Frass in pith of scionwood - will it still grow?

In making up some benchgrafts today I noticed that in one of the scions I bought (Harry Masters Jersey) and several that I cut myself (cox orange), there was what appeared to be some kind of brown frass in the center where there would normally be solid wood. Otherwise the scions looked healthy; I assume it’s some kind of worm - is this common? Is the graft likely to take? I pitched the Cox scions because I had plenty without it, but the HMJ I just had the one so I grafted with it.

Here’s what it looked like (scion on the left, interstem on the right):

Thats what my scionwood looked like from one particular area, multiple varieties in that bag. I believe it was not sealed that would explain it trying out from the center. I chose not to graft them for fear of failure.

I agree with @applebacon…seems like that could be a problem.can you cut the scion shorter or does it run through all of the wood?

If the question is will it still grow, I’d say yes. Graft it unless you have something better of the same variety. I’d bet it heals and grows normally.

Definitely graft it.


I’ve noticed the same thing in some sticks of scionwood that I got from CRFG scion exchanges this year. My uneducated guess was that this is what happens when wood is stored too long. @fruitnut and @Barkslip, what’s the cause of this browning of heartwood?

Ok ya’ll know more than me I’m sure of that, all my grafts are 1-3 years old. I threw my frass filled scion wood out, and it looked just like what was pictured above.

Lets say the graft takes in 3-4 years when the tree has more substantial weight wouldn’t the trunk of the tree be weak at the original scion piece portion. I mean if the middle of that section is dead wood it would seem to cause issues down the road correct?

Other then a failed graft possibility that was my reasoning internally for throwing the scion wood out even though I had no other scions of those varieties.

Your words are causing me to second guess myself.

Maybe - I don’t know - too much water during the year/last year’s growing cycle and the pith didn’t chamber. Maybe the last year’s growth didn’t have long enough a season to chamber the tip shoots. Maybe certain cultivars don’t chamber the tip shoots on their first attempt. I don’t have the answer but the rest of the wood is perfectly healthy and I don’t see any reason not to graft anything that looks like that (oaks, peaches, figs, conifers, redbuds, ash, - it doesn’t make any difference.)


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