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#26557 - 03/07/19 05:31 AM Grafting apple trees, 2019
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV
We've talked about apple trees before, I've got a little project going on now. About 3 weeks ago I ordered 50 apple rootstock, hopefully I'll get the rootstock this week, so I can get started grafting.

Below are some apple twigs, those are Red Delicious. You'll notice how I have them wrapped up, just a damp paper towel around the base of the stem, in a plastic bag. I'll keep them in the fridge, in the dark until I do the graft.



Years ago my Granddad (Mom's dad) showed me how he grafted fruit trees. Things have changed a lot since, grafting is much easier today.

In recent years, another man (John) showed me how to graft. Basically, I'm going to show you John's method, I do it just a little bit differently, I feel that I get a better wood-to-wood splice.

But the first thing you'll need are some good apple twigs, similar to the ones pictured above. For grafting in the spring, it's best if you collect the twigs while the tree is dormant. In this area, you could start getting your grafting wood in November or December.

The first year that I grafted, I'd label my twigs, and stored them in a 2-liter pop bottle, in the back of the fridge. With just a dab of water, maybe 3 spoon fulls. Just enough to keep them from drying out, and keep the lid on tight.

One reason that I started the thread now, it's not too late to get twigs before they "bud out", and you can still buy rootstock. I ordered my rootstock from a place in Maine. After shipping, the 50 pieces of rootstock were $105. So, $2 per tree.

I have grafting wood from 6 different varieties of apple trees. I've got my paper tape, Parafilm grafting tape, the razor blade cutter and tree seal goop. I'm just waiting on the rootstock.

I'll get us some closeup pictures when I start grafting.







Edited by redsnow (03/07/19 04:03 PM)
Edit Reason: Added.

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#26560 - 03/08/19 09:31 AM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
Hal Offline
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Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 9987
Loc: Blue Creek, Ohio, USA
I'm interested.
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Endeavor to persevere.

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#26561 - 03/08/19 12:54 PM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV













Edited by redsnow (03/08/19 08:42 PM)

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#26563 - 03/09/19 12:18 PM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV






The apple tree above was grafted by my Granddad, I have no idea what year. But it was grafted about even with the blue marks. Not sure what variety of apple it is, but he took the time to graft it, so it must be ok. Hard to tell in that picture, but the tree would be 26 or 28 inches across the stump. It's been there a long time!



I watched a video the other day, a man had grafted an apple twig to a pear tree. Some trees are compatible and some are not. This tree above is the pear tree up at the King's place, it's about dead, nothing but a shell. I took a sprout off of it the other day, I'm going to try it on an apple rootstock. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Only 1 way to find out.



Edited by redsnow (03/09/19 09:57 PM)

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#26564 - 03/09/19 07:55 PM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
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Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV
Well, I'll try to explain what I've got going on in the pictures above.

Go up to the picture with the box of Parafilm. That's a spool of "paper tape" on the left, and a spool of Parafilm grafting tape on the right.

Parafilm tape has a waxy texture. It will stretch, just a guess at least 2:1. Maybe 3:1. And it is waterproof.

Notice the angle of the knife blade laying across the 2 twigs. That's not the knife I'll use to cut the twigs, just for the picture.

What I want to do is find the spot where both twigs are very close to the same diameter. Line them up and cut both pieces at the same time, same angle.

I tried using a "utility knife" blade, it's thick, hard to get a smooth cut. Honestly, I thought that those blades would work better than a regular "single edge" razor blade. But they don't.

Look at the picture above, with the razor blades and stuff, on the cutting board. What I'm going to use is a single-edge razor blade in that glass scraper thing. The little tool that you'd use to scrape paint and decals off of glass.

It worked pretty good last time using a smooth pine board, to cut on. This should be common sense, but those things are sharp, so keep your fingers out of the way! And I will break a blade now and then. Keep everything important in the clear.

I'll sit down at the bench with a good light, line up the 2 twigs (the rootstock and the grafting twig) and start the cut. Hard to explain, but you can sort of roll the cutter toward one twig (where it's getting more pressure) and then roll toward the other twig, until they both snap off clean.

Line up your splice, with as much twig to rootstock contact as possible, and tape them together, with the paper tape. You'll only need 2 inches of paper tape, or so? It stretches too, and it'll really snug them together. Once that's done, I'll wrap the splice with the Parafilm tape. I always start holding the rootstock in one hand, starting the Parafilm below the paper tape, and wrap it up above the paper tape and break it off. The graft should be solid and waterproof.

If you look at the one picture above, the final picture of the graft. The end of the twig needs to be dipped and sealed. And it's finished.

There are all kinds of dips and sealers on the market. What I'll use is that "pruning seal", I'll spray a dab in a bottle cap and dip the top end of my graft.

If you're grafting more than one variety of apple, you'll want to mark them. With a black marker you can write something on the rootstock, like: 5. On the notepad, #5 is a red delicious, etc. Very easy to get them mixed up.

Once all of the little trees are grafted, labeled, I'll wrap the roots in damp moss, in a plastic bag and store them where it's cool and dark and let them heal, until it's time to plant them. Someplace where it's above freezing, where they won't be bumped into or moved. Here at my house, that's the closet in the other room. Around here, we figure April 15th and we're pretty much past freezing weather.

I'm sure all of that is plain as mud. As long as no one cuts the hell out of their self, we'll be ok. Be careful.

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#26568 - 03/10/19 12:00 PM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV
Here's an interesting link.

https://extension.unh.edu/resources/files/Resource003733_Rep5323.pdf

There is a spot on the mountain where sphagnum moss grows, we call it the Pond Meadow, just a little spring seep. The only place I've ever found it growing, but it'll hold something like 50 times it's weight in water.



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#26574 - 03/13/19 12:30 PM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV
Well, I got my rootstock today, only had time to graft 1. The rootstock is bigger in diameter than what I expected, but I think I'll have enough grafting wood to make them work.

Here's a picture of the bundle of roots. Supposed to be 50 in the bundle, look at those tiny little hair roots, but they should grow.





Didn't have much time to spare today. Once I get started, I'll spread out a layer of moss, and lay each piece of rootstock on the moss, trying to keep them separated with the moss. And then bundle them up 8 or 10 in a bag, and set them in the closet where it's cool and dark.

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#26577 - 03/15/19 07:17 AM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV


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#26578 - 03/15/19 12:10 PM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
redsnow Online   content
Moderator

Registered: 06/11/06
Posts: 2164
Loc: WV

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#26579 - 03/15/19 01:26 PM Re: Grafting apple trees, 2019 [Re: redsnow]
FLSH ETR Offline
Member

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 1001
Loc: Cudahy, Wisconsin,USA
I'm confused. You're grafting 'red delicious' apple twigs onto 'apple rootstock'. What would you get growing if you just planted the rootstock without the grafting? Why not just plant what you want to grow? Are you trying to grow a tree that has more than one kind of fruit on it? i.e. apple and pears, oranges and plums, etc? Or two different apples, like Delicious and Grannies, Honey Crisp and Macintosh?? Please straighten me out.

Frank.
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