Grafting ideas and questions


#1

Experienced grafters:

When grafting apples and pears, do you wax the scions, (either dipping in molten wax or pressing it on), wrap the entirety in parafilm, or only cover the actual union and let the rest go au naturel?

How about for stone fruits?

Talking about same-size grafts (W & T, saddle, etc) as opposed to bark or cleft grafts primarily.

Dax, if you’re around, I know that when you graft things like oaks, you like to dip the entire scion in wax, but is there any benefit to doing that for fruit trees, or is it overkill or possibly detrimental?

I grafted apples many years ago, and I did it with electrical tape on the union and nothing really protecting the scion at all except for that, and they took OK…but not great percentages.


#2

I wrap the whole scion in parafilm before grafting. Dax can speak for himself, but I think he dips in warm wax. If I did more than a few grafts I would dip in wax too.


#3

Do you cover the buds as well or try to leave them exposed?


#4

I cover the buds. When I get scions in the mail or cut locally I wrap them right away head to toe, and twist off the ends of the parafilm. When grafting you just cut through the cover and peel it back enough to make the cuts. When the graft is finished you can wrap the graft itself with fresh parafilm. Since the scion is already wrapped you stop wrapping as soon as the graft itself is wrapped. That runs less risk of dislodging the scion from the graft trying to wrap it.

It’s probably a good idea to not cover the bud with more than a couple of layers of parafilm.

Almost all my grafting is done in the tree so this works for me. For bench grafting you might have other approaches.


#5

Parafilm or wax works the same. I always cover the entire scion and union no matter what. It’s insurance if anything and doesn’t take much time.

Dax


#6

How hot can/should you get the wax? I’m always worried about the heat killing the scion.


#7

160 F is right where you want to be.

I use this:

Fill it almost full but leave 1/2" or 1" and add:

.25 oz paraffin for bench grafting (and you can dip the scion plus the union all at once.)

For waxing scions to take to the field you will use .25 oz paraffin to .1 oz beeswax. Look at your scions and cut them into pieces in advance leaving enough room unwaxed to make your cuts. Then you can just carry your scions around in a cooler with ice in it & a roll of parafilm in your pocket/sleeve/tool belt to cover any parts of the scion + union not covered from your cuts. Don’t forget to put ice in your cooler or you’ll cook your scions.

The dial on this handy deep fryer I put a piece of duct tape over it once I found the exact spot where the temperature is 160-degrees F.

image

You buy a box of paraffin wax at a hardware store or grocery store or the internet. Keep the box sealed and cut it into four(s) and then cut those in half. You end up with (16) pieces of wax. I get beeswax from eBay. A little of beeswax goes a long way due to being dense.

Dax


#8

Dax, what do you use to weigh our 1/4 ounce or 1/10 ounce of paraffin or beeswax? Or do you take a larger piece and cut it into roughly equal sized pieces?

When I did more fly fishing I used a solution of wax in mineral spirits, I think, and dipped the fly into it, and that left it coated. I wonder if something similar would work for scions?


#9

Mark,

Anything I’m not sure about and mineral spirits is that, I wouldn’t substitute for good old water.

Yes I think those 16 pieces from the box of paraffin I may cut in half again. But once I see what 1/4 ounce looks like I eyeball the rest for sure.

I’d surely weigh one of the 16 pieces first. I have a digital scale that’s not very accurate for lightweight stuff but it is accurate for heavy post office packages.

Dax


#10

I have tried most of the different covering and prefer to put parafilm over the whole scion including the connection. W&T, and Cleft.


#11

Why do you add beeswax for field grafting?

Also - do you dip in the cooler immediately to keep them from cooking afterwards?


#12

Would toilet ring wax work? I’m not even sure what kind of wax that actually is.


#13

I think if you had the right coat of wax you’d understand why, Bill. You know I do 25 or 50 scions and then go graft and it took me all of 10-minutes. That recipe and temperature I got from an old timer who told me to ‘dip quick’ and I’d have ‘the greatest wax coverage possible.’ The coat is thin and it lasts, Bill. Temperature and all is dead on.

Bryan, you put your scions in a cooler to carry around the yard. The cooler has nothing to do with waxing. If you’re going to use parafilm you can pre-wrap them if you want and still use a cooler, or, take your scions from either a tree or from having pre-stored them in your refrigerator and off you go to your trees to graft.

Everyone uses toilet ring wax, sure. I think they just roll the scion in it w/o preheating. I could be wrong because I haven’t used it. I like my hands clean all day and so on and so forth. This recipe I now have uses the correct ingredients & that’s all I can comment on.

Dax


#14

I keep a toilet wax ring in my kit and use a stick to daub it on the occasional bare spot or cut end after I graft as necessary. But the stuff is sticky and messy and really hard to get off of your hands, so I try to not need it. If you get it on your hands while you’re grafting it’s going to get all over everything and probably get on the cuts you’re making.


#15

Here’s the exact recipe I was given many years ago. That guy used to cut the top off a plastic milk jug bottle so there was enough room to work. He would heat water above 160 F and pour that in with the piece of wax and wait for it to cool to 160 and then work fast. I modified it for that 1.1 liter deep fryer. This is exactly what he wrote:

"Box of paraffin wax from grocery or hardware store. Cut the box in half. That gives you (8) pieces. Cut those in half. You now have (16) 1 oz pieces.
For 1 gallon:
1 piece (1 oz)
Heat wax + water to 180F and allow to drop to 160F. Once at 160F start dipping quickly if temperature cannot be kept.

Some people use crock pots but I can assure you they do not keep the temperature consistent. Some people use a ladle so they don’t get soil media into their crock pot.

The guy that helped me always grafted with rootstocks in Anderson Band Pots and he cut two pieces of cardboard and put a slit in both and “worked fast” after he had done a flat of grafts and covered the tops of the pots with the cardboard squares.

If he would’ve known about a deep fryer, that would’ve changed his game tremendously.

Dax


#16

Thanks, I always wondered.

Dax


#17

Bryan, the beeswax provides a coat for outdoor conditions that’s necessary because the sun breaks down paraffin too quickly when used alone.

Dax


#18

I used this method a couple of years ago with excellent results. Totally agree it is a fast and easy way to coat several scions. Since then I don’t do as many and in this case I prefer to just wrap as I go. I still have my wax container and I might dip some again this year. It really is a good method especially for larger quantities.


#19

:+1:

That deep fryer there’s no fussing around. It heats up extremely quickly (5 minutes maybe) and off you go. You know the right tool again . . .

Dax


#20

So you’re melting the wax on top of water or directly in the fryer?