View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:19 am



Reply to topic  [ 21 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
 Grafting experiment: First try at cleft grafting 
Author Message

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post Grafting experiment: First try at cleft grafting
I am going to be making my first attempt at cleft grafting to an established apple tree. It is a Liberty variety (I planted 2 in my small orchard). I am not sure what the rootstock is. The trunk above the first set of branches is about 3 inches in diameter. This is where I plan to graft. Is it ok to graft above the lower level of branches? I know it will probably take slower and grow slower. I am going to use red gravenstein, and regular gravenstein scion wood. I have read alot on the process and it seems straight forward. The main question I have is once I have the scions installed I plan to cover all the cuts with grafting wax. Do I need to FILL the cleft completely or just make sure to seal over it and down far enough to cover the split? I understand the need to keep it from drying out. And might even apply was a few times to make sure. Thanks for any information.


Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:56 pm
Profile

Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 5:24 pm
Posts: 126
Location: Puyallup, WA
Post Grafting experiment: First try at cleft grafting
I only cover the cleft with tape and/or grafting compound. I think it will eventually grow closed if it isn't filled.

If you do a cleft graft as you described you probably shouldn't plan on keeping both a Red Gravenstein and regular Gravenstein in the same trunk. Use only one variety per tree because as the two pieces of scion grow larger they will push each other apart. Insert two scions of the same cultivar in the cleft. After the grafts have taken, see which one is growing more vigorously and cut the other graft off. This will prevent the splitting problem. The new graft will probably grow very quickly to try to replace the amount of trunk you have removed.

If you want more than one variety added to the tree you should do whip and tongue grafts on some upper branches or combination of the cleft graft and one or two whip and tongue grafts.


Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:27 pm
Profile

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post Thanks for the help
I had forgotten that as the grafts grow they can be pushed apart. I will need to remove one once I see how they take. Thanks for the reminder. I am enjoying learning. Thanks again.


Tue Jan 10, 2006 3:41 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post 
gkowen:

"Is it ok to graft above the lower level of branches?"

If the tree is trained as a 'central leader' (fir tree like), you will be removing quite a bit of energy producing stock by cutting above the first set of branches. Hopefully, those branches will produce enough energy to feed the roots... Leave those branches growing for several years so as to feed the root system while the 'new tree' develops.

--- If you've got a 'vase shaped' tree, with a much smaller 'leader' taking off above those branches, the bulk of the tree would be within those 'branches,' and you'd obviously be leaving 'more tree.' If so, I'd have less concern for the root system. If you have a vase shaped tree (as I do), you could graft onto two of the (let's say) four branches, and end up with 3 varieties; eventually changing the entire tree over in several years...

"I know it will probably take slower and grow slower."

Actually, it should grow pretty well; just make sure none of the lower branches are shading the new graft too much once it leafs out.

"Do I need to FILL the cleft completely or just make sure to seal over it and down far enough to cover the split?"

Good question. What I use now days to 'fill in' the cleft is Plumbers Putty; it's inert, pliable, and cheep. Just insert the scions (I agree in using only one variety per cleft), then roll a ball of this putty and place it gently in the open wound. Don't force-fill it! You don't want it interfering with the scions or pushing them out of alignment; only to 'plug' the gaping gap. 3 inches (to me) is about the maximum diameter for a one-split cleft graft - remember, you can also make a second cross split and insert 4 scions. This would help heal / seal that large a wound...

Once you've gently plugged the gap(s), paint over it with whatever you're using to seal the graft. I prefer a latex based grafting seal ... the brush washes out easy and it expands a bit with growth. And don't forget to dab the tips of the scions, to keep them from drying out. Also, on such a large cleft there is usually an "open slit" in the stock extending beyond the bottom of the inserted scions; I also smear some putty into each of those 'slits' before painting / sealing.

My last suggestion (unless you request more) is to use a large screwdriver to pry this large a cleft 'straight open.' But don't pry it too hard! Leave it in there as you place both scions; gently spreading it as necessary to align them, then checking that neither have shifted before removing the screwdriver by pulling it straight up. Also ... as growth begins, watch for competing 'water-sucker' sprouts from around the grafts (on the original stock). If your grafts 'take,' rub off such suckers, if the scions don't grow, you might leave 2 or 3 of them to graft onto next spring...

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:20 am
Profile

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post Thanks for the comments
It was an interesting experience. I was worried about how to make the cleft and so I went to a garage sale and found a small heavy clever that did the trick with one small tap of the hammer. Then trimming the scions is another story. I tried a sharp knife and kept getting a curved cut so I grabbed my x-acto knife and it was no problem. Finally I thought I had 2 good fits and placed them in the cleft and let it close. I verified the cambium layers should be lined up and slightly tilted both scions out to make sure. Then I waxed it all. I see that wax is not the easiest way to seal the cleft but I have it and it works. Now I guess time will tell if they take. I took a photo of the completed task if anyone is interested. By posting this photo I am probably revealing how much of a beginner I am and hopefully not showing something that reveals much more stupidness on my part. I wanted to take and make a webpage out of the whole process but I had little time when doing it. Maybe next time I will. Here is a link to the photo. Thanks again for the advice .

http://home.comcast.net/~gkowen/graft2.jpg


Wed Jan 18, 2006 10:42 am
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post 
gkowen;

I'm smiling - great work! The heavy clever sounds perfect, and cheep - I got mine from a thrift store.

I've found that a knife blade for grafting needs to be ridged; if it flexes, you'll get that "curved cut" effect you described. Other than a 'real' grafting knife (not cheep), many good grafters use an "x-acto knife." I prefer my grafting knife, it has about twice the cutting surface.

I suspect you did the 'double-wedge' cuts on your scions... Tapered to the bottom, and from one side; it's so important that when that stock comes together it hits cambium to cambium first. Nice 'tilt' on those scions! Regarding the 'wax,' you might as well use what you have - latex grafting seal (for what little you actually need) is not cheep either.

Two concerns on my part... It's still early, I'd have waited a good month longer to do this, but as long as there's no bone-freezing weather, or a bird doesn't land on the scions, you're probably OK.

Second concern (and most importantly): The scions look too long ... Most new grafters feel "more's better." Problem is, what little 'sap flow' that initially gets across those callousing 'connections' is barely enough to provide the energy to develop 2 or 3 buds - let alone 5. And in the end, you'll only need one. As they are now, they'll all begin to "push," and leaf-out, but may very likely peter-out when warmer weather hits and not enough 'food' makes it to each of them. --- My suggestion is to snip them back to only 3 buds each, then reseal their tips. If you decide to do this, use your sharpest hand pruners ... as not to disturb the placement of the scions. --- and I wasn't joking about the birds; but any kind of temporary netting can stop them.

I love the idea (and your effort) of putting up either a website, or just posting an update on this thread so we can follow the progress! No "stupidness" on your part, as far as I'm concerned - you're way ahead of the pack :D !

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:52 am
Profile

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post Thanks again for the advice
Ok, so I went out after sharpening my pruners and was only going to trim one graft down but it cut so easily and I was so positive I didn't disturb it that I did both and resealed the tips. I know it is early but all my trees seem to be getting an early start this year. I was at a local nursery and they had a potted plum tree that was left out all winter and it is blooming. I am hoping the cold weather keeps away. I won't dare say I hope it keeps raining. We are on 34 straight days. But if it does turn cold, how does one keep the trees from freezing? I imagine plastic over the top with some type of smudge pot? I have too many trees for this. I could do select ones. What about a lawn sprinkler?


Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:15 pm
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post 
I'm glad you took my advice on shortening the scions, nice work (will we get a new photo?). I wouldn't worry about the freezing... Just save some of your scion wood, if you haven't chucked it yet. If, in a month or so, you think there's been any serious damage, or, if they don't leaf out as / when expected, it appears as though you have plenty of stock below the graft, just do it again :wink: !

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:39 pm
Profile

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post 
I will take a new photo this weekend. Its supposed to be clear and I am going to plant a couple new trees. If my trees ever produce I will be able to provide the county with fruit. But its the fun, the fresh air, and the challenge that I like.

_________________
Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.


Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:51 pm
Profile

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post 
Guess I forgot to post the pic. I think I will probably have to redo this after last nights 24 degrees. It will be another cold one tonight. I did save some scionwood and will wait till the cold weather is over to try again. It still might work but who knows - time will tell.

_________________
Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.


Tue Feb 07, 2006 1:29 pm
Profile
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2004 1:58 pm
Posts: 228
Location: Oregon
Post 
Quote:
But if it does turn cold, how does one keep the trees from freezing?

By hanging large bulb Christmas lights in your trees. 8)

Thanks to Ted Swensen for that idea. The lights keep the tree warm enough to prevent it from freezing.

_________________
Steven
HOS Webmaster


Sat Feb 11, 2006 1:31 pm
Profile WWW

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post 
We have had 5 nights below 25F. I will have to try the Christmas lights idea if they bloom and it turns cold. Thanks for the idea

_________________
Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.


Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:04 pm
Profile

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post 
Thought I'd bring this back up. The tree that I got the scionwood from shows definite signs of coming out of dormancy. I do not see any signs from the grafts. How slow would the grafts be compared to the original tree? We have had severe cold weather since I grafted them. It has been down to 6 degrees and today on March 11 we have 2 inches of snow. I have some more scionwood in the fridge. Basically when should I give up and start from the beginning again? I did scratch the scions slightly and they are still green under the bark. But then again so are the prunings in the burn pile from December.

_________________
Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.


Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:00 am
Profile

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post 
Greg; My best recollection is the grafts lag behind their contemporaries in the orchard by a couple of weeks. Of course that varies. I was thinking about your grafts ... as we bottomed out at 22 degrees back then, and hey, we've still got 4 inches of snow on the ground! And - the Hummingbirds are back!! (W/ feeder out)

There's no real hurry, if you've got protected dormant scion wood to follow-up with. One of the more successful grafts I've done are several type of bark grafts; and they're all done after the sap's flowing and the barks 'slipping.' So, if you don't get any action in a couple weeks past leaf-growth on your neighboring apple trees, hack it back another 3 inches - and do it again!

You had me laughing about that 'green stuff' on the burn pile, I'm sure it's perfectly viable - If you knew for sure what it was... Thanks for the update, and if/when they begin growing - we'll expect pictures :D

_________________
Home Orchard Society Coming Events: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/


Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:05 pm
Profile

Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post 
Ok, so I get impatient. After the snow let up I went out and checked the trees. I decided to cut the scions on this back to 1 bud. Probably a dumb thing to do but easily done. The scions were green clear through and I 'retarred' the newly cut ends. I will wait and see now. If they grow you will have pics, if not - I will make a webpage of the whole process so I can learn and maybe others too. Thanks for all the help. So I need to get out my hummingbird feeders??? Hmmm, time to get the camera ready. Hummers are great photo opportunities.

_________________
Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.


Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:52 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 21 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: