Help with citrus grafting

I am a first time grafter still trying to find some success. After about 8 failed attempts, I thought I will check with experts here on what I am doing wrong. There is a citrus bush in our yard, which never fruited - likely a chance seedling. I cut it down to few trunks and bark grafted them with budwoods ordered from CCPP.

I followed the grafting tutorial from @JoeReal here

and the youtube videos from fruitmentor which is pretty much the same

After 3 weeks when I opened the aluminum foil almost all the scions and the surrounding stems are quite wet and covered with mold

I thought this could be from the unusually heavy rainfall in May


CCPP did send me an additional budwood for each of those varieties. So without hesitation, I sawed the top off all the 4 branches and tried again. This time, I also did inverted-T bud grafts under the bark grafts as insurance. After 3 more weeks, I got the same results. However, this time there were no rains - mainly warm days and even a couple of 100F days. I am not sure how the moisture got in there through the aluminum foil + vinyl tape + parafilm. Does it condense inside from the morning?

I did cover the bud grafts tightly with vinyl grafting tape but clearly of not much help

I am not sure what is going wrong. One comment I see in some forums is to dip the budwood in some solution before grafting to kill any mold or other fungus. Is that recommended? Should I uncover the aluminum in the early mornings to let the sun dry out the moisture before covering it back?

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I only cover the stump with aluminum foil, not the scion

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I see, ok. Wouldn’t the sun dry out the scion?

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Is your rootstock growing rapidly? More growth, better take. I don’t do t bud on rootstock over 1/2 inch in diameter, can’t get the tape tight enough. I don’t do grafting with temperatures over 90F. BuddingNotes - mrtexascitrus

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The rootstock is vigorous alright. This is little more than a month of growth.

Would treating the scions before grafting help? I wonder if it contracted mold from shipping or storage. Anyway, next time I’ll leave some holes in the foil cover to avoid moisture buildup

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I use alcohol to clean the scion and also all the cut surfaces. I don’t cover the scion completely with foil. When grafting in warm weather, I make a flap with the foil to provide shade on the south side of the scion. With parafilm tape wrapped scion, I’m not concerned with scion drying out. I’m more concerned about the scorching sun cooking the scion.

Is that parafilm tape you use on the scion? If so, it looks a lot thicker than how I’d wrap mine. I always stretch it thin, especially over the buds. Also, I would use either the electrical tape or the green vinyl tape to make the union really tight.

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I did use bleach to clean all the tools but didn’t wipe the scion with alcohol. I will try that next time along with not completely covering it with foil.

Yup, that is the parafilm. I did stretch it a lot at the base, but I couldn’t do a good job of stretching + wrapping and not covering the buds as advised in the video. So, yes you are right that the scions are not wrapped as tightly as they could have been. I did use a rubber band and wider parafilm (0.5 in) after the first layer to keep it tight for bark grafts and green vinyl tape for bud grafts.

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