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Time to cut scions?
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John S
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December 8, 2020 - 3:44 pm

It seems to be about the right time to cut scions.  Most of the leaves have fallen. It is December already. The only thing holding me back is that we haven't had any of those really cold days yet.  Sometimes I wait until we get a day or a few below 25 F or so. 

I know our years have been getting warmer and our normal markers for when the time of year is right have been changing.  I just don't want to wait until Feb 1 and have the trees starting to leaf out and it be too late.

Whaddya think?

John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
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December 8, 2020 - 7:10 pm

YES!Wink This years local forward looking thing for December is not allowing for anything dry.

Locally.png

My first yellow dot is about 30 hours from now and the spans all the way to Thursday night of next week. Taking care of peaches, apricots, some sour cherry cultivars, and all sweet cherry should be insured as you say John.

      image courtesy of: https://www.wunderground.com/f...../vancouver

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Rooney
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December 9, 2020 - 8:38 am

..Peach, Apricot, Cherry, and not so much plum:

In application to cherry of over 10 years ago when I started a grafting and collection project of North American wild cherry, sweet cherry types and hybrids I had run into nothing but big issues getting my scions to graft. I had never run into problems before using apples or pears. So because I could not find the requirements from other sources of books or internet services I then turned the question over to the late Jerry Lehman who had mastered a living from fruiting trees and here is (in part) the record.

"Sweet cherries break flower and vegetative buds very early and if stored at 45 degrees will actually start expanding in the fridge. Once the bud has started to swell the grafting reliability drops very quickly. Cut the scionwood while still **winter and store very cold. Then graft after the understock bark is in the slip. At least this this has been my Prunus observations and success formula after many failures."  //end of email paste.

I installed a ** so note: winter; PNW;
Jerry was not a western resident. Change the word **winter to "While Still Autumn"!

For sources of scionwood another risk to avoid are trees that are stressed such as growing outdoors in pots. An indoor tree or something outdoors & later treated for a few hours using aquarium and fish antibiotics prior to storing may be okay too.

As I said earlier the forecast going forward looks messy so think today. Later towards or after the new year think "east of Cascades". Sub-freezing temperatures if not too severe are okay.

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John S
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December 9, 2020 - 6:56 pm

I am thinking that apples, persimmons, and pears are pretty ok in wet weather.  As Rooney says, I won't cut the stone fruit or quinces until we get a dry patch.

John S

PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
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December 10, 2020 - 6:28 pm

John S said
It seems to be about the right time to cut scions.  Most of the leaves have fallen. It is December already. The only thing holding me back is that we haven't had any of those really cold days yet.  

Hi John,

Are you sure it might not be too early?  I always believe in cutting scionwood at approximately "the coldest" part of winter when you can have no doubt that your scion donor is at its "dormantest". Wink  For those of us who live close to nature, we can usually get a sense of that from our own experience and observations over time in a given area.  However, many of us are aware of just how unpredictable our weather is becoming due to global warming which affects different parts of our planet in different ways.  It is becoming difficult to assess "just when" the time might be right.  At our place in SW Washington, for example, our winter so far has been relatively mild.  Yes, the fruit trees have gone deciduous, but we have not yet had a truly cold period yet.  Here, our normal coldest month is February, and that is usually when I've collected scion wood.  In the last 21 years, our coldest temperature was (as I recall) 6.8 degrees.  Right now it's 25.  I'll probably wait until at least late January to see how our "winter" is shaping-up.  I think that you're in the best position to determine your best scion-cutting time, assuming that you have long experience there.

I like Rooney's comments in relation to the cherries.  I love cherries and eventually want to have a diversity of them, but they are so profoundly persnickety when it comes to grafting.  There's a true art there that I haven't yet grasped under my conditions.  

     ....It's not just "live and learn", as they say:  It's observe, and study, and experiment, in order to finally meet with a reasonable measure of success.  In each of our unique microclimates, we have to be our own objective scientists.  Best wishes for ultimate success.  That's all any of us want.

Reinettes

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John S
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December 10, 2020 - 7:00 pm

I'm not sure it's not too early. That's why I asked. I had mentioned many of the same ideas that you said in my post.  That's why the subject line has a question in it. I appreciate your opinion. It's what I was looking for.

I saw some information from the Agrarian Sharing Network on Facebook that it is still too early for pears. They recommend Jan 1 for most things, but Jan 15 for pears.  I saw this after my post. 

I don't think of scion cutting time as a point.  I think of it as a period of time. I have heard many people describe that period as December and January.  I know you live north of me, in an area that probably receives less heat, and later.  I live in an urban environment near Portland.  I have noticed many times that my trees are leafing out in February.  Especially the quinces will start early.  I don't think that's too late to graft, but I do think it is less than optimal for cutting scion at that point. 

The more voices of experienced orchardists we hear, the clearer the picture will be of the best information for our practices.

Thanks,
John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
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December 10, 2020 - 8:38 pm

Reinettes: The problem with cutting scions "on approximately the coldest  times" of the year are disease and as it relates to favorable conditions for disease. So you can't go about your experiments the way you think you can. Smile PNWet and cool, both of which promote pseudomonas syringae cv. syringae (short PSS), which is a destructive gram negative bacteria that inhabit trees to lawn grass. Other below freezing real winter climates put a stall against this including all other pathogenic diseases. I am a doubter type myself, and it's a complex maize of work to find, but the papers are out there. Here our outdoor trees, certainly prunus, are at the stage of taking on a systemic invasion that never goes well until maybe warmer weather arrives or death.

I took in the last of my scions today. I took many from the passes 5 weeks ago. Attached leaves in cool wet are worse for especially when the areas are abandoned and have had soils dried. The situation with leaves and dry soils demonstrates negative xylem vessel pressure compared to the surrounding air (ie. a vacuum). Part of the reason in the summer trees halt growth is prevention of cavitation (damage) to xylem vessels collapsing. The other is the conservation of energy otherwise used to support growth is reprogrammed to defend from bio-predation. (ie. PSS vacuumed into the tree)

I will leave the scions that I took inside the last 5 weeks inserted in a shelter with bottoms in a shallow amount of water to receive chilling hours until the first day of winter. Then they will be put under the cold spell as Jerry explained, but I go 25-26F just several degrees below freezing, which is okay for almost everything.

There are too many places that I sourced my success in grafting cherry to mention. What counts is that I rarely have an issue grafting cherry anymore. One of the things I learned concerning chill is interesting enough to mention here though. Pear seeds can sometimes be seen germinating with tiny roots from store bought pear fruits around January if I remember right because I tried it. Books have said they germinate even though these seeds lack the chill hours. They grew for me in several pots all through the next (first) growing season very very slowly. This was expected and it was true, they gained to about 8-9 inches. Were they to have been spring budded (which I didn't) on another pear that received proper chill hours those buds would have grown normally (per book). Come the following (full 2nd) season after the 8-9 inch potted trees received the right chill hours all went 100% back to normal.

It's good to question the way I did but don't get hung up on it. It's not really an important thing to accomplish of chill hours since they are an independent operation and will have very little delay effect on the scion.

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Rooney
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December 18, 2020 - 9:01 pm

John S said
I am thinking that apples, persimmons, and pears are pretty ok in wet weather.  As Rooney says, I won't cut the stone fruit or quinces until we get a dry patch.

John S

PDX OR  

You possibly have no prunus plans but if so did you follow through on prunus or not?

Today was fairly mild and dry. As I went about looking at previous years grafts I found an adara plum from a year ago I had on another plum way high at 8 feet. This is a plum never found yet at any scion exchanges that I had hoped to increase and make available. It has a big following in other exchanges for use as a sweet cherry / adara / plum stock in that adara is an approved interstem. I have already a fruiting branch of blackgold sweet cherry on mariana 2624 plum using that interstem. Never use 2624. It volunteers from roots as much as St. julien A.

Between my second yellow rainfall dates and now we are satisfied for chill hours (1000+) with all our local prunus. We can force sweet cherry or plum flowers for indoors. I do it almost every year.

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John S
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December 20, 2020 - 8:49 pm

Rooney,

You know I have prunus. You have been here more than once and shared a purchase with me of rootstock, borrowed the flower pollen on others and given me plants. I haven't started yet because it's been so wet.  I want to wait until it's pretty dry. 

John S

PDX OR

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
444 Posts
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December 21, 2020 - 9:50 am

Most years, I collect scion mid December.  That has worked well for me for apple, pear, quince, plum.  I get pretty much 100% take with those and I'm not all that expert.  Maybe 50 grafts over the years.  I am more likely to summer bud peach and cherry.

I live in Clark County, WA, Battle Ground area, so that is local experience.

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Rooney
429 Posts
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December 21, 2020 - 8:23 pm

John S said
Rooney,

You know I have prunus. You have been here more than once and shared a purchase with me of rootstock, borrowed the flower pollen on others and given me plants. I haven't started yet because it's been so wet.  I want to wait until it's pretty dry. 

John S

PDX OR  

So the purchase of rootstock was gisela-6 cherry stock 20 months ago. Half or so of mine died fast because of the very undeveloped roots. So I have two in good shape, never attempted the graft yet, but only have plans for the one. I dug them loose for now then I aim for spring grafting method for the one. Information gleaned from other cherry experts and my own and per Daniel above -suggest that cherry rootstocks (probably peach as well) go into shock when messing around with roots (ie. nursery re-potting). Gradually recovering after a full month's time growing is necessary.

At the HOS grafting events in the spring I always tried to push this peach/cherry advice forward to the customer. This same issue may also be good reason why wholesalers developed plum roots like the adara and zeestem plum stock. In which case you have a steadier stock to stick graft cherry on.

I worked on the Rombough Grape Farm recently. I gathered boxes of chinese quinces and since you may like them you can have a box with the other leftover G6 cherry root I described for you in the first paragraph.

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John S
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December 30, 2020 - 12:02 pm

I was going to try to graft Montmorency pie cherries onto those G6 this year. I think I still have 3 or 4.  You had mentioned earlier to wait 2 years before grafting as they tend to do better that way.  I've got my fingers crossed.

John S
PDX OR

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John S
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December 30, 2020 - 12:07 pm

I found a useful chart from the Agrarian Sharing Network. You may have to scroll down a bit to find it. I think it's from December 17, if you're scrolling back by date. It shows their optimal times for cutting scion.   This is a group that may help with whatever the spring scion exchange evolves into. They share a lot in common with us. You may have some scions that you are willing to donate to them this year. One of our board members is a leader in this group.

https://www.facebook.com/group.....ingnetwork

John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
429 Posts
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December 30, 2020 - 2:17 pm

Thanks for the link John. I think you wanted me to look right here;

https://www.facebook.com/photo.....4239015330

Between the visual of the chart placed in the front and the live video linked on the right I can visualize wrong recommendations for stone fruits and especially sweet cherry. This is why I posted under you at the start of this topic is that I have been trying to get people to understand areas of special handling regarding collection times and also how to fine tune lower temperatures. Both the chart and the guy in the video omit this.

I know I talk allot but I brought up our PNW chill hours above. But now I proved my dates because I collected plum branches from my nadia hybrid. Which is forcing to prove chill hours and it's first flowers are all the way open. It certainly proves that PNW chill hours were met 14 days ago.

Be assured that storing slightly frozen does not kill temperate plant cells such as those on the list which is good. It would be nice if freezing would kill plant pathogens, but does not. Currently mine are kept at 26F slightly below water freezing and it also puts pathogens to sleep.

The one time I froze my cherry scions in an upright position which was a mistake I had to go through. Wet scions dripped to form an area of ice that could be seen surrounding the distal portion of the scions. This was not good because the wood dried. When the upper temperatures (distal point of the scions) fluctuated higher, the internal moisture was moved downwards into the ice!  (always store horizontally)

Thanks for the link John, this will keep your idea of sharing alive.

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Rooney
429 Posts
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January 1, 2021 - 2:14 pm

per post-6
John S said
...
I saw some information from the Agrarian Sharing Network on Facebook that it is still too early for pears. They recommend Jan 1 for most things, but Jan 15 for pears.  I saw this after my post.
...

As always it's more important for us to avoid diseased sites. For us it's PNWet. But we have no choice so follow the guidance of our instructors such as Joseph Postman. Every spring he helped our now retired board leader and the rest of us secure a list of named pear cultivars for the least sub-set of problems. For convenience this was a few weeks prior to the exchanges that were. But when we (if you do have) have the proper refrigeration equipment then it is indeed possible to replicate any one (Corvallis OR) of what he has. I know it citing myself; the short internode cultivar I got from Joe around March (generation-2 of 'Nain Vert' as you may recall another topic) as exampled of one taken too late. Only one of six grafts survived on me.

I know chill hour requirements are a confusing topic to many, then, you will ultimately be best to ignore chill and invest your time looking for ways of replicating any especially hard to graft cultivar by looking to store them longer and cooler. By December 1 in PNW is okay. You will avoid most of the disease that is systemic here in trees that are most prone. If storing as low as 26F the way I do the properly chilled rootstock will rectify the scions from having not experienced proper chill hours.

Here is a link that might be useful. researchgate.net article

PS. I did see your above nested per post-12 comment that you succeeded your G6. Good job!

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John S
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January 1, 2021 - 6:41 pm

Good info as always Rooney.

Yes, that was the chart. I figured you would be able to show it more directly.

I love the discussion details that you are providing. One of the guys posted recently that his stone fruit buds are starting to get plump and it may soon be too late for them.  That's frustrating for me because I don't like to cut them in the rain. Hopefully, we'll get a dry window soon.

John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
429 Posts
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January 2, 2021 - 1:30 pm

It's another reminder to myself too that I have yet to contact George Barton who I talked with last year who promised me scions from his 'satsuma' plum that he raves about.

If you like sour cherries then the productive 'montmorency' grafted on your new precocious 'gisela-6' rootstocks we split would do at least as well as I have been shown 'mesabi' does on 'krymsk-86'. The latter of which I have seen as being heavy to bear at Purvis' nursery in Idaho. Mesabi is a duke 50% sour cherry, so if your interested in that I have sourced him in Idaho and another establishment (about the k-86) in Washington for the stock and you should let me know. The tree was seen fully loaded as a four foot tree!

All these cherry stocks pose issues grafting them too early in the year. Too many details to list them all. Our best hope here may well be krymsk-1 plum stock with either the adara or zeestem plum wood (in- between) that are cherry to plum compatible.

Edit 1-4-2021:
Sorry John. Embarassed This two days old post that I wrote 'krymsk-86' and 'k-86' should be correctly "krymsk-6" (pdf) as witnessed at Idaho with 'mesabi' grafted on. My mistake. But I still mean the Washington nursery still carries the correct krymsk-6 rootstock for the idea of using mesabi. If interested let me know.

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