Fruit Tree Grafting Tool

pappabell(6)November 18, 2013

Can anyone tell me the BEST Grafting tool to buy for grafting persimmons and pawpaws,NOT A KNIFE!!.I see them all the way from $19.95 on ebay to $75 at Raintree Nursery,And many prices in between.......

This post was edited by pappabell on Wed, Nov 20, 13 at 6:47

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The best ones cost hundreds or thousands. It depends on what you are trying to do and your budget.

The cheap ones will work fine on easy to graft fruits like apples and pears.

I did my first grafts using an inexpensive handheld omega grafting tool. It was nice to build up some confidence and give the encouragement to learn how to graft with a knife which isn't much harder.

If you want to provide links to specific ones or describe more how you plan to use it you may get more useful responses. I'd be happy to give my thoughts.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 5:41PM
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Some people should not be allowed around sharp objects (you know who you are). For them the Omega grafter will save a lot of Band Aids and does well for scions similar in size to the rootstock. All the rest are basically knives, which require a bit of skill and hand strength. I use a dollar store plastic utility knife for the thousands I do each year; others cannot live without a single-bevel grafting knife.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 5:52PM
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single sided razor blades (100 pack at HD)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:51AM
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Not the replys I wanted,But are the replys I expected,Thanks everyone

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 8:17AM
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After much research, which you seem to be doing, I recently purchased my first grafting knife. I bought a Swiss Army Grafter with Straight Blade by Victorinox. I read many favorable reviews about the knife and was able to find it on line for $21. I've been practicing with it and like it very much. It has two blades, one is an all purpose straight blade and the second is curved with a bark lifter. They both fold into the handle, so there is no exposed blade, which is an accident waiting to happen. These knives are extremely sharp, which makes me use it with extreme caution, and so should anyone using them.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:50AM
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As mentioned above, I used the Omega tool to graft some figs. It worked very well. Catch is scion and rootstock have to be very close in size..

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Actually, I don't believe that it matter. What is needed is a very sharp knife, preferable one that holds its edge well.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:08PM
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I think there are many people here with useful knowledge that they are willing to share with you that would likely give you the information you seek.

You can probably tell from the responses that your question was interpreted a number of different ways.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 12:33PM
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The question is subjective first of all, and secondly people would have to had tried all these tools to compare which is "best" and how many people have done that?

So people are just saying what they use....seems fine to me..

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 2:54PM
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pappa wants to spend some money.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 4:26PM
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I happen to like the Youtube video on grafting by a British gardener named Stephen Hayes. On one of his videos, he told the viewers the tools he use for grafting. He uses Opinel grafting knives, a French product. I bought two, # 8 and another # which I could not remember what # or where I put it away.

I figure since my grafting skills are poor, my grafting knife should be good!!. I used them this year and am happy with the quality of the knives.

I attached one of his grafting videos. He has a number of them. He seems down to earth and his instructions are easy to follow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Stephen Hayes' grafting video

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I updated my question,I`m probably only going to be making 2-3 dozen grafts over the next 5 years,and with my job don't have much time.So figured a tool(like omega etc.)would be best for me.I retire in 9 years,which at that time I will have plenty of time to perfect the use of a knife.......Thanks for the replys

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 6:56AM
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Pawpaws didn't seem too difficult to graft and a simple omega tool will probably work fine. If you want to post a link to the ones you have seen or considered I'd be happy to comment. But if you have scions that match the diameter of the host, then I'm sure any of them would be fine for a few dozen grafts.

Persimmons are more difficult. You might search for some discussions on grafting them. Apparently timing is important and some suggest that budding rather than traditional grafting is a better way to go.

If you've never grafted before I'd suggest getting your feet wet on the easier stuff.

In some cases you may see an essentially identical grafting tool sold for a wide range of prices. I'm sure there is someplace that sells the identical tool that Raintree has for less since Raintree is a retail operation and surely doesn't source them directly.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Thank-you Murky

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 5:04PM
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You've piqued my curiosity.

The one that Raintree sells looks like the one I have. It can certainly be found for less, especially when considering shipping.

There are roughly $20 ones on Ebay that use a blade that is very similar, if not identical and I'd guess would work as well but I would just ignore the built in shears and use a proper pruner. I'd get one with extra blades.

The blades likely will arrive not very sharp, which is how I used mine with acceptable results, but would probably work much better if you have the means of sharpening it. They don't seem very easy to sharpen to me.

BTW, if your scion and rootstock don't match exactly in diameter you should get the cambium to line up by matching one side only. Don't center the two or you will miss the cambium on both sides and the graft will fail.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 5:37PM
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I use a Tina knive i bought in the seventies when they were dirt cheap. Now they are a little pricey.I use it every year for about 40 to 60 grafts,not all fruit tree's.These knives are made in Germany i believe.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 5:54PM
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Having just started getting my feet wet with grafting, I can't help bringing up another point: success in grafting seems to be dependent on so many different things, I hardly think the choice of tool is all that important.

That said, I did buy a cheap omega-type grafting tool, which, even though I have yet to make a successful graft with it, certainly seems to be a huge leap ahead of a simple knife in my hand (except for budding of course).

Anyway, I've been dumbfounded by the lack of published in depth information regarding proper temperatures, humidity, timing, storage of scion material, etc. for successful grafting. Most of the stuff I've read says things like: "graft while dormant, matching the cut on the scion with the cut on the rootstock. Wrap with tape until the graft has taken".

Anyway, I am beginning to think there might be some major differences in grafting success rates in different climates as well. My climate is arid, and grafts dry out very easily, for example.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 10:24AM
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I bought the Omega last year and did 9 grafts on a single fig tree. I had three pieces of buddy tape and a roll of parafilm. I grafted when the tree just started pushing. However I think that was too early. The grafts just sat and I thought all failed. After a few weeks ALL 3 with the buddy tape pushed. The 6 with parafilm had dried out/desiccated. If I had waited (or wrapped the parafilm better) together perhaps those 6 would have made it. If I had used buddy tape (which wrapped very snugly) perhaps all 9 would have made it. Will be trying again this spring (with buddy tape) to redo those 6 that failed.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 11:29AM
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Exactly how does the Omega tool work?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Everyone I know - and there are several - who've bought one of those tools - and some have bought more than one - have them collecting dust in a drawer and would gladly foist them off on you for pennies on the dollar.
Nothing like a decent grafting knife

I won't graft without parafilm - but by itself it is NOT enough. Gotta have an overwrap of the graft union with a budding rubber - or at minimum, some masking tape pulled tight is often sufficient for rapid stuff like pears. If you use ONLY parafilm, it'll pretty rapidly degrade & split at the union, allowing things to dry out.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 2:42PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

My limited experience with parafilm is that it has to be pulled tight or it won't seal. It needs pulled enough to deform.

Grafting jujube this spring I used budding rubbers pulled tight to hold the graft in place. Then covered all with parafilm. But it was hard to pull it tight enough without placing excessive strain on the graft union. Done properly I had 90-100% takes.

When applying the parafilm I felt like I needed three hands. One to support the graft union and two to pull the pararfilm. I reduced the issue by shortening the scion to one bud. This reduced leverage on the union while pulling the parafilm. These were cleft, whip&tongue, and simple splice unions. All took, grew like crazy, and didn't break out in wind. I left the rubber budding strips and parafilm all in place until they weathered off.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Thu, Nov 21, 13 at 15:37

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 3:07PM
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I also have trouble wrapping parafilm out to the end of the graft without damaging the graft joint. I thought about pre-wrapping the scion from the bud to the tip, or perhaps dipping in warm wax. Much easier than growing a third hand, although such a thing would surely be, uh, handy. Nicer, though, to just use one bud, which also means more grafts per stick.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 9:24PM
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OK, I couldn't figure how the Omega thing could do a whip and tongue graft, so I looked at a video - and it doesn't.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 9:44PM
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Pappa, I teach first-time grafters how to graft pawpaw seedlings at clinics. The easiest and most successful graft is a small cleft graft. Almost everyone gets it right the first time. No tools needed--just a cheap utility knife. Secure tightly with a rubber band , wrap the scion with pre-stretched Parafilm.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 10:51PM
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I agree about people with the Omega tool have them collecting dust, but it isn't because they don't work.

I don't regret buying mine. It took a lot of the intimidation out of doing my first grafts. I view it as a gateway tool. It will get you hooked enough on grafting and fruit tree growing that you can't help but be curious enough to learn more and find out how to graft free hand.

The omega tool cuts out a keyhole shape. So if you have rootstock and scion about the same diameter you cut them each with the omega tool and then fit the puzzle pieces together which are an exact match because the were cut to the same shape.

You then wrap the union tightly with a grafting rubber or rubber band and then somehow seal at leat the union and the end of the scion and probably the whole scion depending on circumstances.

anything that will keep the moisture in that isn't left on long enough to girdle and that won't cause damage when removed can be used. That could be wax, Doc Farwell's Heal and Seal, diluted Elmer's glue, parafilm wrapped tight (my favorite, 1/2") and other things.

Hmm, I don't have any probably using parafilm without harming the union. I just make sure that once I cross the union I hold onto the scion with one hand while I wrap with the other. I don't hold it by the rootstock while wrapping the scion.

It just occurred to me that maybe some folks are wrapping the graft with just parafilm or with parafilm first. I use a grafting rubber to hold the scion tightly in place on the rootstock and provide structural integrity and then cover it with parafilm.

This post was edited by murky on Fri, Nov 22, 13 at 2:42

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 2:40AM
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That was their primary complaint - we don't always have scion/rootstock that are similar in size - often, there's a BIG disparity in size. Though some indicated that the cutting blades on some units crushed/damaged bark/cambium resulting in poor graft success.

A lot of my grafts, I do wrap first with parafilm - especially 3- or 4-flap grafts on nut trees. But, I ALWAYS overwrap with a rubber band - and sometimes, I'll overwrap again with parafilm after applying the rubber.

Would never trust JUST parafilm to hold a graft together - it's just not got that sort of material strength.
Personally, I prefer the plain old Parafilm M laboratory film. Have had occasion to use the 'grafting' formulation in some Master Gardeners presentations, and I just don't like it. Harder to stretch, doesn't seem to stick to itself as well, etc.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 12:50PM
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What about this Buddy tape one poster mentioned?

The name suggests it's good for budding, but can it hold a graft?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 2:04PM
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Kippy(SoCal zone 10. Sunset Zone 24)

The elderly gentleman that has demonstrated grafting techniques at the local garden center, he has only been doing this for several decades commercially, uses a short section of copper pipe with a vertical slit cut in the end and then pounded flat. And I think something to hold the blade in place, like a small nut and bolt. And a carpet blade. Nothing fancy. Good way to slice yourself well. But seems to have worked for the fruit-citrus-rose industry for quite some time.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 10:08PM
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Here is a thread debating buddy tape/parafilm

Here is a link that might be useful: Tape vs Film

    Bookmark   November 22, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Have a friend who related following her grandfather grafting apples. He'd wrap the graft union with cotton twine, then had a can containing fresh 'soupy' cow manure and a wooden paint stirring stick. After wrapping the graft, he'd slather on a generous layer of cow manure over the entire union and scion.

Anyone who's spent any time in a cow pasture knows how those manure pats get a firm, dry crust, but are still nice and mushy just beneath... seals in moisture, and the bacterial populations and pH probably help prevent mold growth...

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 9:11AM
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Dang! Now I have to go find a cow.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2013 at 7:33PM
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