Grafting onto old wood

damiencwalkerJuly 17, 2013

Hi all

I have some 10+ year old sweet cherry trees that I need to renew. The way they've been pruned has left no young wood low on the trees and I am aware of various pruning techniques to manage this but want to ask about grafting.

Does anyone know if it's possible to graft a bud onto the trunk or an old branch at the base of the tree? Grafting onto young wood is one thing, but are there techniques for bud grafting onto old wood?

I'm specifically looking for advice on bud grafting into the bark, not topping, clefting or any other methods.

This post was edited by damiencwalker on Wed, Jul 17, 13 at 11:49

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There are a number of techniques outlined in some of the older grafting books where a scion is inserted on a sloping cut low on the primary trunk to initiate a new branch.

I can't tell you from memory if cherry was listed as a species amenable to the trick

You might be able to bud, but without cutting it back hard how are you going to get the dormant bud to push?...Fot that matter I assume heavy pruning is part of the technique I was referring to as well.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 5:18PM
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Budding on larger wood -that is, anything over about 1 inch diameter- in apples seems to fail me much of the time: the bark doesn't want to heal over the bud and pulls back instead. Once in a while a corner of the bud will heal in and the bud will express, but it is an uphill battle.

I've seen success with scions such as you'd use for clefting or W&T grafting inserted under mature apple bark well down the tree. Myself I think I'd consider a wedge graft, but I've never done it- just watched the video on You Tube.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 6:18PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I tried many variations on this and they all failed. Its best to just lop off a scaffold and bark or cleft graft to it. Cherries make new buds on old wood so if you also wanted to keep some of the original variety just let one of the buds at the cut point grow out. I have done that many times to turn a single variety tree into one that keeps the original variety as well as adding new ones.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 7:46PM
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This is helpful to know scott,
Just yesterday Iwas looking at a whitegold tree I really should have headed back further when it went into the ground....scaffolds all starting much too high and not enough of them.
I was considering cutting it back very hard (next season), but wasn't sure how readily cherry throw new wood

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:22PM
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Thank you all for your input. The shape of my trees prevents some of the grafting options you've recommended so I've started a new post here that includes a diagram of a typical tree in my orchard. I hope this makes it clearer what I'm trying to achieve.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:02AM
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