Got scionwood, now what?

I was impulsive browsing USDA scion wood list and when i saw apple of my childhood “Korichnoe polosatoe”
I ordered it, thinking it is unlikely I’ll get it anyway. It came in today. The problem is, I do not have any experience with grafting and storing scion wood. I also have just one espaliered apple tree in the ground I planted last spring:
Apple - GoldRush - 1-year Bare-root G.890

I am expecting 4 more bare root apple trees this spring :

Apple - Antonovka Polt - 1-year Bare-root G.16
Apple - Ashmead’s Kernel - 1-year Bare-root G.11
Apple - Golden Russet - 1-year Bare-root G.11
Apple - Yellow Transparent Perrine Giant 1-year Bare-root G.202

I also have some wild crab apple on my neighbor’s land and she doesn’t mind me to use it to graft, but sure I want it better on my land than on hers.

So my first question, how do I store the wood? It is nicely packed in plastic bag. I placed it in the bottom of refrigerator. Is it enough? Should I unpack it and make the breathable wrap instead of plastic? What is ideal temperature?

And second question, what are my options for grafting on trees above? Can you graft on just transplanted tree? Ideally I want half of my Yellow transparent to be “Korichnoe polosatoe”. But if I can’t graft on it this spring, I will have to graft on crab apple I guess…

Still have no idea why I ordered this wood… I feel guilty now.

No need to feel guilty. I think its awesome that you got it.
Scionwood needs to be kept moist, so plastic is good, and cold, but not freezing.
Some rinse it in a weak bleach solution to help prevent the growth of mold, but I have stored uutreated wood for a couple of months with no problems.
You may want to back up the main graft that you want with a couple of others on the crab apples. Try several graft types too. Whip and tongue is good, but a rind or bark graft affords a lot of cambium contact, and cutting a larger limb gives the new graft a lot of energy to grow with.
I volunteer to graft any wood you don’t need, and give it back if you need it later. We are going to have over 1000 rootstocks this year, and one more or less won’t matter.
Good luck with your project!


Put it in a ziplock bag with a small strip of barely moist paper towel. Zip it then put it in another ziplock and keep it in the fridge until your ready to graft. I do graft buds to trees just to ‘save’ them for a better time.


I’m glad you got the scions, Galinas. This will motivate you to learn to graft- and trust me, you can do it.

There are a lot of good ways to store scions and if they wrapped it well when they sent it you may be just fine with it the way it is. But I like to wrap my scion wood in parafilm before storing them, and then wrap them in a barely damp paper towel. I moisten the towel, wring it out, and then wrap the scions in that before putting them in a plastic bag such as a bread bag- one that has no holes in it- and close that up with a twist tie. If the scions are short enough they can go into a ziplock bag. Then keep those in the refrigerator.

And yes, you can graft on to just-transplanted trees.

You might consider practicing on prunings before you start grafting for keeps. Take a few water sprouts after the leaves have started to open on them, and cut them up and put them back together.

I see Joene posting as I write this and I agree with what she has said. And I’d take her up on her offer in a heartbeat, but still, keep at least a little wood for yourself to try. Once you get two or three successes you’ll be a grafter for life! And now there’s Chikn, too- if I take any longer getting this done you won’t need it … :slight_smile:

There are a number of great threads on grafting on this site, and any number of people who would be more than happy to answer questions when you have specifics. Don’t hesitate to ask.

Good luck,



I got 2 sticks about 16’’ each, so I am not sure how many grafts I can make from it, still need to do a lot of reading)

Lots of grafts from that much wood- figure to allow two or three buds per graft, except for budding and chipping, which just need one.

Mark, thanks a lot, yes, I am going to to practice first, actually, I will make my hubby to do it too- I trust his hands much better then my own). And it is a very good news that I can graft on my new tree. Before asking any more questions I need to get basic knowledge, I am not expecting personal grafting course here) But when I’ll have real questions - yes, I will be asking them here. Thanks a lot again!

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Put your new scionwood In the bottom of the fridge in plastic bag. Barely damp piece of paper towel inside. Key word: barely.

Don’t let the towel or any water droplets touch the surface of the wood; this might induce mold.

Around time of budswell and budbreak, do the grafting. Choosing the highest site on the tree is best; that’s where the tree will focus its growth energy.

I recommend simple cleft grafts at the end of upward limbs. Back those up with a chip-bud placed lower down on each upward limb. With apples, you’re bound to get at least one “take” if you try hard.

Our own @applenut Kevin Hauser has posted the best tutorial videos I’ve ever seen… here:

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Actually, I have my first question) Can you recommend a grafting course for “dummy”? I mean the one that starts with terms and gets to techniques…

Matt. thanks, can you repeat the link please? It didn’t appear.

Here are those vids…

… and many more!


Check out Stephan Hayes vids in the UK.


Wow, thanks a lot to you, Matt and especially to @applenut! It is a great, clear instructions video!

Thanks a lot!

Several people have mentioned to put it in a zip lock and I think one other mentioned two bags. I agree with them all. In addition to keeping the wood moist, another reason it is being suggested is because ethylene (given off by ripening fruit) damages scionwood. Given that you are on this forum, I bet you have some fruit in your fridge :slight_smile:

I actually keep a 2nd fridge down in the garage and empty it of fruit and air it out before storing scions in it. That probably sounds a bit over the top, so double bagging the wood may be a good halfway step…

ARS sends so much wood that you should be able to graft a couple new trees, graft the neighbor’s tree and still send some to Jolene. I’m thinking about 10 grafts. More if you are thrifty, but you should allow for some waste the first time.

I’d suggest ordering a roll of parafilm. It can give your success rate a boost, because the wood stays moist for longer on the tree, giving it a longer window to succed. I also like rubber electric tape (3M Temflex 2155 for $2.48 at Home Depot). The electric tape holds the scion in place, supplying structural support, while the parafilm keeps in the water.


You’re getting good guidance, Galinas. I’ll append a few definitions while I wait for supper to come together.

Spring grafting usually refers to the kind of grafting that is done when the tree is in its most active growing phase. Leaves are emerging and the sap is flowing. Typically refers to cleft, whip, whip-and-tongue, rind, and bark grafts, but it is also quite possible and often worthwhile to do budding and chipping in the spring- but those two are also frequently used in summer grafting.

Cleft grafting involves cutting a growing branch straight across, splitting it down the middle lengthwise, inserting one or two carefully shaped scions into the split with careful attention to cambium alignment, and binding it all up snugly.

Whip grafts cut the growing branch and the scion at an angle, and binding the two snuggly - with careful attention to cambium alighnment.

Whip-and-tongue (W&T) are the same, except that additional longitudinal slices into both the growing branch (roootstock) and the scion are made and used to help keep everything together while binding it all up snugly …

I don’t do rind or much bark grafting so I’ll skip over those, but they are also typically spring grafts.

Budding involves slicing a bud from a “budstick” and inserting it under the bark of the rootstock … and binding it all up snugly … (Fruitnnut has a wonderful tutorial available here on that method: Budding is very often done into late summer, but can also be done in the spring using buds from scions like the ones you have now.

Like budding, chipping may be done spring or summer. It’s the easiest of methods: slice a bud out of a scion and slice a similar spot from the destination branch and bind it all up snugly.

There’s more, but there’s some terms to work with. Right now I have to get supper on!

:- )M


Thank you Bob, already ordered the tape. My fridge is spare one, it has no fruit in it, but has root veggies and preserves. I actually do not know if veggies produce ethylene or not, I guess they do at some extent, so will double bag.
Found this link about ethylene contents in fruit and veggies. As I suspected, root veggies like carrots produce some level of ethylene, but very low. But I double bagged anyway.

Thanks again, Mark!

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Storing scionwood like others said above is good advice.

I usualky graft apples in early April. If you want, I can stop by and show you how around that time.

I don’t do whip and tongue. I only do cleft and/or bark grafts. So far, so good for me. Please let me know.