[NAFEX] graft success notes

tanis cuff tanistanis at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 22 12:32:08 EDT 2011

1-- These notes refer to late spring grafting onto rootstocks in nursery rows.
This year I had more failed grafts and overall less growth than in recent years passed.  The only reason I can figure is that the rootstocks, all in nursery rows last year, didn't get much fertilizer.  Also, altho last summer had adequate rains, the autumn was droughty, and I probably didn't irrigate enough.  I don't fertilize much anyway, so I bet the key issue was the drought autumn.
The other ingredient was a longer than usual winter.  I try to work with hardier rootstocks, but I have to wonder if '10/'11 wasn't a little too much winter.
Some better than expected growth was on a poorly timed (I thought) batch of grafts.  We had some temperatures above 90 degrees soon after some grafting, enought that I didn't see how the callus tissue & further mending could happen.  But that batch grew as well or better than the others.
2-- A couple general notes about rootstocks.
In the past there has been some discussion about whether to cut off all below-graft growth, or to leave branches on to feed the roots until the topwork is doing that job.  After following the latter philosophy for too long, my current 2-cents is for the prior.  The only advantage I can see to leaving below-graft growth is to compare a cultivar's compatability with different rootstocks: there will tend to be more below-graft growth on the less compatible, assuming all else equal.
I'm seeing poor growth in EMLA7-rooted trees when set into a landscape.  They do better under proper orchard management, than in a yard setting where weeds or lawn compete with the EMLA7 roots.
Tanis Cuff
s.WI, z4-5
light soils 

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