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 Another learning attempt 
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post Another learning attempt
Ok so I might have a petrified tree or 2 upstairs but I am going to learn today someway. I have some 12 inch pencil diameter scionwood (dormant) that I'd like to graft to my trees. I have an Omega grafter and can do a whip and tongue graft. I practiced on my burn pile from pruning. I also have the rubber strips to bind the grafts. So if I do a nice graft, how many buds or how long should I leave the scionwood? 3 buds? 3 inches? Just how much scion can a grafted junction support? Also, being the scientific type, I had this thought. If I put a 6 inch scion on, it is going to try to 'suck' more sap than a 3 inch scion. If this starts and seems to go well and then the scion is carefully cut to 3 inches and sealed. Wouldn't the graft be much more likely to work? I know its tough to prune without disturbing the graft but I just need to keep cutting or banding or something until the trees flower. I have spring fever I guess...

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Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.


Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:16 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Greg; I guess we're talking apples..? I've lost track... No real 'difference' in technique, they're just more forgiving than stone-fruit. I think I've seen the "Omega" Grafting tool in action at the HOS Scion Exchange. Here again, like all 'whip to whip' grafting - matched diameter scion / rootstock is ideal, but rarely perfect enough to ignore that critical one side of cambial / bark alignment. Meaning, you will still have to align one side of the cambium, or bark of both pieces; if the other side happens to line up - all the merrier!

My concern with such a mechanical grafting device is maintaining that alignment, or keeping it from shifting in toward the center of the rootstock (or vise versa) as it's wrapped. With the hand splice, or whip & tongue I do, I'll actually tap the finale connection 'home' with a small hammer or hand pruner to a point where I can shake the two pretty vigorously without either moving, or shifting. The Omega leaves a more shallow connection and lacks that tongue (if this is the machine I envision - I've not yet searched it online). I would be extremely careful when you wrap the connection that you do not cause, or allow it to 'shift' over - and remember to wrap from the bottom up, overlapping the band a bit to create a water shedding barrier.

Scion length: If there're long, relatively large, strong roots on your rootstock, I'd leave 3 buds on the scion. If it's 'weaker,' leave only two. Keep in mind, more is not better! And of course, you could very likely get a tree by leaving only one bud, considering you'll only 'leave' one upright shoot to become the trunk. The "graft junction" you question is the limiting factor, I don't know (or think) there's a "pulling" action by the scion until / unless that graft union is established. My guess is there would be no significant difference if you were to 'create' such a 'pull' by placing a long scion - and eventually clipping it. In fact, as that clipping process would remove the end bud, the bud most responsible for giving off the hormone that drew sap past the prior buds --- you'd be weakening the scion and remaining buds...

Leave two or three buds, seal the tip with grafting seal, then leave them alone! I admit that having been one of my problems in my early days of grafting - that of leaving it alone! I'd check them daily, wiggle them, scrape bark, unwrap tape... Now they're lucky, or perhaps more lucky, that I have a hard time remembering where I put them; and by the time I run across them, they've got a few inches of new growth! --- Hope this helps :P

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Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:10 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
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Thanks for the information Viron. I seem to maintain good alignment with the Omega tool. I practiced with it and twhip grafting on the pruning burn pile. Basically, I just cut off a branch then cut it in half and made the graft on those 2 halves. Then I banded them and put the lower part in water. I waited a month or so then took them apart and noted that most were connected well. I need to get a good grafting knife to get straight not concave cuts. I sharpened a pocket knife and am close but need the single edge to do better. I am learning but the cooler March weather is making it slower I think. I have a few more pieces of scion wood (plum and apple) so I need to play more. And then wait and see.

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Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.


Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:22 pm
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