[NAFEX] Splice grafting, knifes & more. (long)

rob hamilton lostman_amiga at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 11 10:15:04 EST 2004

I thought I would add my first real experience to the

First of I am a real novice at this. I did a little
chip budding last year, but I did about 10 chips and
that was it. Most were successful. This year, I spent
the last 2 days grafting.

This is what I grafted:
   Pineapple Guava

   Victorinox single edge grafting knife
   "Buddy tape" parafilm
   Omega automatic grafting tool

I started off with some chip buds on the mulberry. 
The cutting was fairly easy the mulberry wood was
pretty soft and consistent. I am left-handed so the
bevel was not facing the way it was most comfortable
for me. I tried compensating for it and holding the
knife in a different way. Then I tried using my right
hand more. I got the hang of it. I found that if I
hold the knife in the right hand and the wood above
the cut with the left hand, I could gently push the
blade with my left thumb for more control.
It may take a few cuts to make the chip fit right, but
I can make it work and I like it. I had a lot of
mulberry scions and wild rootstocks, so this gave me
plenty of material to try different things.  

I tried a shield bud with a T bark cut. I little more
tedious (my knife didn’t have the little wedge to open
the bark and the knife-edge can shred the material
under the bark while trying to open the wound), but
was fairly easy with the Mulberry.

The whip and tongue graft was a different story.  It’s
hard for me to find a good way hold the rootstock to
get controlled cut. Again, the mulberry was pretty
soft and even grained, so I didn’t have a big problem.

Wrapping the graft was suprizingly tedious. The chips
were easy, just be careful the placement of the chip
doesn’t change. Trying to wrap the scion in the
whip/tongue grafts or any grafts were a problem for
me.  How do you wrap tightly with the parafilm and
keep the scion in place. I need a third hand. I can do
it but it is kind of clumsy. The scion wants to shift
or fall. Then a lot of times you need to add some kind
of support.  I tied some small bamboo next to the
scion for support
Forget these grafting rubbers! I don’t know how people
tuck the last bit under while keeping the rubber
tight. I piece of plastic, twist ties or twine works
better me.

The next wood was citrus. I only did chip bud and one
shield bud.  The straight wood wasn’t hard to deal
with, but if you are trying to bud on Flying Dragon
The thorns will make budding test your dexterity! I
guess I was feeling cocky at that point. 

The Pineapple Guava (Feijoa) was a real challenge. The
scions I had were very thin. Plus the wood is very
hard, the bark flaky and trashy, and the cambium seems
to be very thin.  This is an evergreen, so I don’t
know if this was the proper time to try grafting. On
the main stem the bark seemed to slip in was but it
looked I was forcing it. I could’nt do a shield bud
anyway with such them scions I wasn’t even sure if
there were any buds there. I trying whip graft. This
one was marginal the wood was fibrous in tough, I
couldn’t get nice long slice with any control. I
eventually got something matched. Then I tried a kind
of long veneer graft. After a long while of cleaning
the bark off the scion, and then cleaning then trying
to pry the bark away from the rootstock, I think I got
a good contact. The rest of the scions I decided to
try rooting it.  It was too much trouble  
Lastly, was the loquat.  This is also an evergreen, so
I don’t know if I had the timing right. I had a lot
material of play with. I thought this would be easy.
The wood seems soft it reminded me of a fuzzy fig type
wood on the outside of last years growth. Inside is
different story. The green bark and/or cambium is
thick, but even the young wood inside is surprisingly
tough. I wanted to graft all these scions. I thought
the fuzzy buds would the hard to work with.  The knife
goes through the outer layer like butter, but you
really have to struggle to get through the wood
underneath. That was my problem. The second whip graft
I did, I pulled the knife toward me, it slipped threw
and cut into my knuckle. Luckily, I had a knuckle, or
that blade would have gone deep into my hand.  Still,
a fair amount to blood was leaking. That woke me up. I
decide to slow down and keep asking myself where is my
hand before I make my cut. Also decide to try the
Omega grafting tool.  This worked in some cases. It
gave may hand rest till it stopped bleeding, and cuts
were clean and they seem to match for the most part.
The problem is the rootstock and the scion has to be
in a specific size range, and the softer growth tended
to be crushed rather than cut. The method that worked
best for me seemed to be a saddle graft or a spliced
graft. I had more control of the knife using these

I can’t quite say grafting in fun yet, but the result
(if successful) are rewarding, I do need more
practice.  My favorite by far is the chip budding.
It’s a bit fiddley, but it seems to be safer and I get
lot more out of a little scion. I try whip grafting
again, but I may need to get a Kevlar glove just

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