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 Grafting on to a cherry tree 
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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I Agree :shock: Location - location - Location? And when's the Tour?

I enjoyed, salivated, and learned from your amazing post, but I've got some questions / remarks about your last statements: "Cherries are one of the easiest to graft. Cleft grafting or whip and tongue in dormant late winter, T-bud during budswell, and bark graft during early spring to bloom time, they will all work at great success rate. so go ahead and try them. You can also bark-graft cherries this summer, even T-bud during the fall."

I've had it confirmed locally (the Willamette Valley, Oregon) that dormant top-working Cherries is one of the most difficult, or 'iffy' of fruit tree grafts. And as mentioned in my prior post, I (along with others) have only about a 50% take with cleft-grafted cherries. {Whip & tongue bench-grafting appears to do fine.} I've wondered if it's their "peffy" or nearly hollow scion wood that can mash between heavy stocks? Other's have suggested they've an excessive sap flow. And we've also learned to 'do them first,' earlier than anything else.

We've another poster from Southern CA (Amazing - another Eden), his descriptions and handiwork have also blown me away. But apparently nothing actually goes dormant far enough down there? A concept difficult for me to envision; young shoots simply push off old leaves as the 'sap' always flows? Like a Fourth Dimension!

OK, let me figure this out; "Cherries are one of the easiest to graft. Cleft grafting or whip and tongue in dormant late winter" --- OK, other than the easy part (we actually do them the same as any other local fruit tree), I got that. But: "T-bud during budswell, and bark graft during early spring to bloom time..." --- To T-bud the bark must be slipping (sap flowing), but by then the buds are swelling. Once the buds begin to swell, or push, they're still viable to bud? "Up here" that's likely too fine a line; if you're where the bark's always slipping, I guess you'd only have to find a mature bud..? Our bark will often tear as our buds begin to swell. And I've never heard of using a dormant bud stick, saved (refrigerated) and budded after sap flow?

And: "You can also bark-graft cherries this summer, even T-bud during the fall." --- We T-bud in late summer, when the buds are mature, the sap's flowing, and there's time enough to bond before dormancy. By "bark-grafting cherries" - what are you using to graft? Dormant scions, 'fresh' scions, or buds? I'm not doubting anything you've accomplished; I'm actually quite amazed, but I'd hate to give the impression to those of us living where this can't be done to "go ahead and try them." Unless you're willing to field the multitude of questions as to why they didn't work :wink:

I'm also curious what you end up with as an eventual tree with all those limbs? Typically on a vase pruned tree I'll leave 4 scaffold limbs; you've 4 times that many! I realize they'll fruit on first year growth, but what about 5 years on? It almost looks as if a rotational culling would / could / should take place; plant a seedling (cheap), pepper its trunk with bud grafts, allow a couple years of production, then remove and repeat?

I felt like one of Pavlov's dogs - salivating over those photos... I tried to judge by ripeness just how far you are ahead of me, or how far south? I just thinned my Japanese plums; they're not near color, but trying! Man - if you're in CA I can certainly understand why it's so crowded! Have you plenty of water? Though the drip irrigation you described is likely the answer. Everything looks so 'clean!' Do you spray? Do you belong to a fruit-growing organization or just doing your own thing? ...I know - lot's of questions! But what do you expect after an Amazing display like that?

I'll appreciate any answers; you can even take your time. And thanks so much for answering the citrus question ... I've stopped dreaming of them ~

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Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:52 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:25 pm
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tahir wrote:
Wow Joe that is really something, spectacular.


Thanks for the compliments. I'm just a programmer with lousy skill on the knife and anyone can do it much better than me, and passion to do such is the single biggest thing required.


Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:40 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:25 pm
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jafarj wrote:
Joe, you continue to be a huge inspiration. I believe it was your bark graftign tutorial that got me over my inhibitions to give grafting a try and now I'm really into it.

You mentioned you have multi-grafted grapes. What technique do you use? Do you have pictures of your grapes on yor GW profile?

I'd love to see some pictures from further back of your various fruit trees. The fruits themselves are obviously beautiful, but I'd like to get a better sense for what the trees look like and some sense of the spacing and proportion.

Do you know of any cherries that produce quality fruit and also have some genetic dwarfing? I have a lonely Compact Stella tree. I'm not quite ready to graft vigorous cultivars onto it and try to fight them into balance. I have enough other trees to practice the balancing act on between the apples, pears and plums. But if there were a couple of varieties that might behave a bit I'd probably want to give them a try on my cherry.

At least one of your pictures seemed to show plums and cherries on the same tree. I thought that was possible, in spite of some other comments in this thread. Can you confirm that is indeed the case. The original poster seemed to like the idea of having something more exotic than just some more cherry varieties.


Jafar, I just bark grafted unto my grapes this season and was surprised that it worked! I now have three cultivars into one grape. I will prune it very good this coming winter so that it will emphasize the different cultivars and hopefully have something to show next year.

I recently bought Krymsk 5 from Raintree nursery and it is supposed to be ultradwarfing rootstock that is compatible with all types of sweet or sour cherry cultivars. I also bought Krymsk 1 and it is supposed to be a dwarfing type and compatible with almost all apricots, peaches, and plums. And here's the kicker tip for you: Krymsk 5 is graft compatible with plums and pluots from my trial this year, so it can be used as a good interstem. You can graft together krymsk 5 and krymsk 1, forming major scaffolds, and then graft all known stone fruits that you can find.

Yes I have grafted a cherry unto a plum but I used a series of two interstems a long time ago and forgotten which one was it, that was 4 years ago and was not really interested in rootstocks at that time so did not take note of the interstems, was just exploring possibilities. But now, I have combo of both dwarfing cherry and plum/peach/apricot rootstock which I plan to graft together first, then I will have all types of cross species stone fruits into just one tree: sweet cherry, sour cherry, peach, asian plums, russian plums, american plums, european plums, pluots, apriums, plumcots, peach cots, peach plums, cherry plums, almonds, apricots, nectarines, and other hybrids.

I have also tried Nanking cherries and it is quite compatible with plums, nectarines, peaches, pluots and has dwarfing effects too. It is not graft compatible with apricots and almonds, at least for the cultivars that I tried, but that is something that can be overcome with interstems like Krymsk 1 which is highly compatible with Nanking.

As to quality that is built into the cherries themselves including their natural dwarf stature, I would go for the less vigorous types. Cherries are one of those strongly influenced by their rootstocks. Based on my experience, Craig's Crimson are moderately vigorous and really one of the best tasting one. Thin skinned and wonderful blend of super sweetness and slight acidity, at least from my yard. But it is not self fruitful, which i don't worry given the numerous cultivars that I have.


Last edited by JoeReal on Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:01 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:25 pm
Posts: 26
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thanks for the compliments Viron. If every you are around the Sacramento Area, just send me email and I will pick you up or you can drive to our place in Davis, and personally give you a short-step tour. You are most welcome to sample whatever I have on the branches, as I have fruits year round. And I have 48 kinds of fruit wines, and certainly we can sample a lot of them. The wines come from fruits, what better way to preserve your fruits than turn them into wine? The longer, the better... well at least up to 7 years, then they will gradually decline, except if you make port-style which can stay for thousands of years without decline.

We are zone 9 by USDA classification and Sunset Zone 14 in the Western Gardener's handbook.

With respect to cherries, I will confirm your suspicion that we are almost cheating! One of the best tips that I can give you or to all other cherry and stone fruit grafters are these:
1. Never graft cherries when it is very humid or wet, drizzly or raining. When disease pressure is high, you would most likely injure or kill the tree, not only your graft. So wait for at least 2 days of dry spell to do your grafting to let it sufficiently dry out after the rains and 3 days more of rainless days in the forecast.
2. Some days before you graft, if there are dormant sprays you needed to do, to control fungicides, wait for it to take effect and then do your grafting thereater.
3. Always use disinfectant on your pruning shears and knives. You can sterilize them with 1 part laundry bleach mixed with 9 parts water, and then rinse off with 70% alcohol.
4. Sterilize the destination limb or stem that you want to graft by spraying with alcohol or Lysol (that contains 79% alcohol). If you use 70% ispropyl rubbing alcohol, spray your hands also, it is good massaging fluid. Let the alcohol or lysol dry off, takes about 2 minutes before doing the cuts.
5. Spray also the scionwood and let dry.
6. Then use parafilm wrap, then rubber band over the joint, then parafilm wrap to cover the whole scionwood.

The reason why I said we're almost cheating because California is almost always dry major part of the year except during winter. The disease pressure is very low, so most grafts are successful.

I've done all types of grafts on cherry trees. I will do T-budding when I see the pink color on the swollen unopened buds. Sometimes when I find it difficult to lift the bark flaps for T-budding, I immediately switch over to chip budding. Same success rates, only that chip budding is a little bit longer time required to match perfectly.

I am more concerned with the rain during the grafting than anything else. And we never prune cherries and apricots in the winter for the very same reasons of disease infection and contamination during wet season.

I bark graft cherries whenever the bark is slipping. But I do love to do whip and tongue since I can do that one way earlier and it would free me up to graft the more demanding stone fruits like the peaches and nectarines which are better to graft during the bloom and when leaves are starting to push out.

I use whatever scionwood I have, dormant or non-dormant. But I stop grafting whenever the air temperature in the forecast will exceed the low 90's. I'll just have to wait it out. But when a break happens that the next 10 days or so would be in the upper 80's to low 90's then I would resume my grafting.

I do the multi-grafting to the extremes, since I have very limited space, and land in the city is at a premium, even if they say real estate is down, but not in our place. So instead of designing the trees like you would a normal commercial orchard, I have to be extremely creative for a home with itty bitty yard, and of course there are prices to pay for such creativeness. I am forced to graft vertically and I have very good ladders and long-pole fruit picker. Except for the cherries, I can reach virtually every fruit in the yard, some of my pears are 26 ft tall, and it has 40 kinds on it more than half have fruited.

And there is a neat trick to maintain a tree well-balanced by simply grafting the less vigorous cultivars over the more vigorous limbs. Do that for 3 seasons, and the tree would have stabilized in terms of shape and balance, but of course surprisingly, you may end up with something like 5 interstems on a single limb, but hey, it works! So if I never lose any cultivar that I like. They are always transferred, and grafting doesn't stop for me. I like doing it, and would treat it much the same way like pruning. If you prune the tree each year, then there is no reason why you can't graft your trees each year for balance. And besides, it doesn't take that much time anyway, and allows you to sample many many cultivars at a very cheap price through time. When you graft unto mature trees, the very same year or most often the next season, the fruits on the newly added cultivars would be at par with a mature tree. Unlike grafting unto seedlings, it is going to take 3 or 4 years before the fruits achieve comparable quality.

Every second saturday of January each year, I go to the Scionwood exchange sponsored Santa Clara Valley chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers of which I am a member, as well as our Sacramento Chapter of CRFG.

I agree that the pattern of the weather has a big influence on your grafting success. Mood swings of the lows and the highs can wreck havoc on those grafts or gently assist them for take. For us, I don't have problems with sap flows when it begins or have too much of it. All of my grafted scionwood are always sealed with parafilm tape wrap and they don't dry out.

Here's my pattern for grafting in our area:
Apples, pears, quinces: can be grafted in the dead of winter using cleft, tongue and whip. Must have to seal the scionwood.

Then followed by plums, pluots, apricots, cherries when the buds are swollen.

Then by nectarines and peaches

Then persimmons (must wait till the first tiny leaf on the destination limb has opened)

Then lastly the evergreens like citruses, avocadoes, kumquats.

And generally: T-budding when the barks are slipping, switch over to chip-budding when the barks are hard to open. There are various times when the barks are really easy to open, and in our case for cherries, it happens when I can see the pink colored tips of the swollen unopened buds. There are many nuances and details for each fruit type and very long to write them up in this post.

I store several dormant scionwood in the fridge as backup until July. Then I throw them out and switch over to live scionwood using the same techniques. I use live scionwood as early as February for citruses doing chip budding, and as early as June for the stone fruits in our area.

Feel free to ask more, even disagree on many issues, it is okay with me. If we have different results and sometimes disagree because of what we observed, i am encouraged because there will be new knowledge to be learned whenever we reconcile the disparate observations.

Regards,

Joe


Viron wrote:
I Agree :shock: Location - location - Location? And when's the Tour?

I enjoyed, salivated, and learned from your amazing post, but I've got some questions / remarks about your last statements: "Cherries are one of the easiest to graft. Cleft grafting or whip and tongue in dormant late winter, T-bud during budswell, and bark graft during early spring to bloom time, they will all work at great success rate. so go ahead and try them. You can also bark-graft cherries this summer, even T-bud during the fall."

I've had it confirmed locally (the Willamette Valley, Oregon) that dormant top-working Cherries is one of the most difficult, or 'iffy' of fruit tree grafts. And as mentioned in my prior post, I (along with others) have only about a 50% take with cleft-grafted cherries. {Whip & tongue bench-grafting appears to do fine.} I've wondered if it's their "peffy" or nearly hollow scion wood that can mash between heavy stocks? Other's have suggested they've an excessive sap flow. And we've also learned to 'do them first,' earlier than anything else.

We've another poster from Southern CA (Amazing - another Eden), his descriptions and handiwork have also blown me away. But apparently nothing actually goes dormant far enough down there? A concept difficult for me to envision; young shoots simply push off old leaves as the 'sap' always flows? Like a Fourth Dimension!

OK, let me figure this out; "Cherries are one of the easiest to graft. Cleft grafting or whip and tongue in dormant late winter" --- OK, other than the easy part (we actually do them the same as any other local fruit tree), I got that. But: "T-bud during budswell, and bark graft during early spring to bloom time..." --- To T-bud the bark must be slipping (sap flowing), but by then the buds are swelling. Once the buds begin to swell, or push, they're still viable to bud? "Up here" that's likely too fine a line; if you're where the bark's always slipping, I guess you'd only have to find a mature bud..? Our bark will often tear as our buds begin to swell. And I've never heard of using a dormant bud stick, saved (refrigerated) and budded after sap flow?

And: "You can also bark-graft cherries this summer, even T-bud during the fall." --- We T-bud in late summer, when the buds are mature, the sap's flowing, and there's time enough to bond before dormancy. By "bark-grafting cherries" - what are you using to graft? Dormant scions, 'fresh' scions, or buds? I'm not doubting anything you've accomplished; I'm actually quite amazed, but I'd hate to give the impression to those of us living where this can't be done to "go ahead and try them." Unless you're willing to field the multitude of questions as to why they didn't work :wink:

I'm also curious what you end up with as an eventual tree with all those limbs? Typically on a vase pruned tree I'll leave 4 scaffold limbs; you've 4 times that many! I realize they'll fruit on first year growth, but what about 5 years on? It almost looks as if a rotational culling would / could / should take place; plant a seedling (cheap), pepper its trunk with bud grafts, allow a couple years of production, then remove and repeat?

I felt like one of Pavlov's dogs - salivating over those photos... I tried to judge by ripeness just how far you are ahead of me, or how far south? I just thinned my Japanese plums; they're not near color, but trying! Man - if you're in CA I can certainly understand why it's so crowded! Have you plenty of water? Though the drip irrigation you described is likely the answer. Everything looks so 'clean!' Do you spray? Do you belong to a fruit-growing organization or just doing your own thing? ...I know - lot's of questions! But what do you expect after an Amazing display like that?

I'll appreciate any answers; you can even take your time. And thanks so much for answering the citrus question ... I've stopped dreaming of them ~


Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:54 am
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 417
Location: SW Washington
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Joe, my main hurdle in doing the multiple interstem grafting you describe is still related to keeping track of what is what.

I too use the cut up aluminum soda cans for semi-permanent labels, but how do you keep all 5 interstems labeled, or do you? Do you allow anything to grow from the interstems, or do you keep them free of shoots and buds?

I haven't found the time and method to map my trees on paper or computer. I'm just proud of the fact that I have most of them labeled on the tree and keep a list of what all is on each tree. Perhaps I'll get there eventually.

I like the sound of your all stone fruits on Krymsk and interstem idea, but unfortunately many of the stonefruit don't do so great in these parts.


Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:19 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:25 pm
Posts: 26
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Jafarj, I don't keep track much about the interstems, only the last grafted one unto the limb.

Anyway, there is still another method to keep track which is tidier than the soda cans, but then again would require mapping. It goes like the zebra stripes. You can use latex paints of different colors, then use a combination of 3 colors. If you use just 10 colors in combo of 3 stripes, you could have close to a thousand potential labeling. But i'd rather have the names directly on the tags.

This year I didn't spray anything on my stone fruits at all, and there was no diseases, but then again it was one of the driest winters we had in a long time.

I can emphatize for other members about various local problems with stone fruits, but there should be proven ones in your areas....


Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:18 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 417
Location: SW Washington
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apricots and peaches and apricot/plum hybrids are the ones I'm skeptical about.

I have a europlum that I'm grafting a number of varieties to and the Compact Stella cherry I mentioned.

I've never tasted a gage plum before. I'm really looking forward to trying the 2 Reine Claude de Bavay that set on mine.

I'd love to find a source for europlums in Portland that are something other than red/purple prune plums.


Fri Jun 29, 2007 6:47 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:25 pm
Posts: 26
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Most of my gages and European plums came from friends in Oregon.

Please try the Red Bavay Gage, it is a sport mutation of Bavay Green Gage. Also the Mirabelles are truly outstanding and should do well in your area. These are small fruits but small pits.


Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:08 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
Posts: 417
Location: SW Washington
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Joe, thanks for the tips. I"ll keep my eye open for scion wood. Neither of those were available from the Home Orchard Society Scion exchange, nor UC Davis if I recall correctly.

I think there was one damson and no mirabelles.


Fri Jun 29, 2007 10:21 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Joe -- I'm impressed beyond words... and that's rare. I'm also digesting your gracious and generous answers - thank you. …while pondering your offer of a tour...

Your associations explain a lot, yet your enthusiasm is obviously the key. ...I'm still sitting here shaking my head sideways in amazement - I am overwhelmed.

You, and people like you are why I remain active in HOS; if for no other reason – you/they're living examples of someone who's got it worse than I do!

Welcome to our Forum! You’ve got me grinning from ear to ear :D I only hope we've a reason for you to sick around~

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Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:23 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:54 am
Posts: 88
Location: Essex, England Zone 8
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Viron wrote:
Welcome to our Forum! You’ve got me grinning from ear to ear :D I only hope we've a reason for you to sick around~


Ditto, truly inspirational. Has your orchard ever been featured in any magazines?


Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:40 am
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Thanks Viron an Tahir!

I will surely stick around as I would like to exchange scionwood with most of you one of these days, also share tips and tricks, for us gardeners with limited space and budget.

Several magazines have wanted to feature my yard, but then I have many projects going on, like laying the flagstones over concrete foundation which I do myself on spare time and so you know how it goes, the project gets drag on for years. Hopefully it will be done this year. Next year, I may be able to beat some guinness world record in this passion, and it will be a year after that before my wife approves of being featured.

But interviews with Robert Luhn have turned out in Podcasts, and also my grafting techniques and my trees were mentioned in the MAKE magazines.

I often give talks about growing and fruiting bananas, also how successfuly growing and producing quality citruses in cold climates.

Here's a power point presentation from one of my talks about citruses that my friend has given (could not attend that presentation, so my friend presented it for me):

http://www.chestnuts.us/JoeCitrusDay.ppt

and if you don't have power point, perhaps a PDF file from here (make sure to scroll down past advertisement in this site to get to download the PDF file):

http://www.sendspace.com/file/8kj9hb


And if anyone wants to ask about citruses, I welcome them visit the citrus forum, of which I am a site administrator (not owner):

http://citrus.forumup.org/


And I would also forward them here in case they have a question about temperate crops.


Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:32 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1149
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Joe... you helped me spend 3.5 hours on my riding mower yesterday - Thanks! But I'm afraid you could get me into all kinds of trouble with your information on what I'd describe as 'soft tissue grafting,' or perhaps 'growing season grafting.' I'd noticed your use of Parafilm, and quickly realized wrapping the scion (too), except for the buds was the key; the scion doesn't dry out. I also looked over your extensive photo show - Fantastic :P

As I'm slowing digesting your info, I've had that feeling you get after acquiring a 'new tool' - where all of a sudden you've a spectrum of new capabilities and projects bouncing around in your head. It was great to have all this to think over as I mowed around, under and past my fruit trees and vines. But I've had a difficult time envisioning anything that would give (me) a long-term benefit from the ability to basically graft year round? Though I was sizing up 'new shoots' of this season that could 'now' be cleft grafted to larger stocks (or bark grafted), so long as they weren't crushed by the force of a large clefted stock, and have time to 'harden off' before winter.

I've friends that just planted a new pear tree, I told them I'd graft a pollinator to it - a Flemish Beauty (whatever that is?). Instead of using them as my first budding experiment, I could put something on right now!? I'd hate to experiment (to that degree) with friends... And I do fear the coming heat of summer on such tender tiny shoots... And, I'd have to locate some Parafilm? But most likely I'm going to give this more thought…

You're like a one-man Experiment Station! Have you spent time in any UC Davis Ag classes? Or Enology? Up here, in (Oregon's) "Wine County," those Davis graduates get all the 'inside' winery work ... while us locals are left to run forklifts, or pour. And, all that wine? You must get fruit from beyond your yard..? We've a couple guys into Cider making up here, you do any of that? If I had the ambition - I've got the press... Their every batch is so different; do you find any consistency in your wines? And I was amazed to find you're so far north, but also noted the hard freeze you apparently dealt with.

You're doing some amazing stuff, and like I said, I'm perusing my yard/orchard wondering how I might apply it..? I'm also pondering a 'virtual tour' of my place; I'll have to get together with the brains of this Forum for some photo-posting advice. I've a few in Photo Bucket, I see you've used ImageShack ... but I'm afraid you've got me on the technical side too! …But it reminds me of playing tennis - the only way you get better is playing with someone who's better than you! Tennis anyone?

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Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:22 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
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Location: SW Washington
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Viron,

You can order parafilm from Midwest Vinyard Supply: http://www.midwestvineyardsupply.com/ProductList.asp?categoryid=25&subcatid=84&cat=Grafting+Tape&Type=True

or from Orchard Valley Supply: http://www.orchardvalleysupply.com/ovsstore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=0&idproduct=278

In either case its about $2 a roll for the 1/2" by 90' rolls that I prefer. The 1" rolls are about twice the price per length and are more cumbersome to wrap on small diameter scions.

Orchard Valley offers better pricing on a dozen rolls but Midwest has a better selection of grafting rubbers. I'm guessing you should be able to get 50-100 grafts per roll so its a couple of cents per graft. I foot of tape goes a long way because its very stretchy.


Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:12 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
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Location: SW Washington
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Joe,

I know this thread is bouncing around, but I'd like to come back to something you said about grafting your grapes.

You said you successfully bark grafted this season. Wow! How did the grape bark grafting differ from your citrus tutorial, or was it essentially the same? Did you graft dormant grape scions to mature grape bark? Did you have to do anything to control sap bleeding?

I was planning to try dormant scion to green stock this summer, although I've had to reassess many of my plans due to an injury.


Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:18 pm
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