Grafting Preparation

The weather is getting warmer and the buds are starting to burst on the fruit trees about 3 weeks earlier than last year. So the other day I went to gather cherry and plum scion wood for grafting in a few weeks. Cut pencil diameter shoot from last years growth to about 8″ long. Label and wrap a moist paper towel on the cut ends and place in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator to keep them dormant and fresh. Then join us for the Great Grafting Gathering coming up in march.

As you prune, remember to save scion wood for the Great Graft Gathering! Bring Apple, Pear, Plum scion wood varieties from your neighborhood. Share and graft on root stock to start new trees! We will demonstrate commonly used grafting techniques that you can try. Select scion wood and rootstock to graft a tree to take home! Semi Dwarf apple, pear and plum rootstock will be available for a nominal fee. Different scion wood varieties will be available from what people bring to share. so please bring labeled scions from any trees you may have access to.

Scion wood should be cut from a section of last year’s vegetative growth, up to 12″ or so long and about a pencil-width diameter. Seal the ends with paraffin or tree-seal, or place in a zip lock bag, with a moist paper towel and refrigerate. The idea is to keep the wood dormant and moist until it is grafted. Labeling the variety is very important.

Please RSVP so we can have enough rootstock on hand. If you have a grafting knife or other supplies please bring them along.

Planting your grafted rootstock

Plant your grafted tree so that the graft is, if possible, only a couple of inches above the ground. This will help avoid the burr knots that sometimes form on the EMLA 26, EMLA 7, and MMlll rootstocks. If however, you need to graft higher on the rootstock to match the size of scion and rootstock this is also okay. It is often best to plant the grafted rootstock in a garden or easy to care for area, spaced about 18 inches apart for one or two years before planting the tree into your orchard. Use your fingers or pruners to keep any buds from growing below the graft union. Use a piece of scion wood with 2-4 buds to graft. However choose only one vigorous branch to tie up to start your new trunk and prune off any other branches that start to grow.

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