bark graft aftercare

cousinfloydMay 3, 2012

I did my first bark grafts this spring, pear and persimmons. Some of the pear grafts are old enough already that I expect the rubber bands that I originally used to hold everything together to start degrading and falling off soon. Do I need to re-wrap them first, maybe with something else? I've only done whip and tongue grafts before which seem to hold together really well on their own: even failed dead grafts often stay in place for a year or more. With the bark graft, though, there's no wood holding things together, so I'm concerned about them falling apart when the rubber bands come off. What should I do now for the grafts that have started to grow?

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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

cz,

I used electrical tape and wrapped around the union a couple times for support. Winds and birds can take break the union in a blink.

Tony

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:43PM
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ltilton

One guide I read said to drive a brad through the bark and graft to hold it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I don't use rubber band, not good enough,..always use electrical tape for one season.

Here is a link that might be useful: Konrad's modified bark grafting

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 5:09PM
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canadianplant

Watch for birds. My first attemp at grafting failed, because the birds ripped it off the rootstock.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:48AM
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lucky_p

e,
I've taken to wrapping, first with parafilm, then with a layer of masking tape, then the rubber band - and sometimes I cover the rubber band with another layer of masking tape(especially on things like pecan/hickory, that take a long time to callus in).
Bark grafts are inherently fairly weakly attached during the first year, and they're subject to being broken out by birds lighting on them, or wind blowing them out. Essential to drive a sturdy stake next to it - or if the rootstock is sturdy enough, taping one to it, extending well above the graft so that perching birds have something other than your vigorously-growing graft to light upon - and, in cases of really vigorous growth, it's not a bad idea to loosely tie the new growth to stake for support and protection against wind-throw.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:19AM
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ltilton

What reason is there to do a bark graft instead of a cleft graft?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 2:37PM
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lucky_p

Much greater area of cambium contact.
Cleft graft does not provide nearly enough cambium contact for many species.
Cleft may be fine for easy-to-graft species like apple/pear - if you can get scion and rootstock together in the same room, they'll 'take' - and might work OK for persimmon, but I do lots of pecan/hickory/walnut/oak - unlikely that any of those species would work with a cleft graft, with any degree of success.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:55PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Lucky talked me into switching to bark from cleft and I have indeed noticed better results on harder to graft things. But I did lose three grafts last year, two in a fierce windstorm and one a deer knocked off. All three were on 3" or bigger diameter stocks and had a huge amount of vigor - I think they got too top-heavy for how much the graft joint had strengthened. This year I am going to stake any such highly vigorous grafts as Lucky recommends above. Would a tack or electrical tape have helped? I'm not sure, the forces on the joints were pretty strong.

Scott

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:26AM
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cousinfloyd

What about summer pruning vigorous growth like you described, Scott? Would that be a good idea? Surely that would help lessen the strain on the joint.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 4:36PM
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cousinfloyd

What about summer pruning vigorous growth like you described, Scott? Would that be a good idea? Surely that would help lessen the strain on the joint.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:54PM
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marknmt

One negative for a cleft graft: if the two pieces are quite different in size (pencil attached to a two-inch branch, for example) the gap can take quite a long time to heal over, and there's a deep wound where the branch was split to receive the scion. It's an entry point for disease and you can end up with an ugly scar even after years. Bark grafts are tidier and just as fast, if not faster, when the stock is large.

When the stock and scion are the same size or close to it I'd still use whip and tongue on pear, apple, or plum, if the wood cooperated, but it's really a toss-up.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 7:37PM
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ltilton

marknmt - you don't believe that grafting sealer is sufficient to guard against disease?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:02PM
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cousinfloyd

How does wood "cooperate" or not cooperate for a particular grafting method?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:07PM
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marknmt

ltilton, yes, it's sufficient for as long as it lasts, but on large stock it's iffier as to how long that will be. I like a graft that I can leave alone as much as possible in the aftercare, and I don't like a lot of tape and tar and such uglifying the tree- just fussy, on my part! I've seen cleft grafts that are several years old that are still "open" or that have really gnarly callous formations covering them. It's hard to have full confidence in those.

cousinfloyd, I used the term "cooperate" because sometimes you can do a graft one way but not another, because the wood's not ready for one, but is OK for the other. For example you might not be able to bud because the bark's not slipping well but you can still chip. Whip and tongue grafts depend on a certain suppleness to the wood that isn't so important in cleft grafting. To bark graft the bark must be slipping but if it's not, well, fall back on a chip or a cleft.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:24PM
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