snapped at graft union - insane lifesaving behaviour

Campanula UK Z8June 19, 2012

um, not even a lurker, I am afraid, but desperation, yah know! Anyway, I have a little peach tree (Garden Lady or some such) which was mangled by vicious winds (and my incomplete understanding of wind patterns in minuscule walled gardens). Sunday morning, it was still hanging on despite being horizontal, with a sliver of cambium still attached. Anyway, in an insane attempt at rescue, I jammed a broom handle down the middle and whipped out swathes of micropore and wrapped round the graft (horribly mangled looking, not like a nice neat cut). I expected it to be on its ass by Monday evening and today, Tuesday, has been a hot one, but blow me, it is still hanging in. I have not even cut back any of the top growth as it seemed such a mental long shot.

Please understand, I have fought a long and losing battle with the horrible peach leaf curl at my allotmment so this little peach was a last ditch attempt at growing peaches in the dubious safety of my home garden. Wild optimism is surely one of the foundations of gardening but I sure would like to be put out of misery sooner rather than later with a more objective view.

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As long as there's still a little bark connecting the two, all is not lost; however it will eventually not be able to keep up with the transpiration of an entire canopy, so you will probably have to whack it way back. If you splint it like a broken leg the cambium will start to engulf the graft union again; you will have to brace it a couple of years, and stake the poor thing for crying out loud.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:32AM
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Campanula UK Z8

there's hope then? Oh, it was staked with a stout piece of hazel, the whole thing snapped. I have a really tiny garden, more like a courtyard, really, with 2m brick walls enclosing a 4m x 9m space - the wind acts like a tornado yet the whole area bakes when it is a still day - challenging.
As you may have guessed, I have done rescue acts before but never on something so large and substantial. Anyway, thank you for responding, I am practically drooling over the prospect of half a doxen peaches (at my allotment, I managed one good crop in 8 years and just could not get the spray timing exactly right. Wish peaches (and nectarines:) were as easy-peasy as apples and plums.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:27AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


For maximum chance of survival, it's important you give your tree some shade. That will slow transpiration significantly until the cambium has a chance to regrow.

Shade can be provided by mounting an old umbrella over the tree, or if the winds are too strong, set 4 posts around the tree and attach some cloth (towel, sheet, ect) to the top of the 4 posts.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:44AM
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megamav(5a - NY)

Try staking your tree with a 10 foot metal conduit pipe, pounded 2.5 feet into the ground. Thats what I use, we had a hurricane roll thru last year, and the pipe didnt wiggle an inch.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:55AM
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