[NAFEX] plums (and apricot) grafting
DavidU9999 at aol.com
DavidU9999 at aol.com
Sat Jun 8 13:28:44 EDT 2002
I have a few thoughts to share with those who have been responding to Charles
Paradise who wrote:
"I recommend planting at least a dozen varieties [of plums]. I believe you
need to create many different sources of pollen, in order to realize fruit
set. Your choice in my opinion is whether to cut down your shiro and santa
rosa Japanese plums and plant something more reliably fruitful, or else to
consider yourself committed and add many more varieties, and plant them
Think plum thicket. Notice the ''thick'' in the word ''thicket.''
The Japanese-American hybrids can be hard to cross pollinate and Charles is
right that lots of varieties help with fruit set on the Japanese plums also.
Santa Rosa and a few others are supposed to be self-fruitful, but have better
yields with cross pollination. If you don't have lots of room to plant,
consider planting 3 or 4 trees in one hole. I like that better than grafting
several trees on one root. Best to pick varieties with similar growth rates,
if possible, and use the same rootstock for all in that hole.
Del Stubbs writes: "My plum grafting luck onto p. americana has been nearly a
zero. For 4 years I have been trying both spring W&T grafting of dormant
scions ( both bench and in the field) , and late august bud grafting. So far
I have only one that has grafted successfully...bud graft of Alderman on
Del, I have no experience with P americana as a rootstock, but it should do
well under the hybrids. Were these well established roots in pots or
recently dug when you bench grafted them? I have grafted Waneta, Gracious,
Hanska, and a couple others in the past on Myrobalan with good luck. Best
rootstocks for plums in my opinion are Myrobalan and Myro 29C; peach, if your
soil conditions and climate permit; Marianna 2624; and the St Julian A
clones. I liked Pixie in the past but don't know a source now. I'm trying
Brompton plum this year and have had very good takes and early growth on
several European (P. domestica) cultivars.
Lucky Pittman writes: "I'm hardly anything more than a novice with
stonefruits - and I've virtually abandoned all of them that I currently have
planted - I'm just
waiting on the borers to take 'em out so I can replace them with pears or
persimmons - but I have grafted a few, with reasonable success.
I've done simple whips or W&T of dormant scions of both Euro & Jap hybrid
plums onto native plum(P.angustifolia?), P.americana, and Nanking
cherry(P.tomentosa) with good results - after the rootstocks had fully leafed.
I've done summer budding of peaches and Jap.hybrid plums onto both
P.americana and P.tomentosa."
Lucky, I'm sure you are more than a novice grafting. I remember T.O. Warren
telling me not to use P. angustifolia (Chickasaw plum) as a rootstock but I
know others that use it. If you can find a clone that doesn't sucker too
badly, it probably would be ok.
Chris Mauchline writes: I don't consider myself an "expert" on plum
grafting, but I have gathered some experience over the past few years. I
don't have experience w/ P. americana or the cold-hardy plum-hybrids you are
using. Plums (and all prunus (it seems) to varying degrees) require heat to
callus properly between stock and scion. I attended an apricot workshop as
part of the apricot interest group. I grafted 4 European plums, 2 hybrids (a
plumcot and a peachcot) and 2 apricots. I later grafted another 2 apricots
and another European plum. I have never been previously successful bench
grafting plums (or any prunus) before, but I have successfully field grafted
apricot, plum (1 European and 2 Japanese), and cherry (4 times).
Chris, You are absolutely correct about needing heat to callous. I have
found that apricot is the most critical with peach about as bad. Plum is the
least fussy of the stone fruit, in my experience. I normally graft plums
after I have finished grafting apples and pears as they probably do need a
little more heat than Pyrus. I also wait to graft apricot - usually late
March here or bench graft earlier and place in a heated propagation box.
"I'd say roughly (including past years) that I'm batting around 40% on
apricot and 80-90% on plums."
If you are getting just 40% something is wrong. What rootstock are you
using? I use Manchurian apricot seedlings, Myrobalan plum, and peach. Seems
that the apricot seedlings do the best. A good time to graft is when buds
are just beginning to grow.
"I have had success in prior years field grafting (after leaf break), but
covering the graft with a plastic bag (to retain moisture/heat), and then
covering that with a paper bag w/ corners removed (to keep the graft from
getting too hot). This year I also tried simply covering the whole scion w/
parafilm and that seems equally successful."
As long as you have dormant scions, go ahead and try to graft them. I'm going
to graft some misses today. When you graft late, you need to take extra care
to prevent drying of the scions as Chris says. That is the method that I use
to graft persimmons and I usually wait until early May here as we are rather
cool here in Sebastopol.
I learned to graft from the master T.O. Warren, who until recently was the
grafting consultant for NAFEX. He taught me to use masking tape only, but I
often use poly tape, also, for extra insurance if I'm not completely happy
about my carpentry. I love Parafilm. When I do a cleft graft, I wrap the
masking tape and the tip of the scion with parafilm. I have never thought
grafting wax necessary and it's a real bother.
"My problem this year: grafting (besides 10 stitches): I grafted Puget Gold
apricot 3 times this year. Bench grafted it to St. Julian A once, Mariana
2624 once, and field grafted it to an existing tree once."
"The St. J is failed, and the jury is still out on the other two, but they
are looking less and less likely. Does anyone know if P.G. is particularly
hard to graft?"
Chris, did you get the wood from Bob Purvis? I sent Bob a big package of
Puget Gold wood in mid Feb. My tree died this spring, most likely from
bacterial canker. Maybe the wood I sent wasn't any good. I haven't heard
that Puget Gold is hard to graft.
Got to go graft those misses. Anyone interested in reviving the plum
David Ulmer - Southern Plum Interest Group
Zone 9 (but cool summers)
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