Invigorating a graft

windfall_rob(vt4)February 14, 2013

Last spring I grafted blackgold cherry onto 2 young sour cherries. In both cases I used the tip of what I believed was to become a dominant scaffold near but not at the top of the tree

Both took, but both put on almost no growth...(an inch or two from 2 buds on each scion) and each promptly covered itself in flower buds.
I have not had a graft placed like these fail to take off (if it took) but I also have grafted very little cherry. I would like to put these back into vegetative growth

I know I can work down from each, pruning away any bud shoots from the understock branch that seemed to become invigorated by the grafting. How far down can this influence?

On one tree there is a branch/shoot a foot directly above the branch I grafted to. I believe removing this will help? It is comparable in diameter (5/8") and clearly growing more aggressively. But it's removal will not give the graft apical dominance in regards the whole tree.

How effective is notching above for invigorating a branch. I have used the technique some on buds to force branching, but generally I have had poor results with it...either I am notching too early or not deeply enough. I can get a bud to throw a shoot, but rarely will it be a vigorous one.

Should I also be stripping the fruit buds/blooms from these grafts?

Any other tricks besides these and keeping full sun exposure?

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

What you are experiencing is common when grafting onto a large tree. Unless you remove much of the rest of the tree these shoots may not take off. Even if you make the grafts the tallest part of the tree that may not force strong growth where you want. The tree usually sends up strong shoots from the area where large cuts were made. But each tree is a case unto itself so results will vary.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:35AM
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windfall_rob(vt4)

You well may be right fruitnut.

I have seen what you describe when "parking" a graft on a mature tree (apple) These are still pretty young trees, This year should be thier first significant bloom (and hopefully crop).

I am not willing to cut into them too hard to push the grafts. I don't want the tree to be switched over to sweet cherry, I just wanted to get one significant branch and see how they perform.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:34PM
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alan haigh

I've not grafted cherries but with apples you can get the very best growth possible on vigorous old trees by grafting on well exposed water sprouts.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 4:57PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

A picture would help, ...on a young tree at the tip should normally work OK...if you don't have many side branches.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:23PM
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windfall_rob(vt4)

Konrad your point of side branches is a good one. Both of these trees while quite young are much more bushy/heavily branched than any apple of comparable age. It could be that diluting influence is my problem. a lot of the smaller wood is coming out this spring so hopefully that will help.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 7:45AM
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alan haigh

If rest of tree is not putting out vigorous growth graft cannot grow vigorously. I found this out when trying to graft recently transplanted trees and also spurred up pear trees that were also suffering from early defoliating scab. With pear I put on disease resistant varieties but existing tree couldn't push grafts. I'm hoping that these grafts survive and eventually thrive, taking over trees. If this is possible I should find out this season.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:12AM
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windfall_rob(vt4)

The trees are fairly vigorous in themselves, and as noted now heavily branched even at present low total hieght.
I should probably done a bit more summer pruning but the take on the grafts seemed so tenuous I was reluctant to commit. It's clear now with the tape off the take is complete(whip and toung), just no vigor.

What is the opinion on the fruit buds themselves?
Remove them? pull blossoms? or let it be and hope some moderately aggresive pruning kicks things into gear by itself?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:43AM
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alan haigh

Maybe they just didn't adequately heal. Last year was the first time that I waited for plums to completely leaf out before grafting them and I got much better results than in previous years.

With apples and pears I get by far best growth with grafts just before or just at first growth.

I had heard that warm weather is the issue with stonefruit but I suspect it is more stage of development. Stonefruit grafts probably heal quicker when trees are at a plus level of stored energy- apples and pears store more energy in their wood (not as much vegetative summer growth). Of course warm weather would also help in energy storage, so maybe it's a combination of factors.

Just a theory.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 11:14AM
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