[NAFEX] using old scionwood

Mark Lee markl at nytec.com
Thu Apr 22 13:23:16 EDT 2004

Here is an update on using some really old scionwood.


Sometime in the Winter of 2002-2003, a worker at the national pear
repository in Corvallis cut some pear twigs to fill a request I had made
for scionwood.  After a heat treatment to minimize the chances of
passing on some insect pest (I can’t remember the problem), my scionwood
arrive in late March 2003.  I did a few grafts that Spring, and the
leftovers went into the veggie bin in the frig.  The were wrapped in
damp paper towel inside a plastic bag.  I did a few bud grafts that
summer.  None of my grafts worked that season, but I hung onto the wood.
In December I cleaned out the frig, and the scionwood ended up in the
shed outside.  I found the bag of wood around a month ago, and some of
it still looked OK.  I decided to do some grafts and share the results.


April 2004:  I had run out of pear rootstock, so I grafted on seedling
mountain ash that I found growing wild in my neighborhood.  From
previous experiments, I knew pear was compatible with mountain ash.  I
used a cleft graft I recently learned from Leonard Jessen along with
rubber strips and parafilm.  After 10 days, the buds on that old wood
are starting to push through the parafilm!   From December through
April, it sat in my shed on a shelf in the dark where the temperature
fluctuated between 35-50F.  That wood was cut almost a year and a half
ago, and I some how managed to keep it dormant through neglect.  I’m
glad I was the one that found these twigs because I’m sure anyone else
would have quickly thrown it out.


I won’t believe these grafts have worked until the branches have grown a
few inches, but so far things are looking much better than I would have
thought.  The one that looks the best so far is Sucre Verte

“The name means 'Sweet Green' in English. Origin obscure. Believed to
have come from Barmont, a chateau on the boundary of Burgundy. Described
as early as 1598. Well known in Paris by 1670. Fruit small in size,
roundish-turbinate in form. Skin smooth, glossy, intense green in color
with inconspicuous dots. Flesh white, fine, but with some grit at the
center, buttery, juicy. Fairly sweet, nut-like aroma, pleasing flavor.
Early midseason. Tree vigorous, spreading in habit, very productive.
Moderately susceptible to blight. 
- H. Hartman, 1957”


-Mark Lee, Seattle, zone 7B/8A


-----Original Message-----
From: nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:nafex-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Lon J. Rombough
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2004 9:57 AM
To: North American Fruit Explorers
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] using old scionwood


If it's alive and the grafts take, there is a good chance that the
scions could at least push some adventitious buds from the base of the
existing buds, even if they are dead.  At very least, it's a way to get
some new information.
-Lon Rombough



Last year was a crazy year for me.  I had a big remodel done on my
house.  Everything my family owned was either sent off to storage or
packed into a few small rooms untouched by the remodel.  I had a bundle
of pear scionwood arrive last Spring that went unused.  These were
stored for a time in the frig, but then I lost track of them in the
construction mess.  Somehow they ended up in my shed.  I found them
yesterday while cleaning-up.  Some of the sticks were shriveled up, and
most of the buds look lifeless, but when I cut into some of the wood, I
found green and healthy looking layers. 

My question is would there be any point in trying to propagate this
scionwood if the buds are dead?  It will be at least another year before
I can get some of these varieties again, but without buds on the scions
I don¹t think I will get a head start on just waiting for new wood next
year.  Any thoughts? 

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