affect of electric tape on grafts

alan haighApril 25, 2013

I was thinking about how temps over 70 help many species callous after grafting and wonder if anyone's given thought to the the difference created by using black tape to hold grafts together. I've seen trees grafted with a kind of white tape but I always use black vinyl electric tape. I figure that raises the temps considerably where callous is forming.

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I tried it and it was probably the easiest tape to use. I still like to hit the ends with treekote, and sometimes cover the whole tape.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:25PM
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I agree it would raise the temp on good spring days, I don't know if such a highly localized effect is adequate to stimulate the tissue. But I think it's an interesting question.

I get a lot of takes when I use black tape. But I have always thought that was because I could really wrap things up tight and close even if the cuts were a bit off. Sure likes to take bark off with it when it comes off and you definitely need to come back and cut the tape on a vigorously growing graft.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 7:50PM
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I assume you are putting the tape on with the sticky to the bark? Ive thought about using electrical tape as well but havent to this point. I would think you could wrap it sticky side out just as easy right, as long as you overlap the cut ends to back on its self?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:10PM
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Noogy(6 sw mi)

I've used the white and am going to use the black tomorrow for the above mentioned heat effect. I've used the white material and found the removal to be easier on the bark when peeled off not at a 90 degrees from bark but rather 180 deg from peel side on a warmer day when the adhesive is more pliable. The black may be best in this regard also. If callussing is localized it should help if the sap is flowing? I'll try it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 8:30PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

HM,..perhaps you could test this.
It might not be a advantage in warm or hot climate, perhaps a disadvantage, I'm thinking of getting it too hot and almost cooking the graft in the sun,...then white would make more sense,., don't they say, cooler is better for callus forming? Perhaps there is a reason some grafters use white tape, for me in the north I have good experience using black electrical tape.
Blueboy is right about using tape upside down, I'm thinking for one layer, second layer sticky side down,..if you think you have a problem pealing off the bark.

I do one or two layer, have no problem taking tape off, I do this the following spring, ...pulling sideways back and force when undoing tape prevents from pealing off.

The mistake I find is, most often we pull tape too tight, it doesn't really need it, then it can stretch more easily in the growing season, sometimes tape falls off by itself later in the season.

When watching some of the grafting videos, using white or green flimsy tape and so awkward putting it on, that electrical sticky tape sure looks mighty good again.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 10:53PM
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I have been using the black electrical splicing tape which has no sticky side but is self-adherent. It's also quite stretchy, like a rubber band, and it also self-degrades in the sun. I love the stuff as I was never any good at tying knots in grafting rubbers while trying to hold everything tight.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:16PM
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alan haigh

I'm not sure if real tight is better or not, but I never let electric tape girdle grafts anymore (it's funny how sometimes it does sometimes it doesn't). Here, as long as you cut the tape carefully before second seasons growth you will be in time. And the vinyl sure can be pulled tight when you have trouble matching cambiums.

A box cutter works great but I have a pocket knife with a tanto blade (for cutting out black knot from plums) that works just as well for cutting tape if you control the blade with your thumb and one hand.

Yes, I thought about the possiblilty of black tape also frying the callous during hot spells. There are so many untested variables. Temp issues of tape may even be why I have better success with early grafts of apples and pears up here.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 5:32AM
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My neighbor (old school italian) uses black electrical tape " the expensive flexible stuff, not the cheap s--" as he put it. Im assuming heat (spring warmth) would cause the tree to start to calus?

Just a question since were on the topic of graft wrap; Have you ever used parafilm harvestman?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:41AM
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andrew_swmo(6 SW MO)

I wonder when parafilm should be removed? I am using it this year and some of the grafts have taken. I bought something on eBay called grafting tape to tie the grafts then wrapped the scions with parafilm to preserve the moisture.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:39AM
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It very well could help in cooler weather. I have an apple tree that buts up against the brick house. The branches near the brick bud out and bloom first. Right now their leaves are three times the size of the other leaves. The brick radiates heat too after the sun starts to go down.
Has anyone ever tried to take the tape off as soon as the leaves are out on the scions?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:01AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I second Steve's suggestion of the splicing tape. I used to use black vinyl electrical tape, but the rubber splice tape Steve mentioned works a lot better.

It was hard to keep from tearing the bark when removing the vinyl tape. The rubber tape doesn't tear the bark but sticks to itself pretty good. It also expands more as the graft grows, if you don't get a chance to remove it right away.

I use a razor knife to cut the rubber tape in thin strips (3/8" wide) peel off the backing, stretch it almost to the breaking point, then wrap the graft. After that I wrap a couple layers of parafilm.

Rubber tape is a bit more expensive (I think it's about 3 bucks/roll) but a roll will do a lot of grafts.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 10:22AM
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alan haigh

Olpea, you don't unwrap the vinyl- you simply slice it through with a razor knife and leave it be. I've used the rubber electric tape and it's fine- you just can't pull it as tight and it costs 5X the price of vinyl. But it's not really the price- it's being able to pull real tight when the angles aren't quite right on my splices.

Yes, I use parafilm above the electric tape. You don't remove it and the buds pop right through. It desintegrates harmlessly over time.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 4:35PM
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I originally used black electrical tape for grafting. It does work. For a couple of reasons...I have moved to parafilm M. I really like the stuff. The stretchability is just right for me grafting avocado scions.You definately need to get the "feel" of it. I like the fact the new buds can pierce right through it. I bought 2" material...which I find too wide for most of my graft. I simply cut it lengthwise to make 1" wide.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:14PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Back to the original topic I agree black color helps if its on the cold side, and it hurts if its too hot. I put out alu foil if its on the hot side to cool the union. I don't use electrical tape but I use black tar paint on grape grafts because they like it really hot, more like 80's. It should also work to make peach apple etc grafts hotter, just watch you don't get a hot day and fry them (put alu foil on first if a hot one is coming). I have all my alu foil off now since we are in a long cooler stretch.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 8:41PM
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alan haigh

I've never protected my black grafts from heat, but that doesn't mean I haven't lost any because of it- hard to know exactly what kills a fully calloused graft. I've certainly never lost a vigorously growing graft by cooking it and we do get temps near 100 sometimes in June. Grafts that start to grow but don't make it have been sluggish from the get-go

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:21PM
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If it's not too late to revive this thread, I have questions:

1) Why is the black splicing tape better than grafting rubbers, assuming that both are wrapped with Parafilm?

2) I assume you'd avoid covering buds with the splicing tape, right?



    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 5:07PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I've been busy and haven't checked this forum for a few days.

I like the rubber tape because it sticks to itself. The grafting rubbers are harder to get started and want to unwind more during the grafting process for me.

The rubber tape stretches nice and just seems so easy to work with. It's almost like it was made for grafting. I do cut the rubber tape in half longways, so the strips are about as wide as grafting rubbers.

As I mentioned I also like that rubber tape doesn't stick to the bark. I like to remove the tape to see if the buds callused over. After I examine them I use a very small paint brush and a bit of paint to paint over the callus portion (but not the bud) of the graft. This helps me easily identify (at a glance) where the budded portion is the following spring, as well as protecting the callus portion from drying out.

That said, it's all personal preference. Some people like grafting rubbers, some vinyl electrical tape, some even use masking tape. Same with anti-dessicants. Some like grafting compound, some Doc Farwells, some melted paraffin wax, some use a paper bag, plastic from a bread sack, etc.

My personal choices are rubber splice tape and parafilm. The parafilm is nice because it seems to breathe the right amount. I've used plastic from a bread sack before, but it holds too much water and the buds get soggy.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 7:53PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

When I was at Ace Hardware,I picked up this product.It looks like it has similar properties as the Ace tape,but the cost is about $3 less. Brady

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:33AM
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Well, I grafted today using the splicing tape and I like it, probably better than rubbers for the bark and cleft grafts I did today. I felt a little uncertain as to how well it pulled in difficult wood (probably not as well as rubbers) but I loved the ability to tailor the length and the way it grabbed right away; it's also easier to finish wrapping it because you don't have to deal with tucking the end of the rubber under itself. I followed the rubber tape with parafilm, and then went over the whole works with Johnny (toilet seating) wax, which somebody suggested on this forum. It goes on like a dream.

Usually I'd trust the parafilm by itself, but mine is getting old and doesn't seal as well as when new, and I have trouble wrapping clear to the end of a scion with it: I broke my first graft as I finished up wrapping because I was pulling too hard.

Most of what I grafted today was a little difficult, at the top of the tree and the rootstock somewhat larger and coarser than I like. I was a little skeptical about bark grafts on that wood but I did two of those with fingers crossed, and the rest clefts, except for one bud in too-thick bark.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 5:16PM
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