[NAFEX] grafting wax

Karen Tillou arboretum at homeorchardsociety.org
Sun Feb 10 13:13:01 EST 2008

ummm, confession time: i know my reaction to a tree kote /tar product  
is mostly a gut feeling i have about tar and trees.  it's maybe a  
little more than rural myth, but it sure doesn't have a sciencey or  
1st hand experience reasoning to back it up.  i just don't like tar.   
i like beeswax and linseed oil instead.  it's a little fussier, but i  
get good results.

as for lucky's point about parafilm, "No muss, no fuss, no need for  
coating your hands with
oil(what would that do to impede callusing?), no need for any sort of  
heater or messy brush."
the oil on the hands when you are using trowbridge's wax is this: if  
you are heating the wax by using your body heat to get it pliable  
enough to apply to the grafts, oiling your hands will prevent that  
lump of beeswax/rosin/linseed oil product from sticking to your skin,  
an otherwise very unpleasant product to remove.
i've never used parafilm for grafting this time of year - in the NW  
it seems to really help to seal all the wounded surfaces of a new  
graft with something that really keeps the rain out and the tree/ 
scion's moisture in. would parafilm really cover well enough on a  
cleft graft or topworked tree, or does it only work on whip and  
tongue style unions (smooth ones with out weird lumps...)?
getting ready for grafting season,

karen tillou
oregon city, OR - zone 8a and wet

On Feb 10, 2008, at 5:10 AM, David.Maxwell at dal.ca wrote:

> On 9 Feb 2008 at 18:00, Karen Tillou wrote:
>> i love trowbridge's grafting wax - you can melt it in your hands  
>> (but coat your hands with oil first
>> so it doesn't stick or you'll curse yourself) or stick it in a can  
>> and use a torch or campstove to
>> heat it up to brushable consistency (my favorite way).  it smells  
>> great, seals well, and doesn't
>> crack.  isn't tree kote a petroleum based tar?  if it is, i'd  
>> steer clear.<SNIP>
> I am curious as to what your objection to tars is.  I have used  
> black roofing goo for
> years, (cheap, easily found, easy to use), and never experienced  
> any adverse
> effects.  We use peroleum-based products quite happily in the form  
> of dormant oils;
> tars are just longer chain hydrocarbons than oils, but basically no  
> more nor less
> "toxic", and the quanties used in grafting are markedly less than  
> you would use in
> spraying dormant oil.  (In fairness, I have encountered this  
> concern about tars many
> times before.  I just wonder whether there is any evidence behind  
> it, or whether it is
> a "rural myth".)
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