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 Time to Top Graft? 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:40 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Post Time to Top Graft?
I have an Apple(Gravenstein), Fig(Brown Turkey), and a Plum(Brook). I am a new member and will be making my first try at grafting. I want to try top grafting each tree.

Got some great info and cuttings for the above at the exchange yesterday. My cuttings are in plastic bags in my refrigerator and I need to know how long I can keep them there before using them.

Thanks for your help.

Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:17 pm

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Joe; have I got this right - your apple, fig, and plum are existing (already planted and growing) trees? And, you want to graft additional varieties to them? If so, your grafting wood will 'keep' (wrapped in a damp sheet or two of newspaper and sealed in a plastic bag) inside your refrigerator for a long time.

Depending on which grafts you plan on making, you can either do them 'today,' or in a month - after the bark is 'slipping.' Dormant grafts, like the cleft, or whip & tongue can be made now. If you plan on making any bark grafts, you will have to wait for the sap to flow, and the bark to slip. If you've young trees, I'd suggest the dormant grafts. If they're say, 20 years or older, their diameter and bark thickness make a bark graft your best option.

As for that Fig ... I've never known anyone to graft over, or 'top-work' a fig...? I suspect their scion wood is too weak and hollow to withstand grafting. And, they are so easily started from 'cuttings.' Their bark never seems thick enough to 'bark graft,' and I believe I've heard it said they 'bleed,' or ooze sap too much to be successfully top-worked. -- Anyone had any success with them? --

As for rooting Fig cuttings, my best advice comes from a past master fig grower, Helen Webb of Yamhill (credit where credit's due). She taught me to insert them into garden soil at a sharp angle. Using a 12 to 18 inch cutting (simply a piece of last years growth, though second year wood works good too), leave only 2 or 3 buds above the soil line, and don't bury the rest deeper than 8 inches below, at an angle. That 'angle' keeps the entire cutting in a zone of warmth, it will send out roots from the buried buds, or nodes; after one season of water and protection you can give them away (as I'm doing now!) 'bare root,' or pot them up, or, leave them another year.

--- Now, if I didn't guess correctly at your intentions - set me straight, and I'll try again! This seems my addiction :roll:

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Sun Mar 05, 2006 10:11 pm

Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:40 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Thanks for your reply, Viron. The apple and plum are 15-20 years old and the fig is 10 years old. Thanks for the tip on storing the cuttings. I will add the wet newspaper and seal the bags.

Yes it is my intention to add different varieties to the trees. It seems I need to decide where and what size limbs to graft onto before I decide on which type of graft and when to do it. I may try more than one type of graft, just for the fun of it. Will a cleft or whip graft work after growth starts using dormant scions?

As for grafting onto a fiig, I asked 3 people at the exchange. The older gentelman giving the great demonstrations did not know if it would work but had never tried it. Another volunteer did not think it would work. I asked Vern Nelson after his talk and he said that he has done it succesfully, although I did not ask how difficult it was nor which technique to use. I plan to give it a try since I have the cuttings. I don't have a sunny spot for anther fig tree and as much as I like them, diabetes limits my carb intake.

I have rooted fig cuttings in the past with about 50% success. I use a shovel to poke a slit in the ground, use a 12'' cutting and dab a little rooting compound on the lower inch. I already have them in the ground but I will try angling them next time. Maybe this will improve my percentage.

Thanks again for your help :P

Mon Mar 06, 2006 12:40 am
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