Grafting compound same as wound sealer?

denninmi(8a)February 25, 2009

Hello -- can I just use the regular, asphalt-based (I believe) tree wound sealer sold at garden centers as a moisture-retentive coating on grafts?

I am going to try my hand at grafting again -- had to make some years ago in a horticulture class at Michigan State, but they never took. I'm going to start by practicing on apples and pears, on apple and quince rootstock.

In looking online, it seems like the sealers sold for grafting are pretty much the same as tree wound sealer sold at garden centers. It would be cheaper just to pick up locally than mail order. Am I correct on this?

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Tree sealer is black and black heats up. Depending on what type of graft you are doing and what time of year, the black could make things too hot. I only use black sealer on my grape grafts which love to be hot. If you put alu foil over the top you could probably get away with the black sealer.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:02PM
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A friend of mine does it all the time on apple here in Montana, but I don't anymore. I do wrap with parafilm, which is a pretty decent sealer in its own right.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 1:38PM
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Dennis- there's a big difference... in price. Asphalt is asphalt. This is called marketing. Wet Patch for roofs is the same stuff at a fraction of the cost. I use acrylic latex caulk in the tube for grafting with no problems. There's asphalt caulk in tubes if you just gotta have that black look.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:06PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Good idea fruithack. I think all the "doc farwells" grafting compound is is a tube of latex caulk dyed yellow and diluted with water to make a very thick paint. It has the identical smell.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 4:57PM
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Thanks, that helps.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 5:25PM
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Here in the UK we are in the dark Ages!
I want to graft new varieties onto my Apple trees and - so far!- all have not taken. Can I use candle wax to seal after grafting? I have tried Cling film and it did not work - not helped by the birds pulling it off!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 2:39PM
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Been using Parafilm since I grafted my first tree, nearly 20 years ago.
Bought one on someone's recommendation years ago, but never used it - a wax toilet ring, like you'd use when seating a new toilet - cost a buck or two, and has probably enough soft, malleable(though kind of sticky) was to do a LOT of grafts.

Have a friend who recalled following her grandfather grafting apples - he wrapped the graft with cotton string, then carried a coffee can containing fresh cow manure(spring grass results in a slurry-like consistency), and slathered on a liberal coating of fresh manure - dries a nice surface crust, but remains moist underneath - and bacteria and pH may also impede fungal growth.

This post was edited by lucky_p on Wed, May 7, 14 at 14:55

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 2:51PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Do you know if he used gloves :-)

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 5:02PM
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IIRC, she said he had a little paddle, kind of like a paint-stirrer that he used to slather the 'sealant' on with.

Maybe we 'overdo' it some, with apples/pears, with regard to sealing, etc.
Have a friend, who, for years operated one of the best fruit tree nurseries east of the Mississippi, who claimed that all they ever used to wrap grafts with (on pomefruits, anyway) was just plain old masking tape. As rapidly as apples/pears callus in, that might be all you need...but...He must have had a better grade of masking tape than I've ever had my hands on.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 5:13PM
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The wound sealer that is an asphalt-and-WATER emulsion works fine. I have also found cheap roofing sealer of this constituency but it needed a little evaporative thickening to get to a good consistency.

Most wound sealers now seem to be an asphalt-and-SOLVENT pasty solution and sometimes instead is so runny (especially in spray cans) as to be able to penetrate to in between stock and scion if the cuts aren't perfectly flat (mine rarely are) or tightly bound shut. Neither attribute--solvent or thin-runny--can be all that good in grafting.

Paraffin wax gets too brittle. Melt some tougher beeswax into it and it gets a lot better. Traditionally, some hard beef tallow would be added for moldability in grafting wax. (I have no idea where to get that now though.) A little clay mixed in helps too.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 8:13PM
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