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 2007 Scion Exchange 
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post 2007 Scion Exchange
Hey folks, I'm back from my hometown after yet another (my 10th) successful "Scion Exchange!" The Home Orchard Society (if I may say so myself) should be proud of itself! The location at Alder Creek Middle School, east of Milwaukie seemed ideal, so let's do it there again! I arrive earlier every year... only to find everyone else apparently got there even sooner! And it's always difficult to do your duty while ignoring longtime friends within the Society. But this year I'd brung one of my own, my oldest daughter volunteered to wrap grafts and quickly became my "Right-hand Girl!" -- And likely added 15 to 20 trees to our final count!

Our first project was to set up my display of scions from the Gravenstein Apple tree of John & Florence Herinckx; originally the John Marsh homestead of 1873, and likely a cultivar from the Henderson Luelling Nursery (stock brought by wagon across the Oregon Trail) of Milwaukie, Oregon. viewtopic.php?t=555 I was pleased with it's orderly dispersal, and had a second stash at my grafting table. After using some of those to replenish the main tub, I took home just enough to make 3 trees for the Herinckx family to disperse to family and friends {rootstock donated by HOS}.

It was also my pleasure to graft a number of trees from this source; hoping one of them lasts another century or two. But perhaps most exciting of all -- I got to meet and shake hands with a direct descendant of Henderson Luelling! Peeling away from my grafting duties for a moment we exchanged contact information; he'd also wanted to provide me with a copy of some recent research titled, "Migrations: Henderson Luelling and the cultivated apple, 1822-1854." The best I could do was show him my fading button nametag and boast of my terms as a director of our (first & last) HOS Luelling Memorial Chapter (Yamhill Co.) - and show him the remaining sticks from that old Grav. And for those who didn't get any of this scion wood, Jim Gilbert, HOS member (Mentor) and the main man at One Green World did! Coincidentally, as my customer put it, just as I was "Bragging him up" – in he came! Jim said he may propagate this Gravenstein, so it might eventually be offered by OGW

Having learned to ‘start from the bottom’ at this event, I looked the rootstock over first. B.9 for apple was new (to me), and has a beautiful purple wood. I was impressed that we had 4 pear rootstocks; and happy to see the Diospyros virginiana - for Persimmons. Speaking of which, I made only one persimmon graft all day... though I'd taken in two bundles of prime wood. People of Western Oregon - you should all have a Persimmon tree! (...another time) of all - our apple rootstock looked great! No monster sized stuff, so it made for better connections and easier grafting (thanks). Actually, I'm told that asking a nursery to break open a bundle of a thousand rootstocks so "we" can buy a few is tricky... so thanks even more!

As I sat out my fig cuttings (longer than most and initially stuck under a table), I just had to grab 3 Negrone fig cuttings for myself. Marked it, stashed it, (met a few more friends) then scurried back to my station. With tables loaded with scions - yet a 'yard full' of trees, I've strict orders - "Don't bring home anything else" ... so I had to leave the area, while wondering if fig cuttings count..? Here’s more on 'my' fig experience viewtopic.php?t=613

The grafting area was wonderful! Floor to ceiling south facing windows, with heat (if too much), overflow seating, and near the food! More conducive to grafting than the dark cold fairplex in Canby... Anyway, we got off to the usual start - fast and furious! We were a grafter short this year(?), so I conscripted one, introducing ‘Dennis’ to our world. A High School teacher, and chaperone that very afternoon for their basket ball team's State play-off game, he couldn't stay... My only request: "Don't leave us until you've found a replacement!" My assumption being, "There must be another grafter in the house?" There was; and with 3 grafters and 2 wrappers - we continued at full bore.

Though I enjoyed all my "customers," we apparently were not enforcing a limit on grafts … that will likely change next year. Perhaps my second set of customers brought 25 combinations of rootstock and scions. Had I not had my trusty helper / wrapper, I might still be there! Man, what a work-out! Problem was, it was rush-hour and we had a long line of people patiently waiting to have a few trees made. My suggestion to those starting an orchard: we have a "Make-a-tree" custom grafting program; in fact, the potted trees that greeted you before entering the main hall (perhaps a hundred) were preordered and grafted prior to this event.

I grafted pretty-much nonstop for 7 hours -- with "no runs, drips, ner errors!" My young helper was getting hungry, which reminds me - well still owe a dollar for our apple fritters... And after missing a turn for Izzy's … ate our lunches for dinner {too much cider?}. But what can you do when there're potential trees looking you in the eye? Answer: graft till you drop! Everyone was great, as usual. I’m convinced the best of humanity are those interesting in propagating plants, and most at this event were quite aware of the procedure. Me & mine handed out aftercare info sheets, which I believe is the same thing posted here: viewtopic.php?t=273 {after recounting my years at this event, last year should have been my 9th – not 8th}

As mentioned, it was an additional treat this year to have dispersed an ancient apple with a local heritage. It was also nice to have such a variation of scion sizes to choose from. I could match & mesh those Gravenstein scions so well with the rootstock that I'd joke to my wrapper, "You don't even need to wrap this one!" …And, every time I type "wrapper" here, I have to smile; a surefire laughline lately has been mentioning her helping "Rap" at the Scion Exchange, then go into her mock HOS Rap routine… She'd been practicing all week on 5 nearly wore out apple splices. She’d insist on doing some tricky ones - unevenly matched 'rootstock to scion' combinations; the trick being, not allowing the scion to drift from the one edge it must meet back toward the center. Actually, she was doing as well (or better) than me – dexterity, concentration, and vision! Though I noticed she didn't mind me wrapping several miniature (microsurgery) cleft grafts, thus giving her thumbs a rest.

...And speaking of “Microsurgery” – seems I had a multitude of ‘less than marginal’ material to work with this year. I'd thought 4 - duel scion cleft grafted peach trees a couple years back were the ultimate in stupidly, if not difficulty; you generally ‘Bud’ peaches. …Though the owner of those peach trees returned to last years event and let me know they were, “All blooming at home” that very moment, as he shook my hand. He'd patiently waited in line to do nothing more than that. Though honored - I told him I'd been ready to duck – “Cause that could have gone either way!” Actually, the running joke among our grafters is to send em to Viron... I’ll hear them snickering. But my policy has remained: I'll make any graft you insist (short of the lady insisting I put cherry wood on an apple rootstock); and I won't let you walk away with anything I wouldn't accept myself - period And after 10 years of doing this... the feedback remains positive.

I had a repeat customer Saturday bring back a tree I'd grafted for her 3 years ago, in a bucket, snipped off about 8 inches above the graft. She said it turned out to be a “Granny Smith” instead of the "Stayman Winesap" she was having me 'change it' to... I'd have suggested she keep the Granny... it had produced, but she wanted what she wanted, so that we did! I did joke to her (and several others) that she was getting an $8 graft for $4 (or $3.50?) ... those darn little cleft grafts are a lot of work -- but we don't charge extra...

{Can you tell I'm having fun? …still with me?} Seriously, back to some of that “Microsurgery;” it is discouraging to have a garbage bag full of that mornings cuttings (from the limb tips of a very old tree) plopped down with the request to, “Save this variety.” I love the idea - and certainly promote the concept, but working with 3 and 4 year old wood I have to inform them the prospect for success is decreased immensely. ...But we’ll do it! My only request (and I believe I made it here at the appropriate time: viewtopic.php?t=499 ) is to gather the scion wood while it's fully dormant; cut pencil diameter wood (we grin with the wood's good!); and store it properly... At this event I had more brittle, old, tiny, 'pushing' wood than ever! So I tried a 'new' method to handle some bud swell I'd learned at our grafting classes two weeks ago; snap off the bud to allow the latent lateral buds to take over... It ain't pretty, and you may have two competing buds from the same node, but if you're trying to keep alive that old tree from your dads place that’s being cleared at that moment (or so I was told), you do what you have to.

I'm not complaining, the challenges are fun -- if they don't mind me 'thinking out loud.’ You can get away with that in the orchard, in public, I’ve heard they might haul you off! I was also brought a "plum" tree and a handful of various scions 'to choose her a good one.' My concern: the potted (8 foot tall) plum looked "Japanese." Can anyone tell me if there's a reason you can't put a "European" (prune) plum on a Japanese plum tree..? They both use the same rootstock. My second concern was pollination; the plan (if not the request) was to give her two complementary varieties on one tree. The indecision among my fellow grafters required several trips to the scion hall -- where our HOS Arboretum Manager named the variety, then suggested an (excellent!) matching Japanese variety for pollination. I chose the largest scion stick and joked that the resulting monstrous 'whip & tongue' graft necessary to make it work should have been used at our grafting class as it was so big - yet so tight! And sometimes - I just can't help it - if a graft feels right-on, I tell em! It always feels good to announce, "That's a tree - right now - I guarantee!" ...while telling my assistant yet again not to bother wrapping it … then watch her grin...

Well folks - heard enough? Like I told a longtime fellow grafter and Genuine Character - "It's our one day of the year to be The Wizard, so lets milk it for all it's worth!" If anyone has any further questions or feedback, please let us know… at least a couple of us read this. And thanks for your attendance, your sincere “thank yous,” your patience, and supposedly - your money ... though to me, the experience is priceless!

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Last edited by Viron on Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:24 am

Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:54 am
Posts: 88
Location: Essex, England Zone 8
Wow, sounds like great fun, wish there was something like that going on over here.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:35 am
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 221
Location: Rochester, WA
Sounds like a great time. I'd love to be there next year but my Saturdays are always tied up. I am getting worried about my trees this year. I already have apples leafing out and it seems early to me.

Zone 6 or 7 - Greg in Rochester, WA.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:27 pm

Joined: Mon May 10, 2004 1:00 pm
Posts: 204
Location: SE Portland
I was hovering around, hoping to meet the guru of the forum, but Viron was way too busy for idle chitchat and homage.

Got my half dozen incipient apple trees, and now I'm the nervous parent of what feel like premature infants. Take, grafts; grow, little ones...
(Not that I have room and sun for six more trees, but I'll see what I can do.)


Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:17 am
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:12 am
Posts: 24
Post Bigger deal than it used to be.
I was pretty spaced out at the scion exchange, so I wandered around starting strange conversations, with anyone who woulds talk to me.

Well, a lot of people did talk to me, and I discovered that there were people attending from all over the US. You might expect Oregonians, Washingtonians, and Californians....But, it went further. I talked to folks from faraway states, where there were concerned about whether or not sweet cherries could survive in their climates. Brrrrrr.

Great event, and more varieties than I had imagined.

Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:51 am
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