Hold my hand while I try peach grafting...again

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)July 30, 2014

I've made many failed attempts at peach grafting but I still want to keep trying. I've read and re-read my Grafter's Handbook on peach grafting, watched Youtube videos, bought a new knife, and this week we are having monsoon weather and won't get above 85 for a week. The time is right.

I have been practicing with odd pieces from my established trees and I think I may have "discovered" why it is difficult to graft peaches. I immediately noticed that the cambium is very thin and the pith is very brittle. As compared to apples, they seem to just fall apart when they are cut.

I also noticed that lining up the cambium is far more difficult. It seems that when the cut is made the bark and cambium roll inward, and the thin cambium is hard to match up. I wish I had a microscope to see better what is really happening. I did buy some 3.25 reading glasses.

I tried with new, green wood and last year's growth as well. Neither seems easier to work with. As far as method goes, I didn't find anything that I felt was better either. Because of the rolling effect I wonder if dormant wood would be easier to work with.

Any expert advice is appreciated!

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marknmt

No expert here Milehighgirl, but I will comment that my only success on apricot was with a chip rather than a t bud- just FWIW. (That was with Marianna rootstock; when I t budded apricot buds to plum several took and calloused over, but wouldn't be forced. Dern!)

Does seem like chipping is less fussy- don't know why.

Good luck and keep at it. You'll get it.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:54PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Are you T budding or grafting? From your description I can't tell what's going on. To graft now you'd need dormant wood. T budding is what I'd do now and from your description I'm thinking you might not have the cambium properly located.

On peach and most stone fruit there is a thin layer of outer bark that might be confused with the true bark. That thin outer layer is the one that curls in. The true bark is much thicker and is below the thin layer that curls under. The true bark peels back as well but just needs to be barely loosened when T budding. Just loose enough to get the scion bud underneath.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 13:36

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Look at some pictures, it does sound like you may be trying to align the wrong layer. Also I would try some chip budding, part of grafting is finding what works for you. I almost always do chip buds.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:31PM
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speedster1

Your description makes it sound like you arent bud grafting. And if that is the case then that's your answer. The only grafting appropriate for this time of year is bud grafting. If you are trying to cleft, bark, or whip graft you are wasting your time. You need to do that while the wood is dormant or just coming into bud.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:45PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I guess I was trying to figure out why my previous grafting efforts failed. I tried a number of bud grafts last year on my peaches and none took. So I decided to examine the layers very closely to see what I may have been doing wrong. I can see why budding would be the only thing that would work now but still I am trying to figure out why I couldn't get it to work.

I have dormant scion which I would like to graft now. Can I use dormant wood now and graft or only bud graft with dormant buds? Olpea said he has better luck with grafting because there is more energy stored for the scion.

I was reading in the Grafter's Handbook, which says that with peaches sometimes you have to scrape the bark off to expose the cambium. The area I bud grafted to on one of my trees looked to be healed in the spring but now it is a black and spreading wound. It is not oozing and doesn't look like canker, but it is definitely not healing over. So I am wondering why the Handbook says to scrape the bark. I didn't scrape it last year and it looked completely healed over in the spring, but now it's not.

I'm not sure I am making sense.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:48AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I can't imagine ever scraping the bark off to expose the cambium during grafting. That's a losing proposition. Also I'd question whether dormant scion wood could last this long and still be viable.

Right now you should look into T budding or chip budding. I've only done T budding. One key there is getting the bud inserted with minimal damage to bark and cambium. Chip budding if you can learn that technique would also use current seasons dormant buds and is even less likely to damage cambium layer.

You won't have success with any grafting technique that involves scraping the cambium layer.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:49AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"Olpea said he has better luck with grafting because there is more energy stored for the scion."

Milehigh,

Perhaps I should clarify what I meant. Normally, I do fall T-budding (with current season "green" growth). I've had good success doing fall T-budding as long as the temps are right and the timing is right. For me, that is generally the 1st of Sept. Too early, and the "sleeping" buds don't want to "wake up" the next spring. Too late and the T-buds don't have the time to properly callus in.

This spring I did T-budding with dormant wood, but my problem was the wood wasn't quite dormant enough. Buds on the scion wood were starting to "pop". The T-buds would callus in, but by the time they did, the little leaf buds themselves were dead. Since the little leaf buds themselves weren't fully dormant when I T-budded, they wanted to start growing right away. But since it took some time for the T-buds to callus in, the little fruit buds had no nourishment to help them grow and the just died, even though the T-buds callused in.

After discussing it w/ cckw in emails, we concluded grafting with full scions might be more successful for scion wood in that condition. That is, using full scions to graft for scion wood not fully dormant.

The idea was that since the scion wood was already breaking bud, full scions would have more energy to feed the growing leaf buds, while the scion was callusing in.

I then started grafting with full scions. It worked reasonably well for me (considering the condition of the wood) and worked for cckw as well (although a hail storm took out some of his spring grafts).

This fall, I plan to use T-budding as usual, with current season growth.

I've done chip budding in the fall, but found T-budding works slightly better for me and is faster. The problem for me with chip budding is getting the chip to stay in place while I wrap the chip graft.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:15AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Olpea,

Thanks for the clarification.

Fruitnut,

Chip budding if you can learn that technique would also use current seasons dormant buds

I recently received scion from GRIN that is last year's growth that is still dormant. That is why I am assuming that I can use dormant wood from last year. (I figure they know their stuff.)

Here's what I am working with: Multiple scion that are dormant from last year's growth, last year's seedling and this year's seedlings, and established trees that I plan to cut off and rework using cleft grafts or bark grafts.

What will get the best results for me at this time with what I am working with?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:59PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

"I've done chip budding in the fall, but found T-budding works slightly better for me and is faster. The problem for me with chip budding is getting the chip to stay in place while I wrap the chip graft."

I've lost many buds trying to place them (and then they fall into the leaf litter and disappear forever). If you put a good notch on the bottom, usually it holds it nicely...usually.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:55PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

"I've lost many buds trying to place them (and then they fall into the leaf litter and disappear forever)."

Yes, and I'll admit that has caused me to say some bad words.

" If you put a good notch on the bottom, usually it holds it nicely...usually."

Frank, my problem is that even if the notch holds the chip, it still wants to move and get misaligned while I wrap it tight. I've had quite a few successes w/ chip budding, but T-budding is easier for me.

Milehigh, if you are grafting dormant wood now, I would use full scions (with two or three buds per stick) to graft with, since they will be growing this season.

Graft them ASAP, since you are quickly running out of growing season. You want enough growth to harden off before winter.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:49PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I played around with different types of grafts on practice wood but didn't really find a graft that I thought would work. When I magnified what I was looking at I realized that chip and T-bud didn't really allow for too much cambium contact. I just wasn't "feeling" it.

I am sure there is a name for what I ended up doing but the best description is a "whip and lip". I sliced the bark on the rootstock on both sides and then very gently and carefully peeled back the bark with the cambium attached about an inch long, maybe more. Then I removed just the bark, again, very carefully, from the scion. Then I cut the wood of the two pieces as one would for a whip and tongue graft, leaving the flaps of bark attached to the rootstock. (At this point I suppose I could have done the tongue but didn't want to start practicing this at that point). Then I overlayed the rootstock with cambium and bark over the scion with the cambium. At this point a tongue or at least another pair of hands would have helped. Then I used green stretch tape to bind the two together very tightly. I got this tip from a video posted here about epicotyl cleft grafts on avocadoes. The tape can be tied much more tightly than rubberbands, which is what I had always used before.

This is somewhere between whip-and-tongue, saddle-graft, and bark-graft, I guess.

I found that my grafting seal was dried up so I just put a plastic bag around the pot and left it in the garage in the dark for about a month.

It appears to be callusing nicely and also staying dormant.

So this is a graft of "Meadow" peach scion I received from aphahn. I think I am ready to graft the rest of my scion now. I'm going to have to keep them garaged this winter but that's what I do with my figs, etc. anyway.

I'll try to take photos when I do the other grafts. I chose this scion because it was the same diameter as the rootstock. The others won't be so easy.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 12:44PM
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marknmt

Good luck- I hope I get something. I tried a few chips on my apricot rootstock (actually Marianna) and the next day the temperatures dropped and haven't come back- I'm just keeping it it all wrapped up snug and hoping that it survives until warm weather returns (mebbe next week).

Thanks for the update. I hope they all do well for you.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2014 at 9:15PM
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