Questions about apple scion and old stock behavior

megamav(5a - NY)June 5, 2013

So I regrafted my calville blanc branch that had green tips on it but hadnt moved in about a month.

The little leaves sticking out of it were starting to wilt, the other side of the cleft, the scion was brown and dead in the middle.
This one that stopped moving, after I sawed it off, I snapped it, and was still green and moist but the stock was not green, but it was wet in the middle. The cambium layer and rind on the stock was a brownish color. I was expecting a greenish look to it.

So my question is, as these trees get older and the scaffolds get old, do they stop pushing a lot of sap and just try to keep things alive rather than expand?

This tree, in my estimate is probably 20 years old.
Scaffold branch is about 3" in diameter, bark flakes easy.
Rind is a good 1/8-1/4" thick.

Im kinda kicking myself for sawing it off, but at the same time im wondering if it really doesnt matter all that much, that this scaffold branch is just doomed to renewal.

The tree is putting out new shoots, so the overall health of the tree is good, im just wondering if this tree just flat out gave up on this scaffold branch, since, next to it, not attached to this scaffold, about 2" away a new green shoot is coming out of the trunk.
Any thoughts?

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Older wood does seem to be harder to get grafts to take on, and of course older wood is generally lower down on the tree where there is more hormonal interference from above. In topworking a tree pencil-size wood is often grafted to 5"-6" stock, but in those cases the interfering upper canopy has been removed. I think there's plenty of moisture in the larger stock, but I do find it unsettling to try to graft through a thick rind.

Grafting to newer shoots, the size of the scion and up, works pretty well most of the time. If you have reasonably placed watersprouts you can bend them to the near-horizontal and graft to them, eventually removing the branch they grow from. Harvestman describes this well.

From the sounds of it your scion was dying, if not dead, and I doubt anything would have been gained by leaving it on. But that shoot you mentioned might be a candidate for your next attempt.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Sometimes trees give up on certain branches, but apples usually don't give up too easily on healthy branches you just headed in that spring or previous winter. I expect your stock was thick enough that it was not green - thick stock is tan when alive.

I had a graft I was about to give up on, some bug had munched the sprout. But it is finally sprouting from other buds on the graft.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 8:36PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

Thanks for all of the feedback.

I did a couple of things, I regrafted the cleft in one last ditch effort.
If I get nothing again, I'll do a renewal cut on it in February and see if I can get another sprout next year on the chunk of wood I leave.

Otherwise, you're right mark, I'll use that new sprout, this tree put out thick growth in 1 season. They're thick enough where a matching whip and tongue isnt possible.
I made my own watersprout with a rind graft on an injury callous that is really green, huge cambium coverage. Vertical rind graft, dead straight up.

I didnt know mature stock was tan, I was expecting to at least see the rind a green color. Thats good to know. The core of the wood was a medium brown and wet. It looked like the scaffold was keeping the scion alive, almost on life support, enough to keep it green but not enough juice to grow it. Almost like a zombie scion.

It is the lowest branch on the tree, but its over my head, about 7 feet off the ground.

Im greedy at this point, my Belle de Boskoop graft is going to be a monster, Freyberg took from Geneva, Scott, your freyberg grafts are still on the tree and turning bright green, no bud push, but they're bright red, so im leaving them on. I have Calville Blanc d'Hiver on the tree with a 1 year wood graft, Reine des Reinettes tried to flower but I clipped them on Mark's advice, now its blowing up.

So all of this conjecture is just greed I guess, trying to get the most out of the wood I have, I think im ditching the rest of them soon.

Thanks for your thoughts guys, I appreciate it, Im an amateur, totally new to this, and this has been a big time learning experience. People were staring at me from the road today, wondering what I was doing in the tree. Caught one lady staring, I said, "Just doing a little grafting." felt good to say that. She just nodded. "Ah..."

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 12:50AM
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