Back in March and early April I grafted 15 apple scions onto various apple and crab apple trees around the farm here in PA. I used a cutting tool that made a jig saw like cut through both branches so they fit together very good. I wrapped them with the non-adhesive grafting tape nice and tight. Over the weeks that followed I went to check on them and one fell off but the other 14 just slowly dried up with no buds turning to leaves. What did I do wrong? Was it the wrong time of year? My scions came from a variety of sources and the apple trees I grafted too are all very healthy looking now except for the places I grafted on to.
Usually apple scions are easy to take. I grafted my when the understocks leafed out with green tips. Sterilzed the tools with alcohol. Line up the cambium layer straight. Wrapped it tight with parafilm to prevent the scion from drying out. I also wrapped the union tight with black electrical tape. I then rubbed off any new growth below the union so the sap only feeding the graft every 5 days. I liked bark or cleft graft. I hope this will help you with any graft not just apple
What Tony says, with special emphasis on this part:
If this was a pencil sized rootstock and scion you might consider a standard Italian grafting tool https://www.garrettwade.com/professional-italian-grafting-tools-gp.html?SCID=W4011000&mkwid=stufgSQfw&crid=253562544928&mp_kw=&mp_mt=&pdv=m&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiZHf-_z72wIVk4RpCh2LqAPREAQYAiABEgJ5hvD_BwE. If it’s a larger diameter tree this thread will help Top working Pears weather permitting. The cambium layers must match up and whatever your grafting must be compatible with what your grafting it to. Temperatures need to be on the cooler side and consistent. Temperature fluctuation can impact callusing if it’s to hot or to cold. If callusing does not occur the graft does not take. The cambium layer is inside the bark layer which can be seen clearly here in these photos
From this thread Che, mulberry, osage orange, fig grafting. This method is called rind aka bark grafting and you can see the small scion is inserted and directly in contact with the cambium layer.
In addition to @tonyOmahaz5 and Mark mentioned, There are a few things come sto mind. You are in zone 5 and grafted in late March. That’s a bit early but may not be too early.
One of the grafts fell off. That did not go well with your statement that you wrapped all grafts tightly.
In addition to cover the graft union area, did you use wax or anything to cover the tip of scionwood to prevent drying out?
Can you post pics. Seeing it may give us better idea why it did not work.
I did the very same thing as Jim Brown, except in early May, with the same results. Not one apple graft took. Next spring I will try again, but wrap the entire scion, not just where it joins. I thought it would need oxygen, and the video I watched showed doing it just like I did it. The video made no mention of wrapping the entire scion or wrapping or waxing the tip. Out of about 22 grafts of apple, apricot and plum, only one plum scion took.
I am going to try grafting a apple tree scions this year and hope that all goes well. Wish me luck! What all tools do you guys and gals recommend to have for all of this? I have several orcharding tools (and some grafting tools) but I want to make sure I have everything I need when the time is right. Also do you all recommend using pots for the process in case I do this to early and we have a late frost in my area so I can bring them inside the garage if need be? Potting soil I guess? Thanks for any and all input
@Poncho65. My go to tools are a box cutter knife, electrical tape, and parafilm. These three items are all I use for about 99% of my grafts (cleft and whip). Starting out I would suggest going with the cleft graft for simplicity and great results.
@Auburn advice is good. I doubt if a late frost will damage an apple graft. Just type “grafting” or “grafting tool” in the search box and you will find many messages on your topic as grafting has been discussed many times in the last few years.
Thanks for the replies. I have read quite a bit but was also wanting to hear some thoughts on the potting soil idea. I have read some about that as well and it seems like the right way to go but opinions and answers are what keeps a forum going thanks all!