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Supplies for Grafting

Posted by garnetmoth z6 TN Antioch (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 26, 05 at 11:46

Ok, Ill admit it. im thrifty. Or you could just say cheap. I have never grafted but im interested in learning. Ive seen "grafting knives", waxes, and tapes. Are any of these strictly necessary? Are there household equivalents?

Ive got plumbers PVC tape, is that anywhere near OK? Ive read that if you use rubber bands, you need to use wax on top. Could I use X-acto knives? if these implements can not be substituted easily, do you have any recommendations for suppliers?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Supplies for Grafting

  • Posted by Soeur z6b TN (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 26, 05 at 21:39

Grafting tape dissolves after a year or so. That's why you don't want to use a substitute.

Grafting wax stays pliable at normal outdoor temps, rather than turning rock hard like paraffin.

Grafting knives you can sub for -- I've used a sturdy-bladed paring knife with a straight, not curved, blade. Use a carbon steel one rather than stainless steel so you can keep a very sharp edge on it, and sharpen often. Maybe there's an X-acto knife that's rugged enough for grafting, but I don't know what model that would be. Remember that you're cutting through wood, not soft tissue. Wimpy tools won't work.

Bottom line: I wouldn't substitute, generally speaking. Why go to all the trouble of grafting and experience failure cuz your tools weren't up to the job? You can buy grafting supplies at AM Leonard.


Here is a link that might be useful: AM Leonard

RE: Supplies for Grafting

As a chemist, I have (Had I should say as I am partially retired now) access to a material called 'Parafilm' This is a sheet material made from paraffin and some other polymers which stretches and also sticks to itself mildly somewhat like food wrap. I found that this makes a wonderful substitute for both the tape and wax, as when the graft union was wrapped in this, it was also sealed by the wax. Like grafting tape and wax, this becomes brittle and decomposes in about a year so it does not restrict growth of the stem.

Parafilm is still available from most chemical and laboratory supply houses, and I see it on eBay also.


Here is a link that might be useful: Parafilm

RE: Supplies for Grafting

Thanks! I searched, and Parafilm actually has a grafting tape now that doesnt need a slipsheet of paper....

I asked about an X-Acto or other option because I honestly dont know about maintaining knives. I understand the idea of sharpening, but ive never seen it not botched. Im from the city :-P

RE: Supplies for Grafting

An exacto knife or boxcutter with replaceable blades works just fine for making most simple grafting cuts. They'll make good clean, even cuts, and if the blade gets dull, you just replace them with a new, sharp one.
I have made grafting knives out of old hacksaw blades - they're made out of pretty good metal - just sharpen with one beveled edge - not two, as is the case with most pocket or kitchen knives - but if I misplaced my grafting knife today, I'd probably opt for an exacto or boxcutter.

I use the red rubber grafting/budding strips made specifically for grafting, but have used plain old rubber bands, with reasonable success, though they tend to degrade more rapidly than I like when grafting hardwoods like nut trees & oaks.
I use Parafilm to seal virtually all of my grafts - but have seen less than desirable reports on the Parafilm grafting tape - seems it's less user-friendly than the plain old parafilm. I have ready access to the laboratory grade, so that's what I use.
I've never used it, though I bought one for that purpose, but supposedly, the wax toilet seal rings that you can purchase, cheaply, at any hardware, plumbing supply(or even WalMart) store, etc. is soft & malleable, and works just fine as a graft sealant, in place of grafting wax.
I have a number of friends who've worked as commercial propagators in the nursery industry, and some of them use only masking tape to wrap their grafts - especially if they're working with easy-to-graft stuff like apples & pears.
I've also seen good recommendations for 'rubberized electrician's splicing tape' - it's black, but not the black vinyl electrical tape. I've used it on a few pecans/hickories this year, and it's held up well. Supposedly degrades on its own, but we'll see if that happens or not.

RE: Supplies for Grafting

  • Posted by Soeur z6b TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 28, 05 at 22:45

That Parafilm tape is the self-dissolving type I referred to in my previous post. It pretty much disappears on its own, leaving a nice clean graft. I've seen grafts done using black electrical tape, and maybe I'm just too tidy a soul or something, but after a year or so the tape and the graft area look really rough and crummy. I've seen it where the tape got embedded in the tree as it grew, which can lead to future problems. I like my grafts to be smoother and less obvious than that.


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