Grafting aftercare

I cut a large plum tree down this spring and did some bark grafts on it and I’m wondering now that I have some growth on them and they appear to be growing should I give the tree a boost with some N or do you think the trees large established roots are probably pulling enough from the soil? They have been growing for 2.5 weeks so I figured they have taken by now. Any other aftercare I should be doing? Thanks fruit peeps!


Lots of my trees are recently multi-budded and in similar circumstances.

I am finding that they are responding well to simple Miraclegrow 20-10-20. I use just a thimbleful of the blue crystals per gallon of water. Shake the jug and mix thoroughly, and pour it around the base of the trunk. I apply this only once every few weeks, or right after I clip above newly-taken grafts to help “force” them further along. I will stop applying inputs in late August to give the trees plenty of time to calm down and “harden off” for winter.

I don’t dare give them more than this. I don’t want them to get “burned” by too much fertilizer.

Yeah I was worried I might over do it and make them grow too much before they were firmly attached or something.

I leave the grafting tape on for a long time. Sometimes I snip it off, then re-apply a new batch of tape, wrapping it a little less tight.

When you finally achieve vigorous growth in a graft, then it no longer needs tape for keeping the moisture in.

More complicated is determining when to no longer keep a graft taped or splinted merely for structural support. This is more of an art. I baby my grafts until they seem really strongly connected.

Thanks that actually helps a lot. I was pretty worried about knocking one off once they are cut free in a few months. Once they get going I will try your snip and retape method.

Nothing worse than waving your elbows around and knocking out a nice graft from a rare scion.

I do not know you have the problem I have. 2 of my nicely growing peach grafts wilted overnight. One definitely OFM bored into a shoot tip. I caught that and saved the graft.

The other I cannot figure out. Probably losing that graft to bugs.

Care to explain a bit more about this? My grafts are growing well but I’m afraid to touch them. Lol

Cutting off the growth above provides the bud apical dominance and focuses more of the tree’s energy into growing it.

I’m thinking of doing this very thing. No real need now for the current tightly wrapped tape as it is calloused and mostly closed up. I wonder if the tight tape might restrict water delivery a bit.

Tape can eventually choke and girdle the graft, but it has to get real far gone before that will happen.

exactly. Grafting is as delicate as when setting fresh concrete.
You could whip wet cement as much as you like, just as you’re safe re-adjusting your graft the first few minutes while approximating them. But once you’ve finalized setting them, there is this very delicate interval when you shouldn’t be disturbing until the graft(or the cement), has completely fused.

only difference is that the delicate interval for setting grafts is way longer than for setting concrete.

This one had already took and was looking so good, trying to protect it from deer and elbowed it off.


I like your cement analogy!!! I think aftercare is more important the the initial graft. Winds, birds,Heat, shoots below the union, and elbow can ruin a healthy growing graft.



My thought exactly. It seems it’s easier to get a graft to take than to survive after that.

Here in southeastern NY it is often important to protect grafts from leaf hoppers and possibly aphids. Grafts tend to be a magnet for sucking insects because they are tender after the rest of the tree may have hardened off. I’ve had these pests suck the life out of many apparently established grafts, but it is entirely a site by site issue.

If you flick the tip of growing grafts any existing leaf hoppers will spring off of them and you will know there is a problem.

Triazicide is probably the best material for most homeowners to use for control. Surround might work as well.

i second that, Tony!
and especially where am at, mojave desert gusts often visit during spring. Since summers here are too hot and lacking in humidity–one could only graft during spring…
only preventive measure one could do here is to use the shortest of budwood, to minimize the effects of leverages coming from all directions, when the trees get whipped all over by the howling winds.