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 HOS Canby Scion Exchange 
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Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:00 pm
Posts: 22
Location: Chehalem Mountain
Post HOS Canby Scion Exchange
Today my husband and I went to the scion exchange in Canby. We were thrilled with the many cultivars offered, but especially impressed by the dedication of the volunteers who did the grafting. Hard work! Long hours! --but really done in a spirit of joy. What a service. ---Julie and Steve on Bald Peak


Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:20 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: HOS Canby Scion Exchange
:D

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Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:11 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: HOS Canby Scion Exchange
…twas a blast. The grafting help was impressive and appreciated. Thanks guys – and Karen (who took over for Shaun)! In the good ol' days I remember one scion exchange in Hillsboro when there were only two grafters – what a workout! The fun thing was working along side one of the most talented grafter’s I’ve met. Problem was I spent a fair amount of time watching and asking about his techniques. He’d worked at the clonal germplasm repository in Corvallis and was full of tricks, but I’m glad I watched and asked those questions because that was his one and only grafting date with us. And for years we only had three grafters… but yesterday was great …think I counted seven of us – yet at crunch-time someone told me folks had waited two hours to have a graft made …but it’s not anything you can or should rush.

Fun stuff? Got to splice a new scion on a failed graft from last year, and learn it wasn’t one of mine… Got handed a peach scion with three beautiful blooms - and pushing leaves! …I joked with the scion folks who’d supposedly put that one in the cans …I didn’t use it. The apple and pear scions arrived from the Smith Homestead in the Tillamook State Forest! Having their location described - I remember those trees! My Dad (always noticing abandoned fruit trees) would point them out when we’d stop at the now locked park beside Hwy 6 on our way from Portland to Rockaway. It was an honor to play a part in propagating them – as they’ll be replanted on the original home site! Another honor was ‘building’ several trees for a family who’d brought their father, in his late eighty’s, to watch me propagate another generation of a Gravenstein apple from his tree that sounded to be over a hundred and fifty years old.

Tuff stuff? Had lots of folks bringing in their own wood …which is fine, and encouraged… but instead of “pencil diameter” scions they were closer to the diameter of pencil lead. So instead of making the classic ‘whip & tongue’ graft, with rootstock and scions nearly matched in size, I’d do a ‘cleft graft’; that’s two tiny little whittled down scions placed on either side of the split stock of their rootstock …tedious. And my last client arrived (late) with 10 pear rootstocks and two scions she’d cut from a “very old pear tree.” I asked if she was going to give them away to friends? She planned to plant them all on her place. I asked if she was going into commercial production, for which I’d suggest a pollinator… No, she just ‘liked the pear.’ …and as she described it …it sounded very much like a Bartlett… Other than breaking our 5 tree limit, I told her that of all the fruit I grow --I wouldn’t want ten trees of anything! …so she had me put together four while she went off to exchange for some apple rootstocks and scions (and pay for several more grafts).

And the rootstocks were extremely muddy this year. I’d (half) joked that I was one of those kids that could never stand dirt under my fingernails, as well as being somewhat of a perfectionist …then held out my hands and said ‘this would have driven me nuts!’ My client cracked up …she could feel my pain. And as far as the perfectionism… it’s difficult to achieve anything near that while tweaking with nature. And I was constantly asked, generally while making the most dangerous ‘tongue cut,’ if, or how many times I’ve cut myself. More confident than superstitious, I said never. This being my fifteenth year of grafting at the exchange I’ve never cut myself; then go on to describe how I’m not really pushing the knife toward me as much as ‘dragging’ it to the side …with only a gentle push. One thing that bothered me was a mom insisting her young son watch my every move …in that he appeared very inclined to ‘do this at home,’ if likely alone. Though I’d grafted trees for each of my children’s first grade classmates a decade ago, I will still emphasize they not try this themselves.

Though I saved a bunch of M-9 and B-9 for interstems, no one wanted a ‘double graft’ this session… …well Dennis has them now… and it’s always a blast to see our society members, if only for a (very) quick ‘Hi’ in passing, on the way to our assigned posts. Actually, one of the most difficult aspects of working at the show is missing it! With a prior dinner engagement with two longtime members one demanded I “eat lunch!” “Put up a sign if you need to!” …no could do... looking out on chairs full of patient folks awaiting their turn at the tables kept me going constantly …nursing a can of coke was the best I could do – throat lubrication and some additional sugar and caffeine did the trick. I was asked several times where the “Grafting display” was… well, Wayne’s no longer with us ...and that’s what he did best – tirelessly and enthusiastically describing the process of bench grafting and topworking to those waiting for ‘the real thing.’ I’ve considered doing that… a graduation of sorts, but get so much satisfaction ‘making’ actual trees, as opposed to ‘pretending’ that I can’t quite pull away from the grafting tables… But I did vow to mention this to those in charge, and ask for volunteers to (attempt to) take Wayne’s place…

So what did I learn..? I learned that ‘the machine,’ even with a friendly and talented operator, must still hand off the tiny work to those of us with knives. I had a guy stand by me (I prefer to stand while I graft so had my table elevated) and watch for a good while, eventually saying he was going to lead a grafting seminar the following day. After my complaining about both a bending rootstock and scion, this gentleman suggested I 'match the bends.' Actually, I’d just done that several grafts earlier and likely lit up – then did it again. Looked kinda odd, but the cambial cells were matching beautifully on both sides of the slight curve! One problem with our show is the lack of feedback regarding our grafts… I learned more last year after grafting a dozen trees for a friend, while dealing with all kinds of problems, than from an entire scion exchange simply due to his feedback… so I always encourage folks to log-in here and let ‘us’ know how things go, or we’ll never know. I don’t know about the ‘other guys,’ but I’m always looking for something new as far as technique. There were several other attendees who simply stood along side making helpful if not interesting suggestions and observations. Everyone appeared well entertained!

Speaking of learning; for the many folks wanting to learn ‘how to graft,’ our classes were around four weeks ago at Clackamas Community College, not far from our HOS Arboretum. That’s where we have to stand back and ‘watch you do it.’ We also describe and give examples of how to both bench graft and Topwork fruit trees. These classes have been filling up and were sold out in advance this year… with thoughts of adding more. But ‘that’s’ where it’s best to learn …due to the fact yesterday’s exchange focuses more on mass production than individual learning.

So - Thanks again to all who make this a bigger and better event every year! To Vern Nelson, whose membership and promotion in the Oregonian is always appreciated and repeatedly mentioned by attendees. I’d also like to thank (though I’ve forgot her name) our member who donated a fresh pound of the wonderful large grafting (or budding) bands. Seems we were within blocks of “OBC,” Oregon Bag Company in Canby … where for $14 you get a pound – or an eight lifetimes supply. The real expense for most of us is the price of shipping to our places. It was nice to be able to hand a few bands to the many customers who intended, after watching us, to graft several trees on their own at home. They’d also asked what I’d recommend for sealing the tip cut on the scion and I suggested ‘Elmer’s glue’ - as had been described recently by someone around here – saving them the additional expense of a jar of Doc Farwell’s grafting seal.

Enough :P I obviously enjoy and look forward to this event – what a great group of folks who appreciate fruit trees :)

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Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:51 am
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Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:02 am
Posts: 25
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: HOS Canby Scion Exchange
Just want to add my thanks to all the volunteers -- and to those who brought scions, grape cuttings, and so much more! I've potted up the three apples grafted by a volunteer, the grape cuttings are in water, and I'm trying to figure out where the raspberries (from the arboretum's sale booth) will go. (Probably into pots for a couple of months.)

One question: for a variety of reasons, I thought we'd lost all three of the trees we had grafted last year (no graft problems, strictly user error) -- but one of them may have survived. I don't see lively-looking buds, and it fails the thumbnail scratch test (no green), but the trunk's still flexible. Is there any hope?


Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:30 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: HOS Canby Scion Exchange
Not likely. You should see green on the rootstock below the graft even if the graft didn't take.
John S
PDX OR


Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:40 pm
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