[nafex] apple grafts

Sam Franc franc at oregonfast.net
Tue May 1 23:16:43 EDT 2001

> I don't know.  As the woods are full of seedling crabs, and I pull
> several out of my lawn each spring, I'd guess they are random
> seedlings.  One has has a typical "apple tree" growth habit and little
> yellow apples that taste okay, and disappear fairly rapidly (birds?).
> The other has little red fruits that last until spring (and taste like

Crabs tend to put up a lot of shoots. You just have to prune them off all the

> cardboard).  It has dozens of "leaders" growing from the ground.  I
> don't know if this is its natural habit, of if someone cut it down a
> couple of times and finally gave up.  Both have fruit smaller than a
> marble, mostly seed.

I think you will find that the crab seedlings will dwarf your apple graft
fruit. There is some sort of enzyme in the crab that keeps the fruit small.
and the small crabs like your seedings are the worst. A crab like the Dolgo
would do better.

> I could probably bum some parafilm for free from a doctor - they use it
> in research labs.  I worked in a lab years ago, and had a lot of fun
> playing with the stuff.  I'm sure it would be great for bud grafting, or
> if you have a perfect mechanical fit.  But I often seem to be trying to
> pull the stock and scion together with my "binder", and wonder if
> parafilm has the strength for that.  (Even those I pulled together
> mostly took last year, so it seems to work.)

You can't really pull them together. The secret of a good graft is in the
cutting of the tree and the scion to match perfectly. I use a utility knife
and change blades frequently so that it is sharp. I recut and match till they
line up almost exactly for the entire length of the cuts. It is best to
practice on waste wood till you can do it in only one or two tries with the
original cut. If both sides do not match up because of different diameters you
must make sure one side matches up all the way along it. I very rarely try to
make a graft with different size diameters and I usually have 99% success
rate. If I can not find a matching twig to my scion I will attempt a graft
rather than give up for that season.

>   We'll see if irrigation can save the
> smaller ones.

Mist them every day, at least a couple time a day if you can think of it. The
red coloring is natural for them here. The bushes here look very reddish a lot
of the time.

> t.
> Almost every apple and crab apple in town has small leaves and tight
> pink buds.  I saw one that had started to open this afternoon.  Bloom
> any day now.

Probably most of the apples growing around you are all of the same bloomong
season. Local nurseries sell apples and other fruit that is standard for the
I on the other hand experiment with fruit from all over the country. So a lot
of my blooming is continuous sequenctial instead of all at once.
French plums bloom at vastly different times than Japanese. In fact it is hard
to get a French plum to grow grafted on a Japanese.
Japanese apples tend to be later blooming than ours that have been developed
in the USA. I also have some difficulty in cross grafting these apples.
Root stock makes a great difference.
I suggest you buy a M111 root stock for your grafting experiments.
You will have much better luck than with your crabs.
You can buy a 2 or 3 year M111 for less than $5 plus shipping if you don't
have a local nursery that will sell you one.
I grow my own M111 rootstock from sprouts on my existing trees.
Most experimenters will grow their own root stock by stooling.
Good luck,

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