After graft care

ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)April 16, 2012

Greetings everyone. I hope you are enjoying all the new plants most are receiving in the mail. My life is becoming a whirlwind of work now that spring is upon us. Working full time for a paycheck and then gardening full time is keeping me so busy that I have to quickly browse the forum whenever I get a tiny bit of extra time.

I have mixed emotions about my grafting experience this year. LOL. I was so unorganized and discombobulated that I lost some plants due to silly mistakes. Even with that I was able to get quite a few grafts to take and will be adding photos on the forum when I have some spare time. I'm putting together a detailed document with everything that worked and what I SHOULD have done with regards to grafts so that I will have it for next year. That will remind me of how to stay on track and hopefully give me much better success.

Now I need all your expertise on after care for grafting. Here are a few of my questions:

1. When should I up pot my grafts that have taken? I want to get them into 1 gallon containers ASAP. I thought I had asked this but could not find the answer.

2. When can I put these grafts outdoors? What should the night temps be before placing them outdoors? Are night temps in the 40's ok?

3. When do most of you plant grafted plants in your garden setting without killing them over the winter? I'm thinking of keeping them potted for 2 or 3 years before planting do any of you foresee an issue with this?

4. Last question, I know it is quite early...but I want to start thinking of where and how I will keep them over the winter months. Should I keep them outdoors and pile leaves up on all of them, or would I be better off keeping them in a pole barn (All that will do is protect them from the wind...not the cold)?

Gosh sorry for being a pain in the arse with all my questions. I want to put all this into my grafting document and ensure I'm prepared and not disorganized like I was this spring.

I hope you are all enjoying nice weather...I'm sorry for those of you who are battling the frost. I had quite a lot of frost damage on my perennials, but they will survive and grow out of it. I sure hope I get some fruit on all my fruit trees this year. I know the frost zapped my Apricot blossoms. But my plums, apples, hapsacks, elderberries and many other fruit trees have not broke into bloom yet.

Thanks for your advice.

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Cher(6 SW OH)

Sorry to hear you lost some, but for your first year I think that you have some that took is great. Look forward to seeing your photos when you have time.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:55AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

#1. Anytime after the last frost in your area, or, mid-summer (June) as the roots at that time are becoming active. Just be sure they are under shade cloth or similar after you've up-potted.

#2. Same as 1.

#3. Doesn't matter all that much. A lot of the time I plant my new grafts in the fall. And then some stay in my unheated hoophouse and others I may plant to part sun/more shade nursery beds.

#4. A pole barn is better than leaves.

Congratulations though. You'll get it dialed.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 6:38AM
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Putting together a document of what worked and didn't is a great idea.

Here are my particular basement grafting answers.

1. The first year I potted up band pots to gallons, about a month after the grafts took. At this time, they were still in the basement under lights, and had just been taken out of the humidity chamber. In following years, I've also potted up even earlier, while they were still in the chamber. Potting up earlier is a bit of a trade off in my situation, as the understock plant seems to "slow down" for several days. I assume this is because it's redirecting energy to the roots. I tried to avoid disturbing the roots as much as possible.

2. Night temps in the 40s have been ok. I usually wait until the last frost date (about May 15) or until there's a clear sign there won't be any more overnight freezes.

3. I've planted grafts as early as the last frost date. That said, I'm in z6a. I don't foresee an issue with keeping them potted for a few years before planting.

4. The pole barn sounds like a good place.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:06AM
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ladylotus(Z3/4 ND)


Thank you so much for all your responses. I will start up potting to 1 gallon containers within the next couple weeks. I will keep my grafts in containers and winter them over in the pole barn.

Thank you. This helps me understand what space I will need allowing me to plan ahead.

I have a dickens of a time keeping conifers alive over the winter months here once I plant them outdoors. I'm a bit nervous about planting my babies out there.

Cher, thanks. I did get some grafts that took and am really excited to see what percentage of grafts did take...I'm still waiting for a few more weeks for my last batch of grafts to show new growth.

Here are a few of my babies...I still have quite a few I've not taken photos of yet.

Pinus strobus 'Trautmann'

Pinus pumila 'Dwarf Blue'

Pinus strobus 'Coney Island'

Pinus flexilis 'Snowy #1

Picea pungens 'Spring Ghost'

Picea abies 'Clanbrassiliana'

Picea pungens 'Blue Trinket'

I have to chuckle looking at these photographs. I got better at grafting as the season went along. The first ones I did with the big fat rubber bands were a real pain. Nate turned me on to the grafting bands and I will never go back to using the plain rubber bands.

Also, I used parafilm grafting tape and had much better success with the plants I used that on.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:51PM
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Most excellent!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:45AM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

Fantastic job. You did really good. As with anything, time goes by and your work improves also. Next year you'll have even more successes.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 5:28AM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)



    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:02AM
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Nice job! Thanks for posting pictures.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 9:03AM
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kbguess(z5 IA)


Nice work. You are a quick learner.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:24AM
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