I have a favorite peach that I want to keep by either grafting to a new rootstock or bark grafting to an existing peach tree. When is the best time. Here in Chicago. What has worked best for northern gardeners?
I successfully grafted peaches the last two springs here in south west mo. I don’t think it is a time of year so much as the correct temperature. When my peaches leaf out I think it is too cool to graft them. I waited for a forecast with highs on the upper 70s for several days before I grafted. It can be to hot also. I think I burned up a couple of grafts last spring because it got hotter than predicted.
I am in zone 6, New England. If I were you, I would collect scionwood around now (hopefully, you don’t get the heat wave to wake up your peach tree). Wrap scions in a only slightly damp paper towel in a sealed plastic bag and in a fridge.
To me, consistent heat during grafting time is very important for peach grafts to take. I’ll wait until the temp is at least in mid 70’s for several few days (3-4 day) on the day of grafting and days after. This means, I graft peaches and nectarines several weeks after apples, pears, cherries and plums. I’ve worked for me.
So if the temps stay in 70’s for few days (which could very well happen in March) can we graft even if the temps go down to 40’s for highs and 20’s for low again? Just find a window of warm weather and graft even if it goes back to normal spring weather again?
More experienced grafter can chime in. If I know temp will go down below freezing for days or weeks like in March or even early April, I personally won’t do it.
@scottfsmith, I think graft peaches with temp in the 80’s.
It was a cool spring here last year but I grafted more like in early to mid May. Would your peach trees have leaves in March?
I may have peach leaves end of March. But I see both your points about waiting until it’s truly spring.