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Learning to graft
Any suggestions for learning to graft
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Chris M
Philomath, OR
119 Posts
(Offline)
1
September 24, 2022 - 3:05 pm

I live in Philomath, so the orchard in Oregon city(home orchard education) is pretty far away. Anything more local to me? I have read a few grafting books, and youtube university is very good, but it is nothing like in person learning. With the propagation fair at least temporarily not happening any suggestions? quokka(Dave) is hear in Corvallis, we are talking about figs. Ironically, figs do not need to be grafted. I have some very old apple trees that have not been pruned in a decade(I am starting to prune, but it going to take a few years). I am also getting some bare root apples and pears this spring, mostly for cider and perry making(nobody has spare perry fruit!).

Any suggestions would be welcome.

 

Thanks

 

Chris

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John S
PDX OR
2736 Posts
(Offline)
2
September 26, 2022 - 9:37 pm

There is a group based in Eugene on Facebook. It is called the Agrarian Sharing Network. They have events that are close to you.

John S
PDX OR

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Chris M
Philomath, OR
119 Posts
(Offline)
3
September 28, 2022 - 3:43 pm

Thanks John, I have reached out to them.  They hope to have some events in the spring of 2023, but nothing is scheduled yet.

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Dubyadee
Puyallup, Washington, USA
232 Posts
(Offline)
4
September 30, 2022 - 12:10 am

If you are ordering the bareroot trees you may be able to ask that they not be pruned before shipping. Then prune them yourself when you plant and you get scion to topwork your old trees to new varieties. A topworked tree that has been pruned hard while dormant will try to regrow what has been removed. You can try lots of different graft styles too - veneer, bark, bud, whip & tongue, etc. Apples and pears are best to learn on, high success rates. Plums and cherries seemed more difficult for me although I finally had successes. Best tip to share is cut your scion off at two or three buds. Too much wood and the graft can’t support the transpiration of the scion. You don’t need fancy tools either. I use a Stanley utility knife, canvas nail apron, electrical splicing tape and toilet wax ring. Make yourself a toolbox to keep your supplies. I always sharpen my utility knife blade on a whetstone before starting. A dull blade crushes the bark and cambium. The thumb controlled blade retraction is handy, make your cut, retract the blade, stick the knife in your apron, and grab the tape or grafting rubbers. Wrap your graft, cut scion off at second or third bud with a sharp pruner, and add a dab of wax to the tip. You’ll want to label your grafts. I cut aluminum cans into 3/4” x 1 1/2” strips. I poke a hole in one end and insert a strand of light gage wire, like data or phone wire (24ga?). I have a ballpoint pen and small block of soft cedar as writing surface that I can firmly write varieties and date on the aluminum tag and tie to or near the graft. Use enough wire to allow the branch to grow.On your old trees, if you prune hard, you’ll get lots of water sprouts growing. Let some grow and the following year they make good grafting sites, nice clean whips you can cut off and graft onto. 

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Chris M
Philomath, OR
119 Posts
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5
September 30, 2022 - 3:49 pm

Dubyadee,

Thank you for the detailed reply. I appreciate it.

 

Chris

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
741 Posts
(Offline)
6
November 22, 2023 - 12:58 pm

Dubyadee said
....Apples and pears are best to learn on, high success rates. Plums and cherries seemed more difficult for me although I finally had successes....

....You don’t need fancy tools either. I use a Stanley utility knife, canvas nail apron, electrical splicing tape and toilet wax ring. Make yourself a toolbox to keep your supplies. I always sharpen my utility knife blade on a whetstone before starting. A dull blade crushes the bark and cambium....

  

Are there any tips you like to have shared concerning the learning curve used for Plum and cherries?

On whip and tongue grafting I manage well using a Stanley like blade but (per picture in the link below) the action is an entirely different one. This year the product is sold through Home Depot for 13 dollars. I would like to recommend that one where ever w & t grafting is being taught because knives commonly slip on thicker wood that can cut into you and mess you up. This gives a fast and good straight slant cut.

I'm not sure if the whetstone your referring to is just a stone and oil, or is it something you plug in?

When using the chopping tool from HD, I do recommend omitting of the tongue and generally for the same safety concern. The ommision can be made up with enough pressure wrapping. Also note that this HD product is in the tools section and not gardening because it won't take abuse the way typical pruners do.

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Dannytoro1
21 Posts
(Offline)
7
November 22, 2023 - 4:23 pm

I learned my first type of grafting as a teen; like a monkey copying a human. Bud Grafts on citrus trees. We lived in Florida, and there were three old seedy orange trees we generally did not like. It was not a professional production. A good carbon steel pen style knife. Plastic wrap, rubber bands or both. A candle to seal. Later graduating to Elmers glue. Pretty shoe string.

Not always successful; but got better as I fine tuned the cutting better.

It sort of blew me away. Soon I learned working with Figs and grapes was even easier.

Tried T grafts but did not care for it.

I've started with whip and tongue. A bit more tedious matching the cambium layer.

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GH
Battle Ground, WA
119 Posts
(Offline)
8
November 22, 2023 - 8:14 pm

Thank you, Rooney, for letting us know about the utility cutter.  It looks to be much safer than my utility knife.  I've always been mindful that grafting could involve an unpleasant injury, so this cutter is going on my to-buy list.

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jafar
719 Posts
(Offline)
9
November 23, 2023 - 10:59 am

I highly recommend the videos from Skillcult.

This on grafting with stuff you already have:

 

How to use a knife:

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Chris M
Philomath, OR
119 Posts
(Offline)
10
November 23, 2023 - 11:05 am

Plus one on the usefulness of skillcult grafting.

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Dubyadee
Puyallup, Washington, USA
232 Posts
(Offline)
11
November 27, 2023 - 4:16 pm

Rooney said
Are there any tips you like to have shared concerning the learning curve used for Plum and cherries?

On whip and tongue grafting I manage well using a Stanley like blade but (per picture in the link below) the action is an entirely different one. This year the product is sold through Home Depot for 13 dollars. I would like to recommend that one where ever w & t grafting is being taught because knives commonly slip on thicker wood that can cut into you and mess you up. This gives a fast and good straight slant cut.

I'm not sure if the whetstone your referring to is just a stone and oil, or is it something you plug in?

 

Rooney said

1. Are there any tips you like to have shared concerning the learning curve used for Plum and cherries?

2. On whip and tongue grafting I manage well using a Stanley like blade but (per picture in the link below) the action is an entirely different one. This year the product is sold through Home Depot for 13 dollars. I would like to recommend that one where ever w & t grafting is being taught because knives commonly slip on thicker wood that can cut into you and mess you up. This gives a fast and good straight slant cut.

3. I'm not sure if the whetstone your referring to is just a stone and oil, or is it something you plug in?

4. When using the chopping tool from HD, I do recommend omitting of the tongue and generally for the same safety concern. The ommision can be made up with enough pressure wrapping. Also note that this HD product is in the tools section and not gardening because it won't take abuse the way typical pruners do.

 A1. For cherries and plums I found that earlier grafting helps. Start in February or March.  I think it gives the graft more time to heal before it gets warm outside. I'm doing topwork to multigraft trees.  The thin utility knife blade helps to keep the bark and cambium from tearing.  I also try to collect the scion immediately before grafting.  Cherries bloom earlier than apples so you know that they are early growers.  

A2.  I have a Craftsman anvil type cutting tool like the Home Depot Huskee tool you suggest. It is handy.  I've had it almost 30 years.

A3.  Yes, just a simple sharpening stone to hone the blade edge before starting each time. Test sharpness by holding the blade vertical and scraping your thumbnail. If it slides it needs more honing. If it scrapes/shaves the nail, it's sharp.

A4. I use my utility knife to cut the split for whip and tongue.  The large handle helps give good control to rock the blade slowly into the end of each cut.

  

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
741 Posts
(Offline)
12
November 29, 2023 - 11:58 am

RE: Answer 1

I have seen and think that there is sufficient crosstalk before vascular vessels are completed before vascular conduction is viable thus I digress from the opinion you gave. I have single year success cleft grafting apricot and european plum to well established prunus maackii stock/root sytems to which nothing ever heals. They talk to each other, and growth is almost immediate. I eventually lose these when fall winds start because they get so tall and nothing heals, which in your successful cherry grafts to cherry kind of makes me think it is due to an immune system in cherry here of which is fast acting and very efficient. It's a preventative responding to possible action needed taken to pathogens. (ie. planned cell death)

This time of year means I think of collecting cherry wood and to store it much colder so that this planned cell death that exists won't cause death over time it's not grafted. I store mine frozen for that reason. I like your method and will try that. That's also been said before that sweet cherry has an early season window as you say which can be seen in illustrations of grafting by Baltet as well as your description.

Thankyou.

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John S
PDX OR
2736 Posts
(Offline)
13
November 29, 2023 - 9:40 pm

I have had a problem many times with cherries.  The graft will take and it will grow for say, a month.  Then it will just peter out and die.  My hunch is that it has some disease in it. I know some cherries are really susceptible to diseases in the spring.  I may try to spray them with compost tea in the spring before grafting to see if it helps.

John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
741 Posts
(Offline)
14
November 30, 2023 - 9:16 am

If the hunch that you have is wrong then my hunch is it's self imposed destruction and something that's supposed to happen. In which case there is no remedy because the event is already in full progress and unstoppable by something yet to be discovered.

When outside organisms influence a mode of action on cells they mask the operation by producing substances they now call effectors, circa, about 24 years ago, Johnson et all Corvallis OR. Most of the time discussing these effects on forums is too deep of a topic so I'll just leave this as a predictive thought that what you plan on preventing is the spread of disease that's unstoppable because it might be part of a higher order, or in other words prevention strategy. 

It would be interesting to see somebody like yourself post pictures of plum verses sweet cherry as they progress after grafting. If both die and the cherry is the only one of the two which experience that short burst of life then you know there is something in planned death that occurs with cherry and not plum that's of a higher order, possibly like the proliferation of cancer that terminates us if we eventually get that old.

To me then the real question is not if planned cell death exists. It is existent. So rather it's a question of if effectors in these grafts are invoked by external predators or are they there always as part of the genome inside of stored scions? I have yet to find sweet cherry wood cultivar that has not had this latent problem pop up in the conditions of storing the wood above freezing, so this leans towards a genomic thing.

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