Anyone use teflon tape during grafting?

I’ve been reading John Gordon’s book on nut growing and he discusses the use of teflon tape in grafting:

“Bind the graft union: to seal against moisture loss, close openings in the union, convert sunlight to heat (ultraviolet light kills callus tissue), and add strength to the union. Plumber’s Teflon thread sealing tape is in hardware stores, and is great to use. Teflon is inert, seals moisture, and never girdles, so is left on for years to identify unions and grafts. Tension used in wrapping takes a bit of getting used to because too much tension and the Teflon becomes a string, so re-widen the Teflon with a finger tip during wrapping it upward, pulling it to seal the union, and semi-weld to itself with pressure. For a short time Teflon does not stick to itself, but will in a week or two. Inverted saddle walnut and hickory grafts can unwind Teflon so a temporary loop of electrical tape is needed at nibs (3M Blenderm hospital tape is more weatherproof), or masking tape, sticky to sticky, is good for pawpaw. Because callusing bulges inside the V, saddle grafts are forced open by callusing, ejecting the scions if binding is impermanent.”

Any thoughts/experience? I’ve been happy with grafting parafilm, but might try this just to see how it works.

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The teflon tape I use for plumbing is too weak for my grafting needs. I can see it being used to prevent water loss. But something with way more strength is needed to bind the union IMO.

Teflon tape turns to string way too easily, in my opinion. I wouldn’t expect it to be an improvement over parafilm.

To be fair, I don’t expect parafilm to bind the graft either, except perhaps in the occasional chip or bud. I’d rather use a rubber band or the non-adhesive 2155 Scotch brand electrical tape that was discussed earlier. In any event I’ll have parafilm in there somewhere or another to seal in moisture.

I’ve worked with Teflon tape enough to know that for me it would be a poor choice. It’s slippery and doesn’t stick. Two characteristics I don’t want in a grafting tape.

I agree with all of you that it doesn’t seem practical, but John Gordon certainly knew what he was doing.

I agree Amper, anyone who is proficient grafting nuts knows what he/she is doing.

However, on other disadvantage of teflon tape is the expense. They don’t give you very much teflon tape for the money. I’ve been grafting a lot more every year and go through a lot of the Scotch brand electrical tape Mark mentioned. I’d go through quite a bit more teflon.

Well I am the black sheep! I do all my benchgrafts with teflon plumbers tape (300 or more a year) and I like it. I do remove it a couple months after grafting as I have found that it will not break down and can girdle the tree. Use the 3/4" wide stuff or wider if you can find it.


"If it works … " go for it. I’m hardly one to tell you how to do things!

I’ve only ever done bench grafts once- everything else has been “field” grafts, trying to expand my frankentrees. I got comfortable with parafilm and have stuck with it since, but rumor has it that they were doing good grafts long before either parafilm or teflon were around.

Perhaps someone will write a book "100 Ways To Bind a Graft":relaxed:
Here’s another way I read:
“In earlier times, the stock/scion junction was often packed with a ball of wet mud and dung, or wet moss, to prevent desiccation of the cut surfaces. This is still practiced in Madagascar by resource-poor Tanala farmers.”

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Do you ever get the feeling we overthink things?


Hmmm, let me think about that for awhile before I get back to you.


Per sugestions from here, I wrapped my peach grafts in strips of Walmart plastic bags this year and was very happy with the results. I don’t think it is always about the newest product , but about the concept.

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You can drive screws with a table knife, or hammer nails with a can of green beans, but it doesn’t mean I’d recommend it.


I see videos of grafting which show the parafilm pulled tight on the end of the graft with no tie off or tuck. When I do that, I come out to waving parafilm strips blowing in the wind. Could my tape be the problem or is it more likely my technique? The only info I can find out about it is a generic tape sold by Bemis. Can you make a recommendation for parafilm that is easy to work with?

I pull it tight at the end. I do not tuck or knot parafilm. I dig my thumbnail into it to secure.

I use Parafilm M. Far superior to other types.

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Sometimes I have trouble getting Parafilm to stick to itself. I suspect that it’s either too old or too cold, usually too old. But as a rule I can make it stick.

Haven’t tried Parafilm M but it’s well-recommended by some good grafters.

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We have different approaches for grafting depending on type of graft and when/where. We use Parafilm M over the top of our in-field, spring, cleft grafts, once tied in with vinyl grafting tape. We use teflon plumbers tape, simply pulled tight and then dipped in warm wax for our spring bench grafts.


I’m a Parafilm M affectionado…its what I learned to graft with.
Had one or two encounters with the grafting tape formulation…didn’t like it…didn’t stretch or adhere to itself like good ol’ Parafilm M.

I’ve had grafting Parafilm like that too, but my first rolls were great, so I’m predisposed to trust it as a rule. But it’s true that it is not always what it should be - don’t know why.

I don’t do enough grafting to worry about it. Sometimes it takes a few minutes extra fussing to use less-than-perfect tape, but it’s no big deal for me. If I were doing dozens it would be a different story.