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 Graft Candidates for Ash Roots - Ash Borer is Here! 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:14 pm
Posts: 3
Post Graft Candidates for Ash Roots - Ash Borer is Here!
I live in the Chicago area and the Emerald Ash Borer has arrived in my neighborhood, at the same time that Dutch Elm has hit.

Lucky me, my lot is mostly elm and ash. But, I've got an idea.

I topped some ash that hold my woodpile and were under stress down to 4 feet and I've been amazed at the growth from the trunk, which made me realize how much energy is stored in those roots.

So, here's my idea... Find anything that has a chance of side grafting onto my ash trees, and side graft at the root flare. Get everything established that I can so that, when the borer hits, I can cut the trees as low as possible and let the scions turn all of that energy into new trunks.

My request to all of you is for a source to research the potential candidates for grafting, or a list of candidates that might work.

Grafting tips wouldn't hurt either.

Thanks for the help.

Phil


Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:20 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Graft Candidates for Ash Roots - Ash Borer is Here!
We do fruit trees, not ornamental or specimens 8)

As far as the grafting, I would suspect whatever kills the Ash would transfer to its roots, via the borers. Are the ash trees grafted onto a resistant rootstock or growing on their own roots..? If on their own roots, I suspect they’re doomed ...as whatever toxin kills the upper portion would likely take out the root system as well.

Grafting under the canopy of a fully leafed-out tree doesn’t usually amount to much. If ‘they’ (whatever they’d end up being) did ‘take,’ they’d likely go into a stasis, at best, simply waiting for sunlight. But then again, if the rootstock is infected by a disease, it and the new graft’s days would be numbered.

Replace them with fruit trees -- I haven’t a ‘specimen’ tree on my place. …but I’m not sure what does well in Chicago, other than my little Sister’s family :P

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Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:34 am
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:14 pm
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Post Re: Graft Candidates for Ash Roots - Ash Borer is Here!
"We do fruit trees, not ornamental or specimens"

Great. Are there any fruit trees that grow in zones 5 to 6 that could possibly graft onto an ash?

"As far as the grafting, I would suspect whatever kills the Ash would transfer to its roots, via the borers". Actually, the emerald ash borer kills the tree through mechanical damage. After a few generations of borers perforate the cambium, the canopy dies or the tree falls. Dutch elm is another issue here where a fungus is transferred by a borer, but even that fungus only kills the trunk, and the roots typically sprout new growth, which is killed off again by the fungus a few years later.

"Grafting under the canopy of a fully leafed-out tree doesn’t usually amount to much. If ‘they’ (whatever they’d end up being) did ‘take,’ they’d likely go into a stasis, at best, simply waiting for sunlight." Many of these trees are 50 feet high, with no branches below 40 feet, however as the trees have been thinning out and more light is hitting the lower trunk, they've be sprouting near the base with new growth. I'd bet that I could get a compatible graft to grow.

"Replace them with fruit trees" That's the idea. I've been in-planting like mad with many many trees, from small bare root stock to large root-ball stock, but given the energy in these ash roots, I can get much bigger trees, much quicker if I can graft onto these roots.

It's a creative experiment.

Anyone have any suggestion?


Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:49 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Graft Candidates for Ash Roots - Ash Borer is Here!
“Are there any fruit trees that grow in zones 5 to 6 that could possibly graft onto an ash?” -- I can safely, if sadly, say no … there's species incompatibility.

“After a few generations of borers perforate the cambium, the canopy dies or the tree falls.” -- Didn’t know that… So, you could simply allow them to ‘re-fill’ their voids in a rotational die off..? We’ve lots of multi-trunked Big Leaf Maples ‘out here’ where the stump was left after logging and the roots also sent up multiple shoots --which over time became ‘trees.’ Fortunately, beyond further logging, they’ve not had to fear an instant insect attack...

Once had a friend beckoning me to graft ‘replacement’ shoots to the tops of trees lining a yard that the landlord had ‘hacked’ off too short. He’d even saved scions. I finally convinced him that I couldn’t do one tenth the job nature could/would do as those trees each sent up a gazillion shoots the following spring … which they did! In your case, you’ll just be ‘stuck’ with the original, or rootstock cultivars.

“I've been in-planting like mad with many many trees, from small bare root stock to large root-ball stock, but”… -- That in-panting sounds like your best plan for transitioning to fruit trees …baring the rotting corps’ of the larger trees don’t crush them on impact :shock: In fact, you may want to use a NW logger’s trick of coating the cambial layer with herbicide after removing the upper portion of the existing dead and dying trees to kill the roots… In your case it would cut down all competition with your new fruit trees …and you could even plant some very close to the dead stumps.

All that said, I’d hate to stop your experiment! If you’ve any shoots currently growing from the rootstock (or base) of your larger trees -- they’d be excellent candidates for ‘Bud Grafting’ in a few weeks. It’s a very simple process in which you’d have nothing to lose. Just collect as many different varieties of fruit or nut producing ‘bud sticks’ as you can and bud them to the multiple root shoots. If any take – great - go from there! But be aware, though I don’t expect any success… if some did take, there’s a graft incompatibly concern over time; whereas the union eventually fails for various (if usually unknown) reasons.

It would be wonderful to find such a match …but concentrating on safely removing the massive dead & dying trees while in-filling and protecting your new standalone fruit producing cultivars seems the best plan 8)

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Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:46 pm
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:14 pm
Posts: 3
Post Re: Graft Candidates for Ash Roots - Ash Borer is Here!
Thank you for the response.

I'll look into bud grafting. I didn't realize I could graft this late in the summer. I do have many recent shoots from recently cut roots. I figured that I had nothing to lose, hence the experiment. I have to admit, not all attempts will be fruit or nut bearing.

I've planted half a dozen franklinia altamaha. I might try a scion from one of these on an ash root first. American linden (bass), japanese pear.... Every scion candidate on my lot gets a shot.

I'll post any successful results.


Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:21 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 485
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: Graft Candidates for Ash Roots - Ash Borer is Here!
Try privet, forsythia and lilac. Or olive if you can find some. LINK


Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:34 pm
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