First apple grafts

Hello Forum

I have made my first apple grafts this spring early March 2023 and some of them have started leaf out from the scion. I am rubbingthe buds off the rootstock after they start growing.
One of my questions is when to release the tie on the graft joint, so it does not strangle the graft joint allows the graft join to callus and expand?
Concerned its going fall apart as the one in question scion was so thin i just splice grafted, so no tongue, trying work out how attach a photo

thank you

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Welcome Ian to the site
The icon to load a pic is in the lower right just above “Done”
I usually wait until about August to remove grafting tape. But if you used rubber bands you should remove them as soon as the graft is growing not more than 3-4 weeks.
Don’t forget to add bird protection if grafts are exposed to bird landings
Kent wa

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@iain …

I did my first apple grafts last year… the 4 in that pic. I grafted them first of April… and i did not remove the rubber tape or parafilm until August and they turned out fine. All 4 grew to around 4 ft last year.

Some here recommend you take the tape off after you get around one foot of growth… others say June or July… or Fall…

I remember someone told me last year to leave it on unless you see that it is girdling… and I kept checking mine last year and saw no sign of girdling… so I just left it on. Finally took it off in august and mine had healed up nicely.

I think that after you get a foot of growth… would be about as good as any…

Way to go on your first apple graft.

Good luck !


Nice grafting job. Welcome to this site.

Hello iain

congratz on your first grafts!

What did you use to wrap or tie them?

Depending on what you used the awnser to when or if to remove it differs.

Parafilm M for example you don’t need to remove.

PVC tape or vinyl tape you can keep on for ~6-12 months.

Grafting rubbers usualy degrade in sun light and can be left alone to.

Looking from your picture it seems you wrapped the whole graft and scion in saran wrap?

Im not a huge fan of that for grafting. Since it does not breath (doesen’t let trough oxygen)
It is however stretchy. So as long as the leaves/buds can grow freely i would leave it on till the graft is strong enough to not brake during unwrapping. Depending on growth that can take a few months to a year.

If you run into moisture/breathability problems and fungus under the plastic you might have to take action sooner.

but until you run into trouble. The greatest risk of this graft failing imo is trying to remove it to early and braking loose the graft union.

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Hello thank you all for the advice

Probably best to take a avarage of timing when to remove graft binding, very small cable ties about 3 on each graft and lot of them unfortunately just splice graft due q tip type thickness scion.

As i am in a cool humid climate North Wales UK , i placed my grafts in the greenhouse as theres shade at one end greenhouse, even now still for warmth, but also due to the wind we can get in abundance off.
Out of interest I have two on m116 rootstock more ususual rootstock there yet to start growing.
The one i photo is a Laxton Fortune, earlier leafing out than other apple cultivars.

As i knew close contact was very imortant between stock and scion and certain areas of contact cambion and some of the scions were so thin “q tip” thickness,
i only spliced grafted these i think i focused on this contact as very important and the reason they are doing well at present for a first try at grafting

i used very small plastic cable ties on all the graft i was having trouble with twine.
I am now concerened it might not have been a good idea, (well i thought cable ties might not be a good idea from the start) some of the thicker scions are wip and tongune with plastic cable ties. The cable ties make it a lot easier to get tight and aliigned contact.

looking from your picture it seems you wrapped the whole graft and scion in saran wrap?

I used what was called Parafilm, i do not think its genuine Parafilm and covered the whole scion,
I had read on forums the buds will breakthrough the parafilm i was conered this might not happen but theparafilm does not seem to cause a problem for the buds… As i grafted the stock while in a pot rather bench grafting it was fiddly puting the parafilm on, i thought the stock in a pot (like vice third hand) would hold the stock in place while graft, but now think it would been easier bench grafting to wrap parafilm on at least.
**I guess the best idea would to remove the parafilm type tape around the graft joint of the ones that are growing and keep an eye on the cable ties and remove one at time if i think its needed due any possible girdling and try provide support, shade, keep out of the wind and birds etc.

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My “Parafilm” tape was bought on ebay from a Chinese seller and sold as Parafilm bio degradable etc, not sure if its breathable as descr
ebay item 194744443477

I think as i am in a humid climate and keep the grafts in the greenhouse no direct water on the grafts or film, just watered pots regularly may have helped. The “Parafilm” might not have been so good for graft union in the rain outside of the greenhouse i can see a bit condesation under the film.

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Hello Forum
On the grafted apple photograped,
i have now removed both cable ties and wraped a 5mm wide ordanary rubber band around the graft.

I have noticed all the other grafts are sweating slightly under the “Parafilm” at the graft point only i believe.

Your “parafilm” just looks like normal plastic. Parafilm is wax (cloudy) not plastic (clear). The plastic will still keep things from drying out, but it can bake things on a hot day. It sounds like you are not so hot so it might be OK. But I would take it off once the graft gets going.

The cable ties should probably be fine as long as they are removed soon after the graft gets going. They will definitely girdle the plant if kept on too long. Grafting rubbers and parafilm are both designed to expand, that is why people like them.


Which is best for grafting pawpaw in a dry zone 9a environment?
Can pawpaw buds grow through the PVC?

i have no experience grafting pawpaws.

But i would guess parafilm to be better. And don’t know of any plant that will push buds through PVC. so would not advise wrapping the bud with PVC. You can use PVC tape around the bud (leave a small hole) if that’s your only grafting tape.


@iain Welcome to the forum!

I hope you got life from those grafts. Next time you find yourself holding a scion so thin, may I suggest a cleft graft? I once had a Winekist scion the diameter you describe, split the stock in the middle, lined up the cambium layer as best I could & waited. There being so little mass to the scion, it had little strength to put to callusing (healing to the stock). It didn’t die nor push buds for six weeks or so, then grew beautifully.
I applied some grafting wax to cover the bare wood of the stock, wrapped the union with parafilm (as scottfsmith says, cloudy, 1/4 or 1/2 inch wide tape, whichever I had that year) & attached another long twig below & above the graft with rubber bands for support & defense against passing blunders.

I have come to rely on cleft grafting on leftover stocks of failed grafts, the following year. If you write “Colorado Orange” on the space next the magnifying glass at the top right of this page & click Enter, you can find a photo of a cleft graft I made last year. The scion in this case was robust, but done later than is ideal for my part of the world. The stock was about 3 1/2 centimeters across where I sawed it before splitting.

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Might be PVC grafting tape rather than parafilm. It tends to be clear transparent & stronger. Doesn’t breakdown. Therefore has to be manually removed after graft heals.