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 Newly grafted trees still dormant, or... 
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Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:03 am
Posts: 5
Location: NE Portland, OR
Post Newly grafted trees still dormant, or...
I've been lurking on this forum for a while, enjoying the information I could glean from it. While I've been exposed to fruit tree growing since I was just a kid, I finally bought my own house and got my chance to try it out on my own this year.

This year I attended the scion exchange, picked up a few scions and some rootstocks, and proceeded to graft myself a small backyard orchard (actual number of trees withheld to protect me from being laughed at as a very poor grafter!) I'm seeing seeing buds breaking on my cherry, one of the apples, and maybe one of the pears. The rest, my dad (experienced backyard orchardist) looked at a few weeks ago and said that they were taking. Is he trying to spare my feelings, and I failed, or do some trees just recover more vigorously from grafting? How long do I wait before determining that these nonbudding grafts failed? A little scrape of the scions shows them still green, just no bud growth. If the grafts on some don't take, is there a way I can have a second chance at my trees using same rootstocks (go rip off the tape and try again?). All of the grafts were whip and tongue grafts, done same day as exchange.


Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:26 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1355
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Newly grafted trees still dormant, or...
Everybody gets better at grafting over time if you keep grafting.

Many varieties will bud out later than others. Patience is good.

I had several that got slurped by slugs and didn't grow last year, BUT GREW INTO GRAFTED LIMBS THIS YEAR!

The ones that you know didn't take are when the get dried and shriveled up. They won't grow.

Come to the budding workshop in early August and bud the plants that didn't take on whip and tongue.
John S
PDX OR


Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:52 pm
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Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:03 am
Posts: 5
Location: NE Portland, OR
Post Re: Newly grafted trees still dormant, or...
Patience is definitely hard: I'm out there "inspecting" for evidence of growth almost every day. Fortunately I have some other vigorously growing vines and trees in the yard that I can pinch buds off of and fulfill my need to tinker.

Would you remove the tape (rubber bands and glue) covering the graft at this point, or just apply more of that "patience" stuff?


Sat May 05, 2012 2:01 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1355
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Newly grafted trees still dormant, or...
Patience. As one of the teachers at the grafting class said, you'll kill a lot more scions trying to remove the tape than you will by having them be girdled by being left on too long. I had two scions that I was sure were dead. I left them on, mostly due to laziness. They both grew and one flowered. On the one that I tried to remove the rubber band, I broke the scion. Since then, I have carefully sliced the rubber band so they can expand and grow, but I didn't work hard to remove all of it because the risks are too great.
John S
PDX OR


Mon May 07, 2012 9:14 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:49 am
Posts: 2
Post Re: Newly grafted trees still dormant, or...
I've been working on an old cider orchard in upstate NY. I also have a small orchard in my yard. Because there were some great old pear trees in the bigger orchard that weren't producing anything I thought I would graft scions from my smaller orchard onto them and some of the older trees onto my younger ones. It's been really helpful to hear the word "patience", because I thought it wasn't working, but yesterday I noticed some of the grafts were leafing out. It's probably been 6 weeks or so since I performed the work, most of which was during a rare dry spell for the NE. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some of the other grafts, both pear and apple work.


Fri May 11, 2012 10:41 am
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:28 pm
Posts: 485
Location: Willamette Valley near Scio
Post Re: Newly grafted trees still dormant, or...
John S wrote:
Patience. As one of the teachers at the grafting class said, you'll kill a lot more scions trying to remove the tape than you will by having them be girdled by being left on too long. I had two scions that I was sure were dead. I left them on, mostly due to laziness. They both grew and one flowered. On the one that I tried to remove the rubber band, I broke the scion. Since then, I have carefully sliced the rubber band so they can expand and grow, but I didn't work hard to remove all of it because the risks are too great.
John S
PDX OR

What John said! Been there, done that.

Now I cover my rubber binding material with a single layer or regular paper. Winter rains will wash/rot it away and rot my rubber next spring if I forget to take it off this summer.

Have actually had some grafts girdle themselves and die over the winter from having too tight a binding and too much growth. About 2 out of 60 last summer did that.


Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:54 pm
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