Grafting Report – I decided to get scions from USDA-NPGS. Early March I received generous lengths of the four varieties I requested, which was nice, except that most all of them were already breaking bud. But I put them in the root cellar with the other scions. The end of April I dug up some Regent root stocks, root grafted the most advanced (green buds) scion pieces, potted them up and set them for a couple weeks in the house, then stored in the root cellar until I could plant them out in May. No sign of life; the growing buds died. (our other root grafts - pear, apple, cherry - did fine).
Early May we grafted most of the scions onto a wild juneberry seedling I’d transplanted for that purpose. Most scions had growing buds, some dormant. None took. (though the weather has been more than a little abnormally wild and weird this year most all of our other regular grafts have done fine).
We also stuck several leftovers onto branches of a wild, mid sized bearing tree nearby. Two took and are growing.
Then there is the one “special” graft. I’d bought a batch of small juneberry seedlings from the SCD last year along with some other bushes for a windbreak. I put one in the orchard to graft a single variety - a Thiessen. The seedlings including this one all grew well and I didn’t pay much attention to them. I chose the best NPGS scion that had several dormant buds (along with several growing) to graft on this one and it has grown well, nicely vigorous. The root stock is also healthy and the one nurse branch I left below the graft is growing well, too. Now these “juneberry” seedlings from the SCD grew well all last year, came through winter fine, and growing nicely this year. I’ve looked at them, weeded, mulched and though this is really embarrassing, it was just today that I realized – those aren’t juneberries. I know what juneberries look like, we have them all over. These weren’t them.They grew and were healthy and that’s all I had noticed!
The leaves sort of looked like elderberries (but aren’t) but I couldn’t place them. So I looked at what else the SCD offered that year, and there it was - American Mountain Ash. Sigh. This isn’t something I would have chosen to plant but I now have ten of them out and about. Could be worse I guess (we did plant Autumn Olive some 40 years ago, also from the SCD!). So I now have a juneberry grafted and growing on a mountain ash. I looked online to see if I could find anyone else who had and came across this from Lee Reich on an old NAFEX post:
“Grafting has not been a very satisfactory method of juneberry propagation. Grafts often take on rootstocks of other genera, such as mountain ash, hawthorn, and other members of the rose family, but the grafted plants sometimes stop growing. … ”
I hope it makes it through this year so I can cut a scion to try grafting to another REAL native juneberry seedling next year. Turned out to be more of an experiment than i thought! Sue