Grafting with scions that might be waking up already

sam_ny(5)April 22, 2014

Hi everyone,

I had plans this year to graft over a young apple tree (3 y.o.) to a variety better for the location (i.e. something that's CAR resistant). I'd be taking the scions from a nearby tree, either William's Pride or Liberty, both of which have been unaffected by CAR.

I sort of messed up the timing and didn't collect the scions in March as I had planned. Now the buds on all my trees are starting to wake up. Not yet "mouse ears," but definitely not 100% dormant. I thought I might still do the grafting (cleft, more than likely) this weekend, but we're expecting some 60+ weather before then.

My question is this: should I just cut the scion wood this weekend and walk it straight over to the tree I'm working and graft it on, or should I try to take the scion wood today and store it till then, so it doesn't wake up anymore between now and Saturday?

Any thoughts? I've seen other people do grafting with non-dormant scion wood, so I presume it's not a huge deal. Maybe I'm overthinking it. And maybe putting not-completely-dormant scion wood in storage makes it non-viable...

Thanks for any advice!


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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


When the scions leafed out the less chance it will take. You need to harvest now and find some that are not fullly open and slow them down by storing in the refrigerator.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Yup- what Tony says. Once they begin to emerge your chances drop.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 1:31PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

If your tree is big enough take a good look and there will be some completely dormant buds somewhere on it (look by the bases of small lower inside shoots). Two days ago I found a stump I had forgot to topwork over and I found some still-dormant buds off a nearby tree to use.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 2:11PM
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alan haigh

Towards the base of any given shoot the buds come out later also. I often graft taking a piece from one tree straight to another after growth starts but I don't want to see green on the scionwood. These later wood grafts are sometimes my most vigorous but I've had wood with buds just beginning to show green- but showing it, that failed.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 3:31PM
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Thanks all. I'll take a closer look and maybe put a few sticks in storage now. But I guess if I go out and find wood with dormant buds on Saturday, I could still use that in place of the stored wood.

Or I can graft on one of each and see which one wins!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Scott, I found myself wondering about dormant buds today- my wife and I were on old farm land and came across a couple of very old apple trees; I wished I'd known about them a few weeks ago! As I looked them over I wondered about all those very dormant "spare" buds. Might a person just chip those in?



    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Sure, it its a big tree it should have a dormant bud somewhere on it. Last spring a tree was dying, all the leaves were limp when I found it. There were a few dormant buds I saw and I chip budded those to a root and the variety is now growing again.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 9:58PM
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That opens a door! Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:06PM
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