Emergency Scion Collection Prep

The tl;dr of this story is that I’ve had to collect scions from trees – which I’ve done and have stored with damp paper towel in sealed plastic bags in the fridge. What I’ve since learned is that many grafting sources recommend a diluted bleach 2-4% solution treatment before bagging. I did not do this.

My question is should I remove the scions from the storage and do the bleach solution now, wait until I’m ready to graft, or just ignore it altogether?

As for the gory details and reasons behind this questions: the neighbourhood bunny has visited 15 of my young apple trees and completely stripped the bark. I did have the trees fenced off but we had an unusual late big dump of snow which made it possible for the bunnies to hop the fence. I’m saddened and have learned my lesson the hard way. At least I’m going to finally have to development my grafting skills; something I’ve been wanting to do for some time.


I’ve had some issues with mold on wet paper towels so that would be my concern. You can just flick a little water in with them. Very little. If the scionwood is long enough and well sealed, they should be fine. I usually don’t disinfect for storage.


Most of the time they’ll be good for a couple months just as described by putting them in a sealed freezer bag and a little moisture. Longer term, mold and other issues might affect some of them negatively, but in a month or so the percent of loss is going to be slim, for all causes if kept cool.

Yes, there is some chance of spreading a fungal disease by not disinfecting scions.
But, most fungus is air borne for starters, so if you have an older orchard there is probably no additional fungus on scions than already exists in your orchard.


Personally, I would do the diluted bleach treatment and store the scions again, but this time without the moist paper towels.

Here is a good post on scion storage prep:


Thank you for all the advice. First thing I did after reading was remove the paper towel from the bags. I’m going to monitor the sticks regularly and make certain they do not dry out.

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When my scions appear dry I soak them in cold water over night just before grafting. That seems to refresh them
Kent, wa


Printed newsprint paper doesn’t degrade quickly. Presumably this is because the soy-based ink used nowadays is anti-fungal, so you could use damp strips of that. Of course there are always water beads…


Quick update. I made 20+ grafts in early May:

  • 15 to existing cordon trunks
  • 6 to newly purchase M26 rootstock

All but 3 grafts took. Not bad for a first time… I’m super happy!

The only thing that was unexpected was that several of the grafts have flowered. I’m following the advice from the forum and snipping them off as they develop:

This forum is the best.