[NAFEX] Any opinions on my grafting problem?

Jwlehman at aol.com Jwlehman at aol.com
Thu May 5 08:41:02 EDT 2005

 A few scions I placed in a glass of water while preparing the rootstock, 
mostly I
just worked quick so the scion wouldn't dry out. I grafted about 10 of each 
fruit type, mostly using a cleft graft, whip-and-tongue on a few.

Dear Friendly27,

Regarding placing them in a glass of water while preparing the understock, I 
believe and always do prepare the understock first. Always! I can't say from 
experience that placing them in water hurts them, but can't see any possibility 
of doing any good except preventing moisture loss which is avoided when 
attaching the scion immediately after preparing. A few years back after someone 
told me of keeping them moist in the mouth in saliva I tried it. Three of three 
persimmon grafts took and grew. Looked like a good idea. Next spring all three 
were dead which is not normally a problem with persimmon. 

On occasions when something goes wrong and I need to rework the understock I 
place the scion in my mouth, suspending it away from saliva with my lips and 
teeth and exhale across the scion. The humidity of my breath should be nearly 
100% preventing moisture loss in the scion wood. 

There are, I find, two graft methods being called cleft graft. One is the old 
method where the understock is split. The other is where the scion below the 
bud is shaved in half, the long half below the bud cut into a V then the 
understock cut off, bark cut into a matching V, brought together and wrapped.  
Although the old cleft graft works, little cambium is brought together between the 
understock and scion causing a high failure rate. The same would be true for 
the modified version. From what people have said over the years of cleft 
failures my recommendation is to use the bark and whip & tongue as you did on a 
few. Prunus doesn't graft as reliably as Malus and Pyrus. You said you used 
mostly cleft and assume that holds true on the peaches you grafted. As peach bark 
splits easily I stay away from using the bark graft on it. If you have access 
to a mechanical "V" bench grafter use it or whip & tongue. 

You did the correct thing by aligning one side where the scion and understock 
didn't match sidewise. But matching all the way around is best.  

Also I like to graft Prunus after growth has begun, after bud swell yet while 
the scions are fully dormant. My limited experience with Prunus has been once 
the scion buds have begun to swell success percentage drops drastically.  
Store Prunus as nearly to 32 F as you can to prevent early bud swell. My scion 
refrigerator is set to it's coldest position. Water will develop ice on the 
bottom. Storing near the freezing point is important to hold Prunus.   

My observations and opinions. Others may not agree fully. 


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