[nafex] apple grafts

victoria l. caron vicaron at gis.net
Tue May 1 10:14:01 EDT 2001

Hi Ginda,
    On the produce bag plastic that you wrapped your grafts with, I used that wrap for a few years with excellent results. You should not need any
thing else provided your wraps are snug. Later in the year I add a paper envelope to shade. The only reason I stopped using the clear wrap was because
I got the same results with less work from surveyor's tape. They both stretch well and can be either wound tightly or tied in a figure eight. The
surveyor's tape breaks off easily with a tug, can be written on with a laundry marker and so doubles as a one season tag.
    One thing you should know about grafting on crabs, Beach or Hedrick or ??? someone occasionally commented on the early practice of grafting onto
Siberian crab. The opinion was that apple varieties grafted onto it did not exhibit 100% of their original size. So if you have apples that are not up
to size, it may only be due to the crab influence onto the grafted variety.
    I am currently building a tree onto a very healthy seedling that appeared in my herb garden one spring. It is up to ten varieties of other worthy
seedlings which I have found except for one limb of Victoria Sweet. These trees can be a lot of fun despite all the warnings about viruses. The most
extensive project of this sort to my knowledge belonged to Henry Lang of Milan NH, who had up to 219 different var. on one crab. This crab, by the
way, did not seem to have any influence on the size of the cultivars. Hopefully, yours won't either. Good luck with your projects.
Vic zone 3 NH

Ginda Fisher wrote:

> 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.)
> Thanks,
> 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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