best timing and methods for grafting mulberry?

cousinfloydFebruary 25, 2013

I purchased a mulberry scion along with the Shenandoah scion I mentioned in another thread, and it just arrived. I'd like to take optimal care of the graft. What's the best timing for grafting mulberry? Or should I pay more attention to temperatures/weather than stage of rootstock growth? I had a little success with whip and tongue grafts on mulberries before. Is that my best bet? Thanks for any advice.
-Eric

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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

I'm interested in the answers...

I have a big (read HUGE) non-fruiting mulberry and I have some scion to graft onto the lower branches. I was going to do it today, actually. We are almost at last frost date here, and most trees are starting to bud out. But I have no idea if this is really the ideal time.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 1:59PM
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cousinfloyd

I'm trying again here. Maybe if you don't know what's best you can tell me what not to try? I'd be glad for any pointers, anecdotes, ideas, etc. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:01AM
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strudeldog_gw

Cousin,

I think Mulberry is best grafted a little later than pears, apples etc.. they are normally a little later to break bud. You need you scion dormant of course, but I try just around when the buds break or shortly after. I have limited experience with mulberry but had high percentage take when I did graft some last spring. Note: graft them higher then I did as the deer broke of my grafts later in year. I did them low as I planned to airlayer them off later.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 9:17AM
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copingwithclay

Grafting the m/b after the new leaves are 1/2 full size and growing furiously will sure load up the scion with the white sap. The leaves will be photosynthesizing away. I prefer to graft on verticle, fast growing shoots with cleft grafts in which the mismatched thicknesses of dormant scion and actively growing r/s branch are overcome with only one side being aligned. I pre-wrap the scion with Parafilm, wrap the wound/junction with film, and use a stretched rubber band to snug up the pcs. If you want the grafted branch to get even a bigger pc of the sap pie, prune away some of the unimportant twigs/ branches on the grafted branch.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:18PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

Thanks for the responses, very helpful.

My non-fruiter is just beginning to bud out, but I went ahead and did the grafts today because...I had the time...and, it is getting hot and dry here.

I added:
Early White Mulberry
Pakistani White
Lavender Mulberry

Next year I must get some morus nigra scion.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 2:25PM
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lucky_p

I pretty much treat 'em like almost everything else, and graft dormant scions, after growth commences on the rootstock - whenever I can get around to 'em.
Simple bark graft works just fine - though I think I may have done some cleft grafts with 'em, early in my career. I almost never do a cleft anymore, unless it's something like hawthorn that has REALLY thin bark that doesn't 'slip' well.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 6:25PM
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cousinfloyd

Thanks, everyone, for the advice. Coping, your comment about loading up a scion with white sap has my wondering if that can go too far. Maybe I'm just totally confused, but I feel like I've heard the term "flooding a graft" before. Is there such a thing? If so, what does it mean, and is it something to worry about with mulberries?

Strudeldog, I'm guessing from things you've said before that you also used cleft grafts, is that right?

Lucky, I'm curious why you've moved away from doing cleft grafts. I've mostly done whip and tongue grafts, and more recently bark grafts, but the few random attempts I've made at cleft grafts have all been failures (so if whip and tongue or bark grafts are equally good options, I'd prefer then until I can get more practice with cleft grafts with more expendable scions.)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 7:15AM
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strudeldog_gw

I use a bark graft, not to say it is the best, and can actually be a weaker union than other grafts, but I find it the easiest graft to make good cambium contact with. I am rather clumsy with poor small motor skills and it seems the most forgiving. Taking the small strip off the back side of the scion on each edge really helps

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:00AM
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strudeldog_gw

I use a bark graft, not to say it is the best, and can actually be a weaker union than other grafts, but I find it the easiest graft to make good cambium contact with. I am rather clumsy with poor small motor skills and it seems the most forgiving. Taking the small strip off the back side of the scion on each edge really helps

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:39AM
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lucky_p

E,
To me, a cleft graft is just butt-ugly, makes an ugly graft union for a long time, and as strudel indicated, a bark graft is quick and easy to do, and you get really good cambium contact - especially if you shave a little bit of bark off the sides to expose more cambium tissue - but they are 'weak', and may need some support to prevent wind-throw or bird-perching damage.
I know the cleft graft is a time-honored tradition for reworking older/larger trees to another variety, but I've had minmal reason to ever do 'em.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:30AM
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copingwithclay

Cousin Floyd: I just pruned away some unwanted twigs/branches on an IL Everbearing tree (bearer of only very small berries) before going back outside to topwork it with 3 other varieties. Because the tree is actively growing now and forming leaves and berries, the sap is oozing out of the cut branches....good for the scions that will be thirsty for that sap starting this afternoon. .....Flooding a graft with EXCESS sap, such as when doing cleft grafts on muscadine vines, is a problem. The pressured clear sap ends up dripping/squirting through the taped graft for many days and interferes with healing. On those, I have done strategic notching on the upstream r/s vine to divert some of the flow until the graft area stops dripping from the oversupply. When the notches are "deep enough but not too deep", dripping occurs at the notches rather than through the graft tape further downstream.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 1:49PM
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lucky_p

Can't say that I've noticed 'flooding' of mulberry grafts - but I often don't look at them again for quite some time, so it certainly may account for some that don't 'take'.
Flooding is, as cwc noted, a big problem for some species - walnuts/pecans are my worst offenders.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 2:20PM
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