Grafting supplies, best place to buy?

wertach zone 7-B SCJuly 6, 2010

I planted a peach and a plum tree 2 years ago, the grafted part died on both of them. The rootstock on both of them are growing great, bearing fruit. I want to try my hand at grafting some cuttings on to them, I have other plums, cherries, and peaches that I can take cuttings from.

I have read the basics on doing the graft and I think I can do it.

I have been searching for supplies and they seem pretty expensive. $60 for a starter kit!

Where is the best (money wise) place to buy?

Also, I have a lot of hickory seedlings growing wild. Can I graft pecans on to those seedlings?

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I like these people:

I don't think you need to spend much at all. I use my pocket knife or a utility knife. I like to use Parafilm, so I buy that, but it lasts forever and isn't expensive. Some people buy a roll of poly tape (not adhesive) and some just cut up bread bags. I use the rubber bands designed for grafting (they're soft, wide, very stretchy, and dusted with talc) so I buy those, but a box of Staple's widest will work fine and set you back a buck.

I can't speak to the hickory issue except to say I've heard pecans are a tough nut to crack, grafting-wise, and that hickories are wild pecans or pecans are domestic hickories, so I'd try it. Doesn't mean it's a good idea- I've done lots of dumb things. Do study Joe Real's bark grafting tutorial if you haven't already.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 12:26PM
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I do enough grafting that I bought a decent grafting/budding knife, and have been using the same one for 15 years - and anticipate many more decades' of use out of it(see link below).
Beyond that, about all you really need are some rubber bands, some masking tape. Parafilm is nice, and I prefer it for sealing graft unions and wrapping the bud or scion to prevent dessication; Doc Farwell's graft sealant(mostly just a good quality latex paint)works OK, and I have one friend who just uses Elmer's Exterior Wood Glue as a graft sealant.

Yes, you can graft pecan onto hickory - but we usually do it the other way around, grafting hickory onto pecan. Biggest concern I have with putting pecan on hickory is that, typically, pecan is a more vigorous grower than hickory, and the pecan may outgrow/overgrow the slower/smaller-diameter hickory understock, and be inclined to break at the graft union at some point years down the road - but that may be an unfounded fear.
Pecan seems to 'grow' farther into the season than does hickory (my pecans are putting on a second flush of growth right now, but hickories have set terminal buds, and won't do much more for the rest of the season), and may actually 'push' more growth on grafted hickories, and *may* cause the grafted hickory variety to produce slightly larger nuts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Victorinox Grafting/Budding knife

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 12:27PM
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With pomefruits, grafting/budding success - even for a rank novice - should be in excess of 85% - they're very forgiving. Stonefruits - I've not done much with them, but my experience has been that they're not much tougher to get good results with.
Nut trees, as Mark indicated, are a bit different.
The majority of pecan/hickory/walnut grafts I do are with dormant-collected scionwood. I do a modified bark graft - similar to the one Joe demonstrates in his tutorial, but instead of fully decapitating the rootstock, I cut only about 3/4 of the way through the stock, breaking the top over, and leaving it still attached, to act as a 'sap-drawer' or 'pressure relief valve' to minimize excessive bleeding and flooding of the graft.
With larger-diameter scions, I will do a 3- or 4-flap 'banana' graft - plenty of websites detailing how to do it, if you look for them.
Success rates(for my nut grafts) are still less than 50%, and I've had even poorer successes trying to do greenwood budding at this time of year, but you really need to have your nut rootstocks well-watered(or plenty of natural soil moisture), and I just can't accomplish that easily.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 12:35PM
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I have a Question on Parafilm, I have heard so many say they like it I purchased some in the 1 inch by 30 yard rolls. I grafted Asian pears and kaki persimmons with it successfully this year, but I have heard how it stretches and that it easily seals upon it self with pressure. I could get hardly any stretch prior to its break point, and never could get a good seal on itself by applying pressure, and I really thought I had pretty good hand strength. I had decided that maybe the temperature was a little cold for the product on both the stretch and seal and after I could not seem to make progress hand warming, I made the regrettable mistake of taking a section from the roll and heating it briefly in the microwave, and a few seconds with no improvement I increased the time a bit and out this point frustrated I impatiently reached in and grabbed it just as the heat cycle ended and seemed go from a solid to a semi-liquid melted state. Yeah Youch what an idiot, why didnÂt I just reach into a boiling pot of wax. Back to subject however, leaving that painful memory are there different types of Parafilm, as it just seems what "Joe Real" is working with in watching his tutorial multiple times and what I have read others comment, I must be missing some basic point. Does the stuff get old, I would think not, but I really donÂt seem to be the same stuff. And the grafts I did the material has not seemed to decompose or breakdown at all. The rubberbands supporting for strength fell away long ago.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 2:27PM
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IMHO parafilm is not strong enough for budding/grafting. I use it to wrap the scion and stump so they don't dry out. You will have much better luck with vinyl grafting tape which is very cheap. The link has the best price I've seen for a single roll of vinyl tape I've found. You can get a grafting knife for $12.20 delivered from the same site. I personally like thin bladed fixed blade budding knives but a folding one should be OK.

If you want to see some practical advice on budding/grafting goodle MrTexas Citrus.

Here is a link that might be useful: vinyl grafting tape

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:15PM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

strudeldog, parafilm stretches like clear plastic in baggies. Parafilm looks and feels like a thicker gage clear plastic. I use 1 inch x 90 ft rolls from Orchard valley Supply. 6 1" rolls $19.40. They also sell Nufilm-17 sticker.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:20PM
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Well, I hope somebody sorts this out for us. To me Parafilm is much waxier, stickier than polyethelene tape. It's true that it doesn't always stick as you wrap it, but give it a little time in the sun and it will.

I also like that as a rule I don't have to go back and remove parafilm; it degrades eventually, although not as quickly as the rubber bands do, and even if it doesn't degrade quickly it can't girdle- just not strong enough.

Curiously, I think I am guilty of girdling a couple of grafts with the rubbers: I'm just too dern thorough at snugging everything together. So I put on a carefully overlapped, very snug rubber and then protect it with a thickish layer of parafilm ... I suspect I've choked off at least two of my apple grafts.

I think I've ruined- i.e. girdled- a couple of grafts by wrapping them too tightly, and I think that grafters who are more skilled than I get their parts aligned more precisely than I do and don't have to worry about applying tension to force things into line. "Practice, practice, practice ..."


    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:33PM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

mrtexas, the vinyl grafting tape in the link you provided has its description reading exactly like parafilm and the photo looks a lot like parafilm. Have you tried parafilm and you think this one is better?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:59PM
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Parafilm is waxy and weak. You can't wrap it nearly as tight as vinyl grafting tape. Vinyl is a lot cheaper as well. You could use parafilm and wrap it with grafting rubber bands but why not use vinyl tape and skip a step? I've done thousands of buds/grafts with vinyl tape, never with parafilm.

Here is a link that might be useful: mrtexas

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 8:00PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I am a parafilm grafter. I agree that it is not optimal for strength, but it compensates by how just one kind of tape does it all by making a great seal. Over the years I have learned where the break point is and I stretch just to it. I also put quite a few wraps around to give a nice tight seal.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 8:53PM
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The Parafilm I purchased was boxed as 6 90 foot rolls as well. I just tried a stretch test with a 5 inch piece I slow streched and broke at just over 5.5 inch. Is that amount of stretch sound in line with what would be expected. Normally I would be working with a larger piece and I was just expecting more than 10% stretch before break. And I can't get it to stick to itself to seal the wrap to matter how hard I press. How to you get it to stick??? I wasn't expecting it to be strong enough to support the graft without the support of the rubber bands I wrap over the Parafilm. I probably have a lifetime supply for my use in what I purchased, so I was trying to learn to use it. To add input to the orignal poster's question. I just use a box cutting knife with a replaceable standard razor blade. Putting a good edge on a knife is a skill as well as the grafting itself. If I honed a better edge I probably would invest in one. another thing easily obtainable besides rubber bands and plastic bags is a toliet bowel wax ring, which available at home improvement store and cost less than 2 dollars. Use it just as you would grafting wax.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 9:35PM
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I work in a laboratory setting, and just buy a 2"x250' roll of Parafilm M from the lab every couple of years. I cut it into 6" pieces, then split those into 3 strips ~2/3" wide x 6" long, and keep a bag of Parafilm strips in my grafting kit. Stretch just to the breaking point, and it sticks to itself just fine; at least, it does for me. I just now stretched and measured - a 6"x2/3" strip will stretch to about 20" in length.
I use the Parafilm to seal the graft - and wrap the entire union and scion - up to the top, and back down again - to keep it from dessicating. But, then I overwrap the graft union with a rubber band - or, for apples/pears/persimmons, I often just wrap with masking tape - that seems to be enough.
On nut tree grafts, I'll wrap with Parafilm, overwrap the union with a rubber band, and usually cover the rubber band with a layer of masking tape, just to protect it from UV degradation a little longer, as the nut tree grafts usually take longer to callus in.
You may be able to see the 'remains' of the Parafilm for several years after making the graft, but eventually, it disappears.
Yes, Parafilm does 'get old' - several years ago, when we were cleaning out a storeroom, I came across several rolls of Parafilm - 1 ft wide x some length I've forgotten; these were probably 30 years old. As they were going to throw them out, I took them and tried it, but it's lost a lot of its strength and breaks really easily. I still have it, but will probably never use it.
Bought a toilet bowl wax ring one time, but never got around to trying it - the Parafilm is just so handy - and less messy.
A box-cutter knife will work OK, I guess, but you need a stiff heavy-duty blade in order to make a good straight cut - I tried to teach a group of Master Gardener candidates one time, and had told the Extension agent just to get a few boxcutters, but the flimsy economy blades that came on them would not make a straight, flat cut.
Sharpening a grafting knife is really not all that hard - they're only beveled on one edge - but I do make my living wielding a knife, so I'm at an advantage in knowing how to sharpen a knife, and have the proper stones to do it correctly.
I've made my own grafting knives - in a pinch, when I misplaced my 'main' one. Hacksaw blades are actually made of pretty good metal, and you can fashion a decent fixed-blade grafting knife out of a 6-8" piece of hacksaw blade by grinding the teeth off and making a one-bevel edge.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 10:38PM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

strudeldog, I just stretched a 1" wide 5 inch piece to 15 inches in one pull. You may have a defect, If you e-mail me your address I'll put a couple feet in the mail to try.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 10:46PM
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While I was out watering this morning, I was pondering the 'pecan on hickory' thing... might be worth you giving it a try - if your site is not ideal for pecans - they prefer a deep river-bottom type soil - but appears to be well-suited for hickories, it might be that you could topwork your hickory seedlings to pecan (or superior hickory varieties!) and get some useful nuts out of the deal. Really nothing to be lost other than some time and probably some frustration while you hone your grafting skills.
You don't say where in z7 you are, but most of the good Southern pecan varieties should work well in that climate, but some of the better pecans for z6 & colder might also be worth a try.
I'm a hickory affectionado, so I'd also recommend trying your hand at grafting some of the good shagbark & shellbark hickory varieties, as well - once you've figured out what to do.
I was able to watch some accomplished grafters perform a few demonstrations - and that helped, but it's still just a matter of doing a bunch yourself in order to perfect your technique.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 10:22AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Is there any pecan that can handle -25F? Hazelnuts grow very well around here...

I use a Victorinox grafting knife. The brand is highly recommended and i know their kitchen knives are usually top rated on America's Test Kitchen...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 10:46AM
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Thanks for the feedback and comparative test folks. I was pretty convinced I had defective product, as the fact I got a 5% stretch to break and Lucky and Aceofspades both got at least a 200% stretch to break. And thanks for the offer of sending a sample Ace but I think I am going to contact Parafilm manufacture and show them this video I just placed out on YouTube so you folks and they can see what I was working with. Not trying to smear them or badmouth the product, but I think may be effective in showing them my defective product and someone else may be having the same issue. See the video below, I skipped the microwave heat it test, even though some of you might have enjoyed watching that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Defective Parafilm

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 1:39PM
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I've never used the Parafilm Grafting Tape - have seen photos of it, and thought that it looked different - thicker than the old standby Parafilm M that I've been acquainted with and have worked with for over 30 years. The manufacturer's description is that the Grafting Tape is a different formulation (higher olefin content?) - perhaps that's why it doesn't stretch as much as Parafilm M.
The unstretched Parafilm - whether M or GT won't just stick to itself, the way you're trying in your video - it has to be stretched to 'activate' it; as you're wrapping around the stock or union, it seals to itself pretty nicely. I don't try to stretch the whole piece at once, but stretch it a little at a time, as I'm wrapping around and around, allowing it to adhere to itself as I work my way up the scion and back down again.
Have a look at the linked video below - looks like they're using Parafilm M

Here is a link that might be useful: budding with Parafilm

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 5:43PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Strudel, your box and tape looks exactly like mine and I just grabbed a chunk of tape and it stretched to about double. So I'll second your verdict of defective. I am about out and recently ordered a new box and will give it the test right after I get it to make sure its good.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 6:06PM
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I use a product called Buddy tape which is available through A.M. Leonard. It looks somewhat like parafilm but it's stronger, stretches further and seals better making unnecessary any bands or other supports for the graft so they can be done quickly. It's pricey compared to some of the other options, but well worth it in time savings if you have more than just a few grafts to do.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 12:14AM
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I have a friend who does thousands of grafts every year on established seedling rootstock(persimmon, pear, mulberry, pecan, apple, Che on Osage orange - on his hunting property.

He wraps his grafts with fluorescent orange or pink plastic flagging tape, and seals the scion with Elmer's wood glue.
He puts the grafts on and rolls on - doesn't have time to come back and tend them. Success rates, even with minimal to no aftercare, are acceptable.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 5:45PM
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Just an update, the manufacturer agreed that my Parafilm was defective and Customer Service was great and sent me out a new box which I received today and there is a great difference from my prior box. It does stretch and seal. It seems now Parafilm is now a division of Bemis Flexible Packaging. When I explained my issue to them they stated they did have problems with the formulation in some of the product.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 1:18PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Great. I got a new box a few weeks ago and it was also fine, so hopefully they have cleared the bad product out of the distribution channels.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 3:45PM
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I am novice when it comes to grafting. I am lucky. All my trees are self pollinating. Pears, Apricot, Figs, grapes. The Apple tree gets pollinated from my neighbor trees. But now I have a Mango tree and according to some lady Guru if you don't grafted the Mango its fruit will taste like turpentine. She is making a big deal about how difficult to graft a tree. May be she is trying some self-serving because she sells Mango trees at 69 each. I could bought 2 or three I love Mango and it worth it. But I doubt that Mango will survive in my zone 7. So I planted two Mango trees from seeds just for fun. They are growing very healthy and I had to transplant them in larger pots. I am going to graft them for educational purposes.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 5:18AM
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I use a regular utility knife (box cutter) to split bark, an old kitchen block knife to split cleft grafts, a hammer to push the kinife into the trunk and a flat head screwdriver to open the cleft. For wax I use a toilet wax sealer ring, and for wrapping and securing I use the green tape they sell at the nursery. Oh, to spread the wax I use a butter knife.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 1:12PM
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very good information here. Thank you for sharing your priceless knowledge.

Am a newbie on grafting. I live in Houston TX and I am getting ready to do my first graft. I am planning to graft bougainvillas. That way I wont compete with anyone.

I need help on where to buy my materials in Houston- grafting knife, grafting tape, seal, wax, etc. What brand should I use? Any procedure on how to graft bougainvillas? Is it diff from grafting trees of the same size?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 5:09PM
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