FarmGirl's grafts

I attempted my first grafts using the Fieldcraft Topgrafter today. I think it went well. :slight_smile: I hope to document all of my grafting adventures here in this thread. :slight_smile: Pictures: 1. Akane 2. Enterprise 3. New Zealand Black The apples are on a unknown standard root stock (they were rescued suckers). The New Zealand Black in on an unknown peach. I think it was from some seeds that I had thrown out in the nursery 4 or 5 years ago. There are two peaches and a petite plum that occupy the same space. Anyway, here are the pictures. :slight_smile:


Good luck with the grafting! I hope that they all take :+1:


Congrats. Happy grafting with your new toy!

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Most of my grafts appear to be taking. :slight_smile: The only one that looks like it’s not going to take is the New Zealand Black peach. It seemed to be doing fine until we had a freeze a couple of days ago. I don’t think it’s going to make it. I don’t have a photo of that one.

One of the apple grafts

One of 30 Asian Pears planted out in it’s permanent spot. I took the tree guard off to get this photo.

Another one of the Asian Pears.


They are looking great :+1:


Just make sure you rub off those new growths below the union so your graft can grow fast without competition.


Thanks for the reminder!

So, 15 month later, how are they doing?

They have only been in since this spring (2020)… but I do have an update and it’s not good. Most of my grafts did not take. We had a dry summer and I was extremely busy (which is why I was not able to visit one of my favorite sites :frowning: ) and I just didn’t have time to water or look after them much. A few did seem to take which I am thankful for! I think for this coming season, I think I am going to put most of my grafts in ground close to my house so that I can easily water them if need be. :slight_smile:


@FarmGirl-Z6A, Im sad to say that very few of mine took as well. I took a lot of notes and saw that one persons scions all took, and others none. It makes me wonder if the dryness/quality of the scions are more important than my technique. It was pretty much not good across the board. Im thinking that I focus too much on quantity and variety, and not enough on my quality of grafts. I did take notice of how they compared regarding type of graft and how much wrapping I did. For the most part, scions that were wrapped all the way to the end did best, and those just around the junction not as well. I noticed that because I wrapped them every which a way, it was difficult to figure how to remove the parafilm without pulling the graft too much. I need to be more consistent, and my wrapping ends so tightly is making it hard to check them and remove.

There was no concensus on which grafts did the best. Some were exceedingly mismatched, and did great. Some even had some wierd spacing in the graft area, but still seemed to heal. I left some on which did not produce any new growth, but still seemed as though they had some good connection after the parafilm was removed. I listed them as ??? in my notes. Appreciate any ideas on how to improve technique.


Grafting can be hit or miss. There are bunch of things that can go wrong. My first year grafting on apples I got a 90% success rate. The next year after doing a great deal of research on grafting and some more practice on extra pieces of green wood my take rate dropped to about 30% and ultimately most of the trees grew slowly and died. My technique was better but so was my failure rate.

Why the big difference? Well, first year was done with high quality 1/4" scionwood and the weather was good. The second year the scionwood was purchased rather than local freebies and much smaller, lower quality 1/8" stuff. The weather was bad with very late unexpected snow. I also callused the grafts for too long in my basement. It’s also possible the rootstock quality was lower since in some cases the rootstock died.

I would just keep working at it and do as many grafts as you can. It’s a skill that takes practice. Seal the graft and scion well. There will be failures but just accept it and keep grafting. :slight_smile:


Regina, I’ve had anywhere from about 67% to about 93% success…and it seems not to matter that greatly which method.

You want the cambium layer under the outer bark of the rootstock and scion to match as nicely as possible, but some of the shoddy ones seem to live also.
You want to keep air and water away from the connection area, no matter if it’s whip&tongue, cleft, or some other method of grafting.
You want scionwood that is fairly fresh…not some collected 4 months earlier (although old wood still works in many cases)
You want to wax or otherwise coat the top end of the scionwood (unless it is a growing tip that never was cut on that end.
You don’t want to use petroleum (such as petroleum jelly), but beeswax or any commercial grafting wax should work. The plastic you wrap the graft in isn’t important…a 1/2 inch by 8 inch strip cut from a plastic bag of most any sort will do if you don’t have professional grafting tape…and the old way was rubber bands, but I never did well with those.

And…the best way to remove the grafting tape…3 to 9 months later…is a razor blade or box cutter. Slice down one side all the way to the bark (even if you slice into the bark a little, no worries, it will heal even faster than your graft took).

Also, I have found little difference in bench grafting apples in 30 degree weather and potting them up immediately outdoors in such weather and putting my new bench grafts in the closet for a few days for them to ‘callous’…

And so long as the scionwood is alive and viable…it being a good deal smaller than the rootstock has not greatly increased failure rates…but I do try to match when I can.

If I have a 5/8 inch rootstock and two pieces of scion less than 1/8 inch…then a cleft graft with two of the little buggers, one on either side of the cleft, does get a noticably better result than one little guy way off on the side of a big rootstock. (You can snip the weaker of the two in a couple years so you have a central leader.)

Hope that helps…sorry it wasn’t so good for you last time, maybe next time will be much better.

ps. If your rootstocks are alive, graft to them again in 2021; the odds might go up even.


Yes, I had planned to re-graft any live root stocks. Has anyone used scion wood from Fruitwood Nursery? That’s where I got my scion wood from. If you did, did you have any issues with your grafts taking? Obviously, I’m not saying right off the bat that it is their fault that my grafts didn’t take, I’ve already said that I wasn’t able to care for them like I wanted to, I just wanted to know what others thought about their scion wood. I was thinking of placing an order with them again in late winter, but maybe I should try another resource… free local sounds best, but I don’t know if I will be able to find it. Who do you all like to buy scion wood from?

A few suggestions…
Looks like your scions are rather long.
Try using shorter ones, with just 2 buds.
Also , wrap the entire scion and union with para film.
This will help to keep them from drying out.
A rubber band securely wrapped around the union may also help…
As for Scion wood , Putting out a request on the site for the varieties you want would be a good source.Fresh properly stored wood is important. Since you’re using that tool, you may want to request a certain diameter so they match.
My first year grafting was disappointing. But I had a few that took. Grafting is a art and science. If you had any take the first year that should be encouraging that you can do it.
Best of luck!


I had pretty bad success rate with scionwood from Fruitwood Nursery, much lower than usual.

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Haven’t tried them.
My worst luck came from things I cut myself in December for grafting in March.

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There’s no reason to ever try to remove Parafilm from a graft. All you’ll accomplish by attempting to do so is risk dislodging the graft. It will photodegrade and ‘disappear’ over a period of time. Certainly less noticeable than the Doc Farwell type sealants.

Parafilm (at least the ‘M’ type, which I’ve used for 25 yrs) has virtually no structural strength, and poses no danger of girdling; it’s only for sealing/moisture retention… You HAVE to use some sort of ‘binding’ - whether it be a grafting/budding rubber, Buddy Tape, or even just plain old masking tape (which is probably sufficient for apples/pears).
But… for rubbers, or synthetic grafting tapes, you may need to come back and slit them later in the season, after the graft calluses in - but I usually just slit and let them fall off on their own, rather than risking dislodging a freshly-callused graft by trying to remove them.


Good advice. I had the bark come off with the tape a time or two. Still, the tree in question lived.

I got my grafting tape from A.M.Leonard company…but as I mentioned, I’ve also sliced long narrow pieces of plastic from everything from sandwich bags to a topsoil or potting soil bag.
To my thinking, this pulled tight as I can and tied off holds the new graft in place, and then wax seals out air and water. And a little wax on the tip of a cut scion keeps the wood from dessication. (Some of these plastic wrapping items will girdle the new tree if not removed if there is rapid growth of the new graft…hence a slice to cut through the layers of tape is needful sometime between mid summer and definitely before the next growing season.)

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Thanks, @Lucky_P. I did remove some because it seemed like it was too damp, turning yellow/white at the interface. I just used Parafilm and no other binding. No wonder I had issues. I need to learn more before trying it again.

There’s several grafting videos on YouTube…

(and if you don’t want Google or msn remembering where you searched, use STARTPAGE.COM or something)