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Interstem grafting
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Author:  Viron [ Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:21 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting


“doesn't it take a while to get a standard tree fruiting, though?”

I think fruiting depends on the specific cultivar, pruning (stress) and training. I’ve ‘heard’ of various dwarfing rootstocks supposedly speeding the ‘fruiting’ process, but if spur development is the essential element, I don’t know how that could be increased? A tour at the Corvallis repository had apple trees sprawled ‘un-pruned,’ so as to speed up fruit production, perhaps it was the lateral angles achieved by allowing them to sprawl sideways that caused spur production as opposed to vegetative growth?

"Also, it seems like you might as well make less work for yourself?"

I’m cutting every piece of new growth every year, those I don’t cut are taken out by larger thinning cuts. You’d have to do the same with a dwarf tree. Fewer cuts, fewer fruit? I don’t know that a dwarf tree would have any less volume once established, only less vigor (shorter shoots?). Bud spacing would be the same; they’re not ‘Spur’ dwarfs.

As mentioned, I don’t grow extremely dwarfed trees, on purpose at least. Having bought most from a nursery that’s been a High-Tec electronics plant for decades now, the Semi Dwarfs I got aren’t all that impressive, to me. There’s such a limit to their vigor that poor soil stunts them and they’re apparently incapable of filling the extra space I’d happily give them. But my few standard trees kick butt. As mentioned, digging into any soil conditions, filling any void, and responding nicely to as vigorous a pruning as I care to give them.

My newest plantings are on nothing less than 70% (of standard) dwarfing rootstock, with varying soil conditions; that’s become my only rootstock demand. If I could have put my Braeburn on standard - I would have! As is, baring vole damage, it just putts along. If I were on a city lot, without deer, elk, or bear predation, perhaps the little guys would be all I’d care to deal with. But having played with the big boys, I’ve learned it’s a game you can win. And the time I spend in my trees is generally a joy - sculpting away on a day like today 8)

Author:  jadeforrest [ Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

Interesting thread here:
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/loa ... 21543.html

Author:  jafarj [ Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

The link to Joereal's bark grafting tutorial shows step by step how to do the type of graft that I find most useful. The one thing I do differently is to put the rubberband first and then the parafilm over that. I skip the first application of parafilm.

I have an apple tree at home that has Winter Banana grafted to it followed by pear. I also have Fertility pear grafted directly to that same tree and then Golden Russet Bosc and some other pear onto that. I also have Winter Banana on my sister's European pear tree. It produced a single apple in its first full season. My intent was to graft a type of apple that she loves like Liberty onto that. Mostly its just the novelty of having apple, pear and quince on the same tree.

Author:  Viron [ Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

Hey Jade - excellent link and discussion! Wow - I’d love to get my hands on that ‘flowering pear!’ I’d plaster on about 4 ‘real pears,’ and a few Banana Apple’s for future apple production. And I’ve never heard of the trees blowing up, but then I’ve had no experience with them. One of the trees that came with my homestead, planted in the teens by my Great-grandfather, was a massive Winter Banana Apple. Reading the same about their ability to support pears, I lopped off a massive limb, rung it with Bartlett pears and watched them take off! Unfortunately, the tree was so massive and its location so prime I eventually removed it to expand a vegetable garden. And, Winter Banana apples were more a pollinator than a good apple.

And that - Joe Real - is Unreal! He’s posted here - photos galore! I’m afraid most of us are below his level of experimentation - though he did invite me to stop by if in Southern Cal. - thanks again for the link - I can see now why you’re hot on interstems and mixing ‘cultivars.’

It was interesting about the interstem length some felt necessary to achieve the desired dwarfing from 12 to 6 inches. I’d go with Joe (and Stark Bros.) @ 6’’ - and it reads like you feel about the same. My concern with 12 inches would be your desire to do both grafts at once - that of the bottom of the interstem not ‘meshing’ fast enough to provide the necessary ‘juice’ to feed such a long stem - then heal & seal the cultivar scion while keeping it’s buds happy.

But what a discussion! I’ve heard several of our contributors refer to Garden Web - but I’ve purposely avoided it because I spend so (perhaps too) much time here. For a time I answered orchard posts on Craig’s List - but some of the responses were so juvenile I stopped wasting time there.

Dang, I’m ready to do some serious bark grafting! That’s what I’d do to that flowering pear - gather up all those scions, wait till the bark’s slipping & dripping - then plaster it with inverted L’s and Crown Veneers till I feared there not being enough tree left to feed its root system. And, I’d likely remove one of her three trees. I wonder what she actually did? Asking how to graft, researching it online, then ‘going for it’ for the first time in such a big way sounds daunting.

Hey - what a day weather wise today! I’m expecting Daphne, Trilliums and Humming birds any minute ~

Author:  Viron [ Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

Warning: major Tangent below :!:


“Mostly its just the novelty of having apple, pear and quince on the same tree.”

I suspect there’s some worth to that. At least it gets ordinary folks talking/thinking about how fruit trees are put together. It remains a fascination to me!

Once a water meter reader in a soil-rich area near Portland, long before my own grafting, I wondered - as I walked under countless flowing crab apples, plumbs, cherries and pears - if they could be grafted over to produce fruit..? It appears they can! -- In perhaps a new era of finance (stock's down 299 today - under 7K!) - does anyone think the public would be willing to convert their lawns to gardens and their flowering fruit trees to productive multi-variety fruiting trees..? Sounds like a full-time high-$ 3 month opportunity to me!

Man - get a band of us together and do a block in a day - or a neighborhood on a weekend. No joke; cut haul & convert! Granted, the owners would have to understand the process, and realize it wouldn’t mean ‘instant fruit.’ But in a few seasons, on established trees - the value of their strip between sidewalk and street would be more desirable and productive than most! We’ll head out in bands; one experienced grafter and 2 or 3 ‘cutter’s’ learning our craft. They’d drag and haul off debris while said grafter cleft-grafts while dormant and bark-grafts as the season progresses. So ripping large hunks from ‘growing trees’ wouldn’t be so damaging as, as the slipping bark would make for smoother grafts.

Enough? Raised by Depression Era parents - I didn’t devote 'my space' to fruit trees and vegetable gardens for nothing! Who’s in :?:

Author:  Marsha [ Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Guerrilla grafting

I'm in if you'll have me. I've fantasized plenty about guerrilla tree planting, but never about grafting. Oh, I guess with owner permission, it wouldn't be quite so covert...

My planting strip is supporting several Japanese Maples that I will not pull out while they're healthy (which should be longer than I expect to live), but I love the thought of fruit in the right-of-way. There are an awful lot of ornamental crabs in my neighborhood - I was pruning them and others for a while as a volunteer for my neighborhood (Richmond) tree committee.

What a great way to learn the various techniques.


Author:  Viron [ Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

”I'm in if you'll have me.”

Rent or invest in a limb-grinder then sell the mulch!

So Marsha, you’ve likely a better pulse on the inner-city than I do - do you think folks would understand the process, or value it enough to pay for the service..? Or, have the guts to watch their trees disassembled? There’d need to be a level of follow-up and training. And - likely a serious amount of vandalism with res, or disrespect to the new grafts. Dang

I once did some of my best work, repairing a large branch next to a sidewalk in suburbia - only to find on my second visit ‘kids’ had snapped off the scions, wrecking the project. I guess, like deer, elk or bear, on established trees (should I have stated a separate thread for this?) - we could always graft high! (-as in, higher up) And, use the ‘green’ version of Doc Farwell’s grafting seal - and no florescent survey tape marking our work - just make and leave detailed descriptions and maps of their new trees and varieties.

- just brainstorming here, but drastic times may call for drastic measures!

Author:  jadeforrest [ Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

Back to interstem grafting: Viron, you'll be pleased to know the interstem you grafted at the scion exchange is budding (or at least the buds are turning green and starting to separate -- I think that's called budding as opposed to the practice of putting your own bud on a tree).

Author:  gkowen [ Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  Interstem grafting- Revisited

Time to bring this topic back up. Specifically, I'd like to know how the 2 grafts at once worked. So who did both grafts at the same time last year and what was the take? I am thinking of trying this. Thanks for all the information.

Author:  jadeforrest [ Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

Viron did the double grafting for me at the scion exchange.

When I compare it to the other two apple trees I have that are not double grafted, there isn't really that much difference. It may be about a foot smaller than the other trees, and it got started a little later. But it's doing great.

I'm pretty sold on interstems. Even if it takes a year off your first fruit date (and I'm not 100% sure it will), it seems like long term it's such a reduction in hassle that it's worth it.

Author:  plumfun [ Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

Best to let interstem get 15 to 18 inches long before putting on final cultivar, if you want to take advantage of the maximal effects the interstem has to offer.

So I'm tole.

Author:  Viron [ Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

plumfun wrote:
Best to let interstem get 15 to 18 inches long before putting on final cultivar, if you want to take advantage of the maximal effects the interstem has to offer.

That would likely preclude the ‘double grafting’ - unless you painted over the buds on the interstem to keep them from pushing, thus sending the nutrients directly to the scion or final cultivar on top. A hardy or well-rooted rootstock would likely be a plus. Otherwise you’d do the interstem graft, let it grow a leader and either Bud or whip & tongue graft it when dormant - losing that year.

Author:  Viron [ Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

jadeforrest wrote:
Viron did the double grafting for me at the scion exchange - it got started a little later. But it's doing great.

- actually, that was fun, requiring more planning and concentration than most. – didn’t even charge ya double :P

Author:  gkowen [ Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

How long was the stem before the scion? 6 inches? Thanks for the replies.

Author:  plumfun [ Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Interstem grafting

… losing that year.

That is debatable. When you mount your final scion the next year, it is able to grow no faster than the rootmass will allow it. If you did a good job of sunning, feeding, and watering the summer before, you will have a nice rootmass to push that second scion. Did a measly job of building rootmass? Scion will grow accordingly.

To the extreme: One year I let a plum rootstock (5 years in ground) push a single bud. The whip grew at least 8 feet that summer!

Also had a green-grafted grape that, after having knitted the wound (and momma plant pruned waaaay back), grew a cumulative of 80 feet in one season! Full crop on that scion the next summer!

Rootmass determines all this.

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