Photos Depicting a Graft

gardener365(5b Illinois USA)February 23, 2009

A scion is trimmed so the needles are plucked off carefully as to not damage the bark. Then the cuts are made. Finally the finished graft is placed into a tented structure where it will take six to eight weeks for the scion to unite to the seedling understock/host.

Aftercare: Once the scion has begun to grow where the buds are breaking and new growth is being seen, the grafts are removed from the tented chamber and set on benches in the greenhouse to resume their growth. This takes place approximately 1-2 weeks after scion bud break.

When I cut the scions and the "flap cut" under the bark of the seedling understock... it is a very shallow cut that progressively about the final 1/8-1/4" I cut deeper into the seedling understock so as my prepared scions will fit snug and so that the flap does not tear off.

On the flap and under, the scion will be lined up carefully so the cambium (green) is lined up with at least one side of the flap, preferably both sides however...

Everything is exactly the same for a decdiduous graft except the deciduous graft is NEVER tented and when the scions on a deciduous graft break bud and show new foliage (again wait one week at least) - then you MUST lop off the the entire seedling/"Host" ABOVE the scion. Now you have only the scion attached to the host seedling and that is what will be your newly grafted plant.

A fungicide is sprayed every two weeks here. Also when the conifer grafts are removed from the tent, I mist them with water from a spray bottle a few four or five times a day. Same misting schedule for deciduous grafts where the scion has broken bud and is exibiting new growth. This new growth is misted (entire scion) 4-5 times, daily.

The flap on the understock should be a tad longer than the inserted scion. The flap will cover the scion and be about 1/8" longer (this is to be sure no part of the exposed cuts on the scion are exposed to the elements.

Parafilm tape is placed over the bud strip on all conifer grafts and for deciduous grafts as well. My greenhouse is heated at 60F and during the day it warms up to 80 on sunny days - perfect. You can graft between December and March 1. The understock seedlings are brought into a heated greenhouse and in approximately 2 weeks, they will show signs of growth (buds breaking OR white tips on the root systems. If 2/3 of a "group" of seedling understocks is showing either of these signs, it is same to graft on all of them.

Bob Fincham at Coenosium Gardens has a 'Graft Compatibility' chart that shows combinations of understocks that work well. Ideally, however, your best bet is to find a species that does best in your OWN climate and use that species to graft other species of scion(wood)


A 45 degree cut is made (you'll see how it fits into the flap you'll be cutting after you prepare a scion)

Cut #2 (see all the green/cambium I found "just under the bark.")

Now you have two cuts:

Cut #3 on the scion. My scion is now ready.

The seedling host/understock. My cut is made and the flap of bark can be seen now:

Now during the next photos I'm going to place that scion in there perfectly and tie it off with a budding strip and finally wrap the bud strip in parafilm tape to lastly place the finished graft into my tented structure:

Now you see why the 45 degree angle cut is made on the scion and how by cutting deeper into the wood of the understock seedling you now have a very tight connection (between the understock and the scion). This "working" area is called the "union." Notice that the flap extends just a bit above the prepared cuts on our scion, as mentioned:

With keeping pressure on the the scion and the understock so both are in "contact" you begin to seal the deal with a bud strip (rubber bands are fine). This is where you want to take your sweet time until you are positive the work has been done, right!

This is my finished graft...

Now it goes to the tented structure. The tented structure is sealed for two weeks then the poly is left to dangle for the remainder of the six to eight weeks. The "lightweight clear poly ONLY" is held in place with furring strips and screws.

Humidity is brought into the graft chamber via a 'Cool Puff Humidifier'. I purchased a Vicks brand 1.2 gallon unit from Wal-mart for 50 bucks. A 1.5" piece of PVC pipe cut to lenght along with an S PVC fitting all in unison bring the mist from my humidifier into the tented structure. You must not allow large water droplets to form on the foliage.... like anything you'll have to perfect the amount of time needed to keep the chamber humid. Same goes for all "elements." It will take YOU the grafter time to figure out what works best, for yourself.

The best advice I can give is to take your sweet time and carefully do everything with precision in mind. Link to Coenosium Gardens below.

Furring Strips/lightweight poly:

Cool Puff Mister with attachments and a support brace to hold the 1.5" pipe in place sturdy. Notice there is too much water accumulating on the poly "walls". Trial and Error:

Here is a link that might be useful: Coenosium Gardens: Understock Compatibilities

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pinetree30(Sierra Westside)

Very nice and definitely very useful as a public service!
BTW, the green tissue is not the cambium (which is colorless), but is the cortex from which the bark will soon develop.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 5:15PM
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barbaraincalif(Z 8/9)

Wonderfully done Dax! Your photo of a well-cut scion is a thing of beauty...I can smell the resin, feel the cuts on my finger...
Please add more pictures as the grafts progress.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 5:21PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Thank you so much!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 6:35PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

super tutorial


    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:53AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I thought so. The photos show it all.

Have a 'something' day,


    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 9:33AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

I've got my timer dialed in.
There are water droplets on the poly but none on any of the plants above or below. Humidiy is 97% right now. I keep a log journal (learned this a while back) of everything.

Have a nice day,


15 minute spurts at times listed below (should be 11 pm):

Timer -

Storing Scionwood - Just like in the tenting chamber, you want the right humidity in the bag. If the scions for instance were collected and prior it had rained, I would not add a wadded up slightly damp piece of paper towel; It it was a dry day, vice-versa. Too much moisture on the scions, I pat them with a towel to get the right moisture consistency. Adding air is necessary as well:

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 2:38PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Scions are refridgerated for up to one month. They should be collected the morning of grafting however, or grafted shortly thereafter.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 2:44PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

The timer I dropped to 15 minute intervals at 6:30 am; 9:30; 12:30; 3:30; and 11 pm.

Links to my two grafting videos. I make my cuts on a cutting board unlike shown in the video. Don't wrap them with the bud strip like I did in the video either, take your time pinching the flap to the scion to make solid contact while wrapping the bud strip.

Grafting Conifer Part 1 2009

Grafting Conifer Part 2 2009


    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 9:23AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Two weeks have passed so it's time to take the furring strips off of the chamber and now the lightweight clear poly will simply, hang.

I watered (won't need to again for at least, two weeks) and sprayed my fungicide once again as two weeks have passed. Here's a few photos. All is in perfect condition as of yet.

The humidity was managed at 95% with "no water droplets" on any of the foliage anywhere inside the chamber. The humidifier ran at 6:30 am for 15 minutes and at 3:30 pm for 15 as well, that I had to change to meet my own requirements... Now since the furring strips have been removed, my job is to keep the humidity up in the 90% range and make any adjustments to my timer. A fungicide I'll continue to use every two weeks.

Chamber with no furring strips, poly just loosely hanging:

My humidity never fluctuated from 95% (perfect) the entire two weeks maybe minus two days while I was figuring out what was needed for "my own environmental conditions."

A 'Chief Joseph' graft:

A photo of some of them:

Now I'm going to babysit them and determine as necessary that all requirements are still being met. As far as watering goes, I'll nearly almost let them dry out between waterings (every two weeks, apprx. Certain individuals may need more or less, watering). That's the most important next step along the way! That's all for now as I wait for my scions to break bud. Late.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 11:44AM
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barbaraincalif(Z 8/9)

Hey Dax...should I open the lid of my "grafting case" also? The humidity has hoovered around 85% in it, so I'm guessing no. I haven't watered yet, but some to the rootstock's new growth is a bit limp so it must be time. A few of my P. pungens scions flushed several days after being put in the book says that isn't good, but time will tell.

Wishing you the best environment for optimum growth!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 12:24PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Thanks Barbara, you too. Sounds like you're doing everything right except not watering enough. Make sure you open your chamber at least every other day to replenish the air.

I ended up sealing my chamber back up this entire time. I was able to control Temperature Humidity and Light so that means I have a very optimum situation. My greenhouse being situated under a deck (it's an attached greenhouse) along with very thick, durable 50% shade cloth always covering the front, and southern exposure. Also remembering that I live in Illinois and this combination is ideal for me...

I have 100% bud break on all soft pine grafts which I'm happy to say and all my other scions are in perfect condition, also.

Good luck Everybody, it may take a few years but you'll get it figured out. I'll quickly mention that if your chamber is overheating (common) drop shade cloths over it as needed and open the chamber up during these periods. You wish to control the conditions, as best as you're able to do.

My Greenhouse:
(West Side there is no shade cloth (that's where the picea's go - big hint for you!)


    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 6:43PM
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