[nafex] apple grafts

Ginda Fisher ginda at concentric.net
Tue May 1 10:54:00 EDT 2001

I did a bunch of grafts onto my crab apples last spring.  The goal is to
test a bunch of cultivars under my conditions, and see which my family
likes best (complete with whatever insect damage, etc., we get.)  I will
eventually plant one tree with something we like, and probably leave all
the stray graftlings on the crabs, unless they cause problems.

Most of them took last spring.  This spring, they are just opening up (a
bit later than the stock - is that normal, or a sign of poor graft
union?) and I see that a few of them are sporting pink buds.  Is it okay
to let them bloom this year?  Can the recently joined branches hold the
weight of a fruit?  I don't care if fruiting slows their growth, as none
if the grafts is positioned where it could become a major branch - a
couple of fruiting spurs would be ideal.

Also, a few of the grafts which grew last year died over the winter.  Is
this common?  Would it have helped to wax the twigs?  It was mostly
weaker, long thin growth that died back.  The thicker twigs and the
shorter stubs all seem to have survived.

And my last apple question for the day:  I did some more grafting this
spring (on the same two trees - poor little crabs) and I tried using
strips of clear produce bags from the supermarket.  Mechanically, it
worked pretty well, although I think I get firmer pressure from rubber
bands.  Do I have to cover the plastic with anything else to retain
water or keep out sun, or are the strips sufficient?  (I wrapped a
little masking tape around most of them, just in case, but am wondering
if that was necessary.)

Ginda Fisher
Eastern Mass., zone 6, where spring has sprung.  Cherry blossoms nearly
past, apples any day now.  Not enough rain.

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