Saturday, March 01, 2014

Grafting Apple and Lilacs. 3.1.14

Grafting supplies, rootstock, and scion wood.
 Today I did some more grafting.

First, I identified a sucker growing from below the graft of a dwarf apple tree.  The tree is a nonpatented Jonagold.  The rootstock is nonlabeled.

I carefully removed soil between the sucker and the original tree.  Then I used pruning shears to cut through the sucker base between the stem and the tree, close to the tree.

This rootstock was the result.  The original stem was about 3 feet.  I pruned it back to about 1 foot before cutting for the whip and tongue graft.

This method is much easier for me now.  It just took practice, a very sharp knife, and learning how to brace myself and cut carefully and mindfully to avoid slips and lacerations.


Whip and Tongue Graft.
 This side looks good.  The other side was not as good.  I've done a number of grafts where only one side matched up, and they worked fine.

I make sure to place the prepared scion in water until I've cut the rootstock.  I also get that wet.  My thought is it will slide together better with water as lubricant, and there won't be dry surfaces that might impede joining together.

There was a 2nd stem, a little branch.  I cut that off.   That wound is also covered to avoid dehydration, until healing begins.

Wrapped with polyethylene tape.  The wrap goes from bottom to top with generous overlap each wrap around.  That way rain water drains outside instead of trailing into the wrapping.

I did not cut the top off this time.  I don't know if lower buds are viable.  That might result in the graft not taking. 

Graft wrapped in polyethylene tape.
 The 2nd to last photo shows the well-rooted rootstock.  The cut is large.  I don't think that will matter.  It should heal over.

I potted the new little tree in potting soil, in a one gallon pot.  I plan to return it home, and keep on the deck with TLC care for the first year.

I also grafted lilacs.  At the battleground place is a large, very old lilac bush with many suckers.  I expect the suckers have viable roots.  Instead of removing them from the mother bush, I grafted with them in place.  If they take, I can dig them out in the fall.

Scion wood was obtained from 2 non-suckering varieties at the Vancouver house.  They are un-named varieties.  If the grafts take, there are some choices about what I do with the result.  I could keep them as single-stem tree-like shrubs.   I could plant deeply, so that the scion will form its own roots, then later cut off the original rootstock.
Rootstock with roots.

Completed graft.
I could consider these a multi-year project.  The first year, allow 2 stems to grow from scion.  The 2nd year, graft again, leaving one or two nodes to grow out below the 2nd level of scion.  At that point, it could be a 3-variety shrub.  Repeating a 3rd year, could make for a multi-variety shrub with 6 or more varieties.  Sort of a bouquet tree.  That will be interesting.  The first step is see if the first grafts take.

The lilacs clearly have viable buds low on the scion, so I did cut them back to one node, containing 2 buds.  Then sealed the cut tips with tree-kote.


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