Grafting on Rootstocks

andrew_swmo(6 SW MO)March 6, 2013

I have a couple of Mariana 2624 and G.11 rootstocks on order. I plan on grafting plum and apple scions on these stocks. This will be my first year grafting to rootstocks. The information I got says to graft while both rootstocks and scions are dormant. I expect to get the rootstocks in a week or two. Should I graft right after I get the rootstocks? I have the scions stored in the refrigerator.

After grafting, is it better to plant in containers until the grafts take or should I plant directly in the field? Should the grafts be shaded, partially shaded, or exposed to full sun? Thank you.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'm sure you can find more about bench grafting but below is a start. Bench because it's done inside with rootstock in hand and then callused before planting.

Here is a link that might be useful: bench grafting

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 3:58PM
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When I get my rootstocks I generally pot them up the same day (3.7 gal nursery container---the trade " 5 gal") and then graft within a few days or the same day.

I've never thought it was a good idea to put the new grafts in the sun. Assuming you wrap the scions in parafilm, you could be cooking them! I place the potted "trees" in a shady place where it is reasonably warm (i.e., not cold, dark shade) and keep an eye on them for signs of activity. Sometimes the rootstock is wanting to send out growth before the scions get going. This needs to be rubbed off. As the scions begin to push and you see some real leaf growth you can gradually transition the trees to full sun.

I think I'd wait as many as 6 months (depends on your climate) before planting in the ground. Even then the graft is still fragile and you may want to protect the little trees from critter damage (even two-legged critters have been known to accidentally destroy a little wanna-be tree...).

Of course, you can graft to the bare rootstocks and then plant in the ground immediately. In that case some protection, both from critters and the sun, is in order. It can be argued that your tree will grow faster and stronger this way. I'm too nervous to try it.

Hold on to leftover scion wood in the refrigerator in case of failure. Grafting a little high on the rootstock is good insurance against this possibility, for then you can cut off the first try and re-graft. If the graft fails to survive once planted in the ground and you have no more viable scion wood, keep nurturing the rootstock and let side growth do its thing. You'll have a ready platform for another try next season.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 6:06PM
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