2022 Grafting Plan w/ Pictures & Questions

Hi everyone,

I’m a first-year grafter am thinking through my grafting plan for next year. If you have a few moments to review, I would appreciate any feedback. Sorry this is so detailed; I want to try to get it right.

1. BarkGraft Damaged Apple Tree

  • Create clean cut on damaged limb on day of grafting
  • Bark graft 3-4 scions when temperatures are 60s & 70s in spring
    • Leaf size? Pre- or post-flower?
  • Thin to strongest branch 2023?

2. Top or Framework Nectarine

  • Graft when temperatures are 70s & 80s in spring
    • Leaf size? Pre- or post-flower?
  • Several cuts deep in scaffolding to create grafting points
  • Cleft graft 2 scions per branch; whip and tongue if small enough
  • Varieties: Indian Blood, Honey Blaze, Honey Royale, Harko
  • Which varieties to place north vs south, i.e. vigor?

3. Benchgraft Apple Rootstock

  • Ordered Bud118 rootstock; keep dormant until grafting
  • Whip and tongue benchgraft scions while dormant
  • Plant into 1 gallon pots
    • Place in shade or sun to start?
  • What’s a good failure rate to plan for if I want two good trees of each variety?
  • How would bud118 do if I kept some in containers permanently? Is Bud 9 a good alternative?

4. Bud or Side Graft Stone Fruit Rootstock

  • Ordered St. Julian A rootstock
  • Plant into 1 gallon pots and place in sun to establish growth for 3 months
  • Bud or side graft nectarine, peach, pluot in mid- to late-July
    • Based on reading and my limited experience, this seems likely to be more successful than benchgrafting in early spring?
    • Bud or side graft?
  • What’s a good failure rate to plan for if I want two good trees of each variety?
  • How would St. Julian A do if I kept some in containers permanently? What’s a good alternative?

5. Leggy Apple
I’ve got a leggy apple that was planted in poor soil for five years. I moved it last spring to a much better spot. I’m guessing McIntosh based on fruit characteristics.

  • Will it thicken up or will it continue to have an outsized canopy relative to the trunk as it grows?
  • Any thought to cutting it back and regrafting it to itself at the trunk cut?
  • Or cutting it back and waiting for suckering and then grafting other varieties?

I have grafted for 2 season now, and I found it easy to graft apples and pears with a high rate of success. Last year, I order some St. Julian A rootstock and chip budded 8 peaches onto them. I had only 1 take, and it fizzled out 2 months later. St. Julian A rootstock is a very hard wood with a lot of knots in it. One member on this site recommends grafting peaches only on peach rootstock, and he a professional peach tree grower. I found it easier to just buy peach trees. I just order 12 peach tree at 10.10 each plus shipping from Vaugn’s Nursery in Tennessee. They have a nice selection of trees.

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The broken branch you plan to graft on the apple tree will be best addressed with a bark / rind graft. You’ll want to place at least 3 scions on that, more would be better. As the scions grow you’ll select the best one and prune off the others. I’d wait until the next year to begin pruning off extra scions (it’s going to depend on rate of growth). It could take 2-3 years before you select the last remaining one. YouTube will have plenty of tutorials on bark / rind grafting. Ken Coates is interesting as well, “All About Grafting” is his channel on YouTube.


4)if you have scions I would try and graft with good temperatures in the spring then side/chip in summer on ones that don’t take (25percent takes would be considered decent…use parafilm and dont remove early…)
5) I would give a heading cut a few branches up to balance tree/get rid of that lean

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Thanks. I think I got cleft and bark mixed up…meant bark.

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I like your idea on #4. It let’s me have two shots at it…

@Carlin If I have allocated 4 rootstocks for a particular variety but have 2 scions leftover can I save them for the future, either bud grafting in summer or something else? Or do they have to be actively growing for bud grafting?

I guess I could graft them onto a compatible tree temporarily (even if poorly located) for the following year?

I can’t imagine they would last a year in the fridge…

In my experience scions don’t last a whole year in my fridge (I don’t check often/take great care) but 3-6months is easily attainable…so would use up in late summer budding. You can park scion on other compatible tree to be pruned off/reused later but apical dominance still applies (ie higher up tree higher success)

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