terminal buds on scions?

cousinfloydMarch 29, 2013

I've read not to use the terminal ends of scions for grafting, but often I'll use the bud or two below the terminal bud. I'm grafting some potted pawpaws right now, and with pawpaws, in particular, there are sometimes only one or two well developed buds between the fruit buds and the terminal bud. The buds beneath the fruit buds seem underdeveloped and less inclined to want to grow. My question is if I'm using buds near the terminal end for grafting should I really cut the terminal bud off? Why is it recommended not to use terminal buds anyway? Am I really better cutting it off and leaving another cut place to heal than just leaving it?

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dmtaylor(5a (WI))

I've been playing around with grafting for several years. So far, 50% of my grafts that have taken have had the terminal bud left on. So I don't see what the fuss is about. If you want to leave it on, leave it on. It will work just fine.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Scions should come from very fast growing tree parts such as watersprouts. These contain more growth hormones and will give the graft a growth spurt. Of those water sprouts I usually use the center third. The rationale behind that is if you are favoring the leader of a tree it is best to cut somewheres near the center of the previous years growth. If everything goes right then that leader will get the most growth. Those positive results lead me to believe that the center third is the most likely to give a growth spurt. Obviously if less vigorous scions are the only parts available I will use them. I would have to say they do not perform as well but in time they can catch up. I use this rationale for plums, apples and pears. I have no experience with citrus, figs and other warm zone fruit.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 7:02PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I like terminal buds. They take longer to get going but they put on a lot more growth when they do, they usually catch up and pass the non-terminal buds. They don't get used as first choice but I don't feel bad at all about using them.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:41AM
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Scott, I'm curious what you'd do if you were grafting something that was challenging to even get to take and you wanted to give it every possible advantage for the graft simply to take and if the terminal bud were in addition to two other buds. If you didn't actually need the terminal bud would you discard it (perhaps in order to direct all the energy to the other scions) or leave it just to avoid the extra cut or keep it because it would actually increase your odds of the graft taking?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 10:18AM
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In my experience grafting pawpaws, I usually avoid using the terminal bud because it can develop before the graft has a chance to callus. If the bud gets too far ahead of the graft it will die. With buds below the terminal bud, they seem to develop along with the callus. So yes, I remove the terminal bud.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:49PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Marc, I have found the opposite happens on pome and stone fruits - the terminal bud is quite a bit slower to start.

Floyd, I don't use the terminal bud unless I've used up the rest of the scion, but that it just my habit.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 8:56AM
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