The bark is slipping now. At least in my yard, my area.
Time to do some T-budding. I want to top work a 5-year-old Almaden Duke cherry with Ranier, Stella, and Lapin sweet cherries. I also want to add a couple more varieties to an already multi-grafted plum.
Last year’s plum T-buds did great. Some grew about 2 feet last Summer. Others stayed dormant, but really took off and grew this Spring, again about 2 feet Only one sweet cherry, of about 10, took. None of my sour cherries took. I might have grafted the cherries too late - mid July, while I did the plums in late May / early June. It is also possible, cherries need tighter wrap compared to plums. Most of my cherry grafts seemed to make callous that pushed the graft off of the stem and out of the T…
Here is how the buds look when I cut them. Some grafters do not peel the graft off of the wood. I am more of a novice, so I like to have the entire cambium layer in contact with the stock. It’s easy to peel the bud right off the budwood. I do that rather than cutting the bud before peeling.
Here is how I like to make the bud shield.
After that, I do the classic T-budding technique as found in grafting books.
Here is how they look when budded and wrapped. This winter when I whip-tongue grafted, I overwrapped polyethylene tape with parafilm. That worked so well, I did that with the plum T-buds. The polyethylene is easier for me to stretch and wrap tightly the first time around. I wrap twice, then wrap with Parafilm. The Parafilm seems to make it more firm, but without girdling. In fact, I have had buds grow through both layers.
I wanted the cherry T-buds to be tighter this time. So I wound nylon twine around the wrapped grafts. So those are, first wrapped with polyethylene, then with parafilm, then with twine. The purpose of the twine is to prevent expanding callous from pushing the bud out of the T-cut. I don’t know if that will work. I will need to keep an eye on them to avoid girdling. Most of the vertical portion of the T-cut is wound tightly, with a looser loop at the bud, then a couple more times around the graft at the top.
Some advantages of T-budding
It can be done over a couple of months’ time during growing season. If you have a budwood source, it’s fun to get them started now.
Some trees seem to take easier from budding, than from larger scion. I am not expert, but I think that is true for cherries.
Some people think t-budding is faster and easier. For me, whip-and-tongue is easier. I’m quite slow at cutting the buds and stock and putting them together. Then again, I’m not a commercial nurseryman, so speed isn’t too important.
If you missed grafting season, T-budding gives another chance to try in the same year.
The soft new growth is much easier to cut, compared to mature scion and stock. It might be safer.
I think buds are less likely to be broken off by birds, compared to sticks of scion.
Not everything can be budded.
For some, there might not be as much free time during budding season.
Many buds stay dormant until next Spring. That’s a long wait to see if they take.
Everyone has their own favorite thing. Some people don’t like budding. To each their own.