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 Apple grafts -still dormant? 
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:49 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Camas
Post Apple grafts -still dormant?
I used 5 scions and rootstocks from this year's exchange and grafted within a week. There was some growth from the rootstock (leafing below the graft) recently.

But nothing happening from above the grafts.

So, I guess two questions:

1) Should I leave as is (watering as necessary) and wait ?

2) What could I do to be able to reuse the rootstock next year? Or is it feasible to graft in the fall?


I did tongue and graft (from the grafting seminar), but used the green wax rather than the yellow brush on. I watched carefully to match cadmium layers.

My 'practice' graft from the seminar has taken and has leaves on buds.


Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:54 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Apple grafts -still dormant?
If the scions are shriveled and (after this long) the only growth is emanating below them on the rootstock, they didn’t take… It’s hard to say why, perhaps it's one of those nuances more experienced grafters have eventually figure out – if likely the hard way, too :(

Definitely keep the rootstocks alive. One option would be our Budding Workshop: Saturday, August 6, 2011 - 9:00 AM at the HOS Arboretum Class starts at 9:00 AM, there is no charge. Following the class will be a summer pruning demonstration, fruit tasting and ending with our annual summer potluck -- …where you can bud graft something from our Arboretum collection the day of the event. But we don’t have ‘everything’ - so if there are specific varieties you want you’d either have to collect bud wood from that source – or – wait until next year to secure more dormant scion wood…

If you kept your rootstock potted you could always bring it to our event and let one of us grafters take a shot at connecting it. I’d be happy to. Otherwise, the green seal should have worked the same as the yellow. What did you use to wrap the splices? To me, that's far more important than the type of overcoat sealer. In fact, if you used a ‘budding’ or grafting band (big rubber band) you would only have had to seal the top cut on the scion, which I’ve been told Elmer’s glue does a good job…

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Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:23 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:49 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Camas
Post Re: Apple grafts -still dormant?
Thanks for the info, I'm just starting this learning curve.

I used masking tape under the wax (and since then I found my film can of yellow sealant from the grafting workshop, so next time...) but I'm going to look into the grafting bands.

Hope to see you at the Budding Workshop.


Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:34 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Apple grafts -still dormant?
…I’m sorry that ‘masking tape’ is still demonstrated as a viable product for graft wrapping. Beyond the ‘lore,’ such grafting isn’t all that difficult… But for beginners, it would be very helpful to use examples of “budding” or “grafting bands” - as opposed to the masking tape example…

In the hands of a competent grafter, masking tape can and most often works; several members that show up to help and teach at our yearly classes continue to use it. It’s what they know and how they learned. My ongoing concern is with folks like you. After watching such an example I’ll head over to a group of learners ready to make their first whip & tongue grafts and plop down a handful of budding bands. “But he just used Masking Tape” they’ll remark! …“and I use these,” I’ll say with a concerned smile ~ then proceed to make virtually the same graft but wrap it with an air-tight overlapping band developed to break down in time and sunlight as the graft nits and expands.

The fact is – wherever two cambial cells meet from the scion and the rootstock – the graft can ‘take.’ The problem I’ve noticed with beginners (I help teach the ‘advanced’ or ‘topworking’ class at the same event), and I’ve watched a lot of them, is the large ‘air gaps’ they’ll leave due to lack of technique or a decent grafting knife. Such ‘slop’ can sometimes be remedied with an ‘air tight’ band, though very difficult for a beginner to achieve with masking tape. We’ve gone round & round & rou… on this subject and this forum - but I feel your post is further proof that advocating the use of masking tape for a beginning grafter is definitely to their disadvantage.

We have begun to introduce budding bands, and though they’re difficult to find, now offer them to our students. But when they’ve just watched the instructor (actually one of many roving the room) show it done with 'masking tape' (which will work, as he’s made a slick slice and wrapped it near air tight..), they continue to shy away from anything different. Once home, I suspect they experience a higher percentage of failures due to the same… sad to say. But, though a longtime member, to some, I’m but a pup …perhaps waiting my turn :wink:

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Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:13 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1348
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Apple grafts -still dormant?
We can remember when we started to graft, and it's a long process, and most people gradually get better and better. I wouldn't tell anyone not to use masking tape in a pinch.

Like many things, there is a value in having the patience, perseverence and discipline to continue to develop so you can see just how frequently you can use grafting. I never thought I would use it as much as I do. Starting with good habits increases the likelihood that you will have success and continue to develop your skill.

There are two specific reasons why I don't use masking tape anymore. One is that it is often raining or wet in Feb-May when I'm grafting, and masking tape just doesn't work as well as rubber bands in the rain or wetness. In fact, it hardly works at all. Another is that sometimes, my cuts are just not as precise as I would like. The rubber bands hold the scion and rootstock together tightly, so the meeting is better and there is less chance of air pocket, as Viron says.

I have made many successful grafts with masking tape, but I don't think it is a good regular habit.
My 2 cents.
John S
PDX OR


Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:27 pm
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