all growth takes place. Must cross or line up exactly between scion and rootstock. If you miss it the graft will fail.
 
These guys paint the graft after wrapping using an asphalt emulsion called Henry 124 Tree Cure that costs 5 gal $41.60 wholesale. I tried to find it but it is not available anywhere I looked.
 
Ken Coates recommends Farwells Tree Doc grafting paint as an alternative.
 

When top working a tree to rehabilitate it or convert it to a new variety you should leave a nurse limb to use up the excess sap that would otherwise be going to the limbs that were cut off.

Never leave a nurse limb higher than the graft or the graft won't grow well because of apical dominance and nutrient diversion. You can actually use that to your advantage when you graft a pollenizer branch onto a tree, if you place it below another limb it won't take the limb over but will still provide a bit of pollenizer.
 
Bark grafts don't do well on cherries, especially with small understocks. Use a side-graft instead.
 
Cherry trees older then ten or twelve years do not accept grafts very well. You can tell an old cherry tree by the color of the bark - brown not red - and by the vigor of the upper branching that it is putting on growth.
 
The solution is to cut the limbs all the way back in the spring to stumps and let them sucker all season. The tree can then be grafted the following spring, cut back the suckers to one per previous limb, maximum about four per tree, and graft onto the suckers. Cut to one inch diameter suckers about six inches long. Side-grafts are the technique of choice for this method.
 
When cutting a bud for a bud graft you must cut cleanly the entire bud don't snap off the bud toward the end like some people do. A full cut assures that the cambium layer completely surrounds the grafted bud and provides strength to resist tearing and breaking after it heals. Carry the bud stick to the field and cut the bud just as you need to insert it. Cut from below the bud to above the bud.
 
You can bud apples and pears anytime. August is ok, the bud heals in then you cut the rootstock off above the bud the following spring to force the bud to apical dominance.
 
For budwood that has leaves remove the leaves by bending the leaf backwards and towards the side so as to break the stem leaving the petioles. This prevents exposing the leaf scar and the subsequent dehydration that would occur. It also leaves a stub that you can push on when seating the bud into the rootstock.
 
Always place the bud on the windward side so the wind forces the stem to straighten up. Start the budding strip above the bud, four wraps above and three below and tie off.
 
Three rules for grafting cherries. Graft on young wood, graft very early in the window and use really big scion wood. 1/2" diameter wood so it has stored carbohydrates to heal in and grow.
 
For a side graft you need a scion cut that is flat, not curved, so hold the knife laying down somewhat and position your arm so your hand swings straight. Likewise when cutting the rootstock do not rock the knife, go straight down in a smooth stroke.
 
When inserting the scion into the rootstock tilt the scion slightly such that the narrow cambium layers of the two cross each other very near the base of the scion.This is a critical feature of grafting.
 
Crossing of the cambium layers is more reliable than trying to line up a single side of the scion and under-stock because the cambium layers are a single cell in thickness and it is very difficult to overlap them in parallel.
 
Wrap firmly with budding tape bottom up. Paint the graft union and the top tip of the scion stick with grafting paint.  Do not apply paint in the rain because it gets washed down onto the cambium layer killing it. Horizontal grafts are at greater risk of water penetration than vertical grafts.
 
He uses a vinyl grafting tape which appears to similar to this one (not sure about mil thickness or width, they sell a variety, I bought 1/2" 6 mil which I use for tying-up too).
 
Various other videos (not Choate's) showed the use of electrical tape, specifically Temflex 2255. An interesting alternative of plasticine modeling wax was demonstrated in a Russian video. I have not been able to source the particular plasticine in the States -
 

https://leonardo.ru/ishop/grou.....277679502/

although I found a similar Spanish product.

Several other instructional videos (non Choates's) recommend wrapping the tied graft full with parafilm, including the whole scion, in order to prevent the scion and union from desiccating.

Zone 6a in the moraines of eastern Connecticut.

Avatar
Rooney
466 Posts
(Offline)
4
March 3, 2021 - 3:43 pm

Crankyankee said

Various other videos (not Choate's) showed the use of electrical tape, specifically Temflex 2255. An interesting alternative of plasticine modeling wax was demonstrated in a Russian video. I have not been able to source the particular plasticine in the States -

  

I saw the Russian video of the guy using Plasticine. Electrical specialty stores such as our local Platt electrical distributors carry Dottie duct seal compound. The minimum sale is 5 pounds and costs a few dollars a pound. But it good. The competing Home Depot duct seal is packaged smaller, is less per pound, is not quite as good a grade. The trick to making it last a few years is re-wrapping the Dottie or other brand stuff back to the original plastic wrap as best you can.

This is all good information. All of your details are very important because cherry has special handling and cooling requirements. The detail of forcing root shoots on neglected or old trees are very important; as well every single point. Good job!

Avatar
Rooney
466 Posts
(Offline)
5
March 3, 2021 - 6:34 pm

Dubyadee said
I think compatibility is of less concern than your grafting technique/abilities. I have grafted weeping cherry onto a wild cherry growing in my yard, I wanted a taller trunk that I could walk under without bending over to avoid weeping cherry branches because it is adjacent to the sidewalk. The trunk is 11’ tall. One does not see such a specimen available at the nursery!  I have had ugly unions form on plum, I put Shiro and Early Golden plum on apricot. 

I suggest you pick scion cultivars which are blooming time and pollination compatible. Then perform several styles of graft onto your tree: veneer, cleft, whip & tongue, etc. I have better luck keeping scion pieces to two or three buds and wrap with parafilm. Early is better than later in my experience on stone fruit.    

I just watched the above three videos and have to say I like Dubyadee's opinions better than speed. The person in the video has 30 years experience making money doing it and per his various other videos had perfected this fast style of grafting less than 3 years ago, knows what he's doing, has a dangerous looking knife.

I think the white tape he uses is easy to find local such as Jeff Veirs supplies in Woodburn OR. I use that for large, my green Wilco vinyl bands for small, and buddy tape (better than parafilm) from Veirs for whip & tongue. I use the duct seal to slope water away from cracks and yellow Doc Farwells overtop the union twice.

Avatar
Dubyadee
Puyallup, Washington, USA
80 Posts
(Offline)
6
March 18, 2021 - 12:15 am

I grafted Kwanzan cherry into my big wild cherry.  They are closely timed for bloom.  I get a splotch of bright pink double blossoms amongst a sea of white cherry blossoms.  I wish I had a bucket truck to put Kwanzan cherry grafts all over the tree, make it polka dotted.

Avatar
Master Gardener
1 Posts
(Offline)
7
March 18, 2021 - 2:59 pm

@OP  Which grafting techinque(s) have you tried?

Avatar
Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
229 Posts
(Offline)
8
March 19, 2021 - 3:53 pm

Dubyadee said
I grafted Kwanzan cherry into my big wild cherry.  They are closely timed for bloom.  I get a splotch of bright pink double blossoms amongst a sea of white cherry blossoms.  I wish I had a bucket truck to put Kwanzan cherry grafts all over the tree, make it polka dotted.  

Dubyadee,

'Kwanzan' is one of my favorite "flowering cherries".  If it is grafted onto a "base" rootstock and left to grow naturally, it forms a beautiful obconic shape with its double, pink flowers.  About 15 years ago, there was a well-established, mature one at the edge of the parking lot at Raintree Nursery near Morton, Washington.  Sadly, it disappeared at some point.  I've also seen it elsewhere, but in a "pruned" form.  Those pruned forms have looked horrible to me, because the true beauty of that cultivar is in being able to form that distinctive, genetic, inverted cone shape.  Doing any "topping" prune-cuts destroys the innately beautiful form of the tree.

With that as a friendly caveat, I'm now curious about what you mean by grafting it onto a "big, wild cherry."  Would that be our native, arborescent Prunus emarginata var. mollis, or do you mean one of the "feral" seedlings of sweet cherry, Prunus avium, of which there are several on my property.  

Of the 22 years that my wife and I have been here in the PNW, I've noticed that the native Prunus emarginata is much more susceptible to Northwest Anthracnose than seedling/saplings of the European sweet cherry (P. avium).  As a result, I've decided to use the "feral" P. avium seeds to germinate as base rootstocks, and then graft to them either sour cherries (P. cerasus), or an intermediate semi-dwarfing stock upon which to graft sweet cherry cultivars.  

It's all about experimentation.  If you have any observations on the pros or cons of such rootstock use I'd be very interested.  

I have a copy of the "Reports and Surveys" made to the U.S. Congress regarding a Rail route from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean (1853-1855) in which the early explorer/naturalists reported local settlers grafting apples onto Malus fusca, and cherries onto Prunus emarginata.  These were only reports of the time, so there was no follow-up regarding successes, or for what length of time such grafts persisted and/or were fruitful.  Hence, my interest in data regarding successes or failures and, if successful, how fruitful or long-lived such grafts were.  I'm always open to hearing about the successes, assuming that the reporter can accurately identify what clones they are using.  

Reinettes.

Avatar
John S
1020 Posts
(Offline)
9
March 19, 2021 - 5:10 pm

I w and t graft onto plums and pie cherries. I have had success, but the take is less frequent than apples or pears. Still, I don't have acreage and am not doing this commercially, so it works for me.  Budding is a little more successful for plums than w and t for me.  I also use budding for pie cherries.  I am not interested in sweet cherries, because they don't have enough flavor, aren't good for desserts, and I'm interested in feeding my family, not starlings.

JohN S
PDX OR

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
All RSS Show Stats
Administrators:
Idyllwild
Moderators:
John S
Marsha H
Viron
jafar
portlandian
Top Posters:
Rooney: 466
DanielW: 458
Reinettes: 229
davem: 171
sweepbjames: 155
Larry_G: 99
jekahrs: 81
Dubyadee: 80
GH: 70
Crankyankee: 60
Newest Members:
ardismua3223957
savingcents
romanstinnett
DougVA
rafaelahumphries
quinnriddell6
yvonne89y32924
keith51n53997113
madelinebrookins
mfamelina570288
Forum Stats:
Groups: 1
Forums: 4
Topics: 695
Posts: 4796

 

Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 0
Members: 1243
Moderators: 5
Admins: 1
Most Users Ever Online: 232
Currently Online: cmullin
Guest(s) 3
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)