stubborn1VT

Experiences grafting fruit trees?

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I'm considering buying some root stock and grafting some old apple trees to them.  I experimented with air layering last year, and it was pretty much a bust.  

Any tips or advice?  Anyone use a grafting tool to make the cuts?  Is it too late to collect scion wood? (I don't think so, but what do I know?)  

Anyone have a good source of root stock?  

If anyone has any tales of success/failure I'd like to hear them.  I guess I'm trying to decide if it's worth the time and effort.  Thanks

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Make sure you have a very clean and very sharp knife to make all the grafting cuts. There are a few different ways to make these cuts, so research which one you think will help you out for what your doing. You should still be okay to collect scion wood, but not for too much longer with this warm weather were predicted to have. 

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I'm leaning toward bench grafting.  It isn't supposed to be any warmer than mid 30's here, 20's at night.  I will have to get on it though.  Thanks.

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One thing I forgot to say is you'll want to cover your graft with something to keep out the moister and bacteria from the graft. I use black electrical tape, but some people use sterile medical adhesive tape if they can get they're hands on them. The electrical tape will have to be replaced after a month or two. 

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I personally don't, but I heard some people use a tar like substance. Tape is probably your best bet though. Try to support the branch if you have to, You don't want any weight to stress the graft. 

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Diagonal cut . And grafting wax..( a good nursery should be able to get it for you) just clean slice match up diameters. Work up grafting wax and squeeze around joint so no air pocket remains(about an 1/8 inch thick seems to Work well but can be thicker if using larger diameter stock . If using larger stock you may need to add a support stick and splint the joint.. any suckering below graft should be removed. . Can use the wax for bud method as well but I've had best results from a branch with 3 buds on it about 1/4 to 3/8 In diameter. And cap cut end with grafting wax as well..

Edited by G-Man
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I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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Anybody sell a "Grafting for Dummies" book. I don't even understand the lingo

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This is the method I've had good luck with. Sealing the graft with grafting wax..grafting_7775_lg.thumb.gif.33d5cee52697f4f7d9fecd6448ed4b0a.gif

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I've hunted almost everyday of my life.. the rest have been wasted!

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It's a skill I would like to have, so I will mess around with it this spring.  It will allow me to get clones of some really old trees before they go by the wayside.  It I am successful, then I may grow my own rootstock and then buy a bunch of different scion wood.  I will probably start with 10-12 rootstocks and see if I have any success.  

I will try to remember to post my results later on.

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Thanks for the input everyone.  

I did find a couple places that will custom bench graft apple trees.  You can either send them your desired scion wood, or have them use theirs.  Either way it's about $12, if I remember correctly.  That's pretty cheap, but it still puts you a year behind buying a 4-5' tree that is ready to plant.  

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41 minutes ago, stubborn1VT said:

It's a skill I would like to have, so I will mess around with it this spring.  It will allow me to get clones of some really old trees before they go by the wayside.  It I am successful, then I may grow my own rootstock and then buy a bunch of different scion wood.  I will probably start with 10-12 rootstocks and see if I have any success.  

I will try to remember to post my results later on.

I get that. I'm hoping to cultivate some shitake mushrooms in logs this year but the snow is keeping me out of my property.

Good luck.    

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Some of the most knowledgeable people on this kind of work are at the Cornell Experiment Station in my city of Geneva. Google Cornell University (and maybe agricultural extension programs). They're really good about helping people out, or at least pointing you in the right direction for further information. Best of luck to you.


"It's fun to win elections." -- Bill Whittle

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I watched my grandfather do this all the time with dwarf apple and pear trees. He had up to 5 varieties on a tree. He also used grafting wax but used a   "V" graft. TI think the female V cut was in the host tree and male was on the graft.  He had great success doing it. 

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"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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I will continue to research it.  Not much else to do since we got 14" of new snow here, and 22' of snow at the farm.  I guess I will wait a bit before I head out to do my pruning.  Big snowfalls aren't exactly rare in March, but I was still taken by surprise.  Now I'm starting to feel the cabin fever!

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I just cut back a Macoun apple tree in my yard and was thinking of trying to graft some of the branches to start planting where I hunt. I've never done anything like this and didn't know where to get a good root supply. it' a lot easier to just buy trees when the go on sale locally. 


Hunt when I can.. ;)

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14 hours ago, Culvercreek hunt club said:

I watched my grandfather do this all the time with dwarf apple and pear trees. He had up to 5 varieties on a tree. He also used grafting wax but used a   "V" graft. TI think the female V cut was in the host tree and male was on the graft.  He had great success doing it. 

Same here. Seemed like my grandfather could graft a dandalion. I know he made his own grafting wax out of beeswax. I also remember him saying a clean sharp knife a must.

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24 minutes ago, landtracdeerhunter said:

Same here. Seemed like my grandfather could graft a dandalion. I know he made his own grafting wax out of beeswax. I also remember him saying a clean sharp knife a must.

I know there are a lot of tools out there now to make the perfect cuts but Grandpa always did his by had with just a sharp knife as well. I think he was was some homemade mix with beeswax too. 


"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin

"The trouble with Socialism is, sooner or later you run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

"When you subsidize poverty and failure, you get more of both.." - James Dale Davidson, National Taxpayers Union

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4 hours ago, Culvercreek hunt club said:

I know there are a lot of tools out there now to make the perfect cuts but Grandpa always did his by had with just a sharp knife as well. I think he was was some homemade mix with beeswax too. 

I only wish I was smart enough, at the time to learn from my grandfather. I would love to graft some older apple tree verities onto new stock.

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I ended up grafting some old varieties onto M111 rootstock.  At this point, 50% of my grafts took.  It could be better, but I learned quite a bit. 

The rootstock I ordered was quite a bit smaller than I expected, so I had to collect scion wood a second time.  The day I grafted I ran outside and snipped off a piece of the Honeycrisp I got at Tractor Supply 3 years ago. It took!  The other successful grafts were out of an old tree of unknown variety.  Now I just have to nurse them for a year before I can plant them in the ground.

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If you want fancy ways of grafting they make grafting pliers (linked below).

My plan is to also start to graft our own apple trees once my current ones start to grow a little more. My plan was to use the suckers for root stock from our already established old apple trees and graft the honey crisp to them. If you want you can buy root stock online for pretty cheap. I also think cornell co-op will sell specific rootstock varieties if you call.

https://www.amazon.com/Upslon-Omega-Professional-Grafting-Pliers/dp/B01DIMRY1O

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I know several people at the Cornell AG station, and they're straight up and knowledgeable about what they do. I generally disagree with their politics, but they know their stuff. They're one of the preeminent sources for AG research in the country with regard to fruit trees and such. And they will come right to your house in NYS to show you how to do things the right way. I steer people toward them always.

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"It's fun to win elections." -- Bill Whittle

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8 minutes ago, philoshop said:

I know several people at the Cornell AG station, and they're straight up and knowledgeable about what they do. I generally disagree with their politics, but they know their stuff. They're one of the preeminent sources for AG research in the country with regard to fruit trees and such. And they will come right to your house in NYS to show you how to do things the right way. I steer people toward them always.

I used to work there during summers from 2004-2009 my father is retiring from there in July. I met a lot of great guys and gals. There are some that forgot more than I'll ever know or learn, very knowledgeable people working there. I worked a lot with the fruit guys and maintaining trellis, canopies, fencing, bird netting. I didn't get into the pruning or grafting but a few showed me the ropes when I stopped and asked about it.

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