Those grafts look really good, I like the cages too. Is that 1inch by 1inch or is it smaller. I’m having a hard time finding good deals on 1 in x 1 inch welded wire. Tractor supply used to have a great deal on 100 foot rolls, not so much anymore. It looks like you put your benchgrafts right out to their final destination after a few weeks/month under the growlight. I’m putting mine in a raised straw bale nursery bed I built for the first year after freezing weather ends and then to their final destination next year. I’m still trying to find/balance the best thing to do with these benchgrafts after taking out of the pipe. Ease of taking care of while still being able to baby somewhat to keep predators off and make sure grafts take.
1/4“…48“ tall and usually buy 50‘ or 100‘ length. The cages aren’t too big in circumference. I use and angle grinder to cut it(faster than snips) I make furring strip posts and zip tie the cage to the post. They have worked well. I know the bottom of stake will rot in a few years, but furring strips are cheap yet sturdy enough for this. You could likely soak the bottom of posts in something to make them hold up longer(in Germamy when I worked the vineyards of the Mosel River, the post were soaked in some strong preservative liquid, would burn your skin if you got it on you). No caging is completely fool proof, but this has worked best for me through trial And error so far. Just do your best to keep the area somewhat clear of weeds and grasses and let the hawks and owls do their job.
Hardware mesh is worth it, it’s sturdy and the holes are smaller than welded wire and chicken wire.(that’s why I’m actually gonna swap the chicken mesh with hardware mesh on my air prune bed protective frames I posted above. Working nights, I must have been a little sleep deprived and trying to get the things done, only to create more work for myself.)
In regards to putting them straight out to the field or not, it’s up to you. I’ve been told that if you can get them to their permanent spot, to do it since this allows your roots to get established. That said, I grow all of my chestnuts, hazelnuts, black walnuts and shagbark hickory the first year in the air prune beds and usually plant out early fall. It has allowed them to grow protected all summer, but I get a bit of a jump on next years growing season by having them in the ground the previous fall. It’s easy to forget about the roots when you are only looking at the above ground growth, but established, well anchored roots are what will ultimately to push the strongest above ground growth. Dax has also told me many times that getting the rootstocks in the ground in their permanent spot and field grafting to them after they‘ve gotten established is going to give you your highest rate of success grafting. The hot callus pipe has definitely increased success for bench grafting, but a tree is likely to be more receptive to a graft when it is established. I’m not an expert by any means, just relaying some of what I’ve learned from those much more knowledgeable than me with all of this on this forum, as well as some of my experiences from trial and error. Nothing will make you rethink your approach to caging, like having a grafted tree do well for 3 or so years, then the snow melts and it’s completely girdled and you have to rip it out and start over.
This hot pipe has changed everything. In respect to outdoor grafting, you’re going to get your best growth and best results from having them rootstocks in the ground for at least 2-years. 3-years is the sweet spot for me. But so is 4-years thru 6-years. At 6-years, you can bark-graft a pencil size scion at 6’ up (above deer browse) and that stick grows 4-6’. In 3-years a pencil scion is a 15-foot hickory-tree. It’s crazy.
All that root power is what heals in the graft first and then pushes it / grows your scion. Even at 6’, you only allow 1-bud to grow. You also only need 1-bud per scion, too. You sure need to put that stake in place though once you create that scenario. 99% of the time what you cut off becomes your stake.
The callus pipe is amazing. W/o it, nut tree grafting isn’t possible for the small guy; the guy w/o a greenhouse & it’s an amazing tool all around for what it allows for. Enough said’ just saying.
do you see it as a disadvantage to graft on very thin rootstock – assuming the graft takes of course. A lot of my rootstock is on the small side.
Will grafting on small rootstock lead to slower overall growth than waiting for a few years and then grafting pencil sized wood on a large caliper stock?
No I don’t see a disadvantage, truthfully. It’s all about the roots. That’s going to be #1. Never forget it.
The smaller the tree you put in the ground the quicker it establishes (doesn’t die as often either) and out-competes a larger tree in the short and long run. Sure, I’d like to have 1/4" in the same container as 1/8" but I graft em both. I do not wait.
Half my persimmons grafted about 5 weeks ago using this approach are already pushing new growth. The others are still good but not yet pushing. I’m expecting 100% or close to it.
I am now trying Feijoa which are supposed to be quite difficult.
My nut/persimmon grafts in my greenhouse are beginning to pop. Everyday I find 10 more or however many.
Looks nice. Bet you can triple that capacity though (1 1/2" apart is plenty)
Oh yeah I have slots cut about that far apart. This is all the rootstock I have this year.
Here’s an update. It appears pretty much all of my grafts have taken. I’m gonna leave these on until next weds or so, which should bring me to right around 20 days. I have 50 persimmons left to graft and another 10 bud118 and 10 OHxF97 that need to be grafted and placed in the heat pipe. We have gotten snow flurries up here, so none of these will be seeing outside until mid May. I hope everyone else is having success.
What are you going to do with all those trees?
Do pears and apples benefit from the heat pipe? I have some rootstock that’s supposed to be here this weekend for grafting.
I found pears and apples very easy even without hot callusing. I sometimes do my grafts in early March outdoors and while they sit until it warms up, they almost certainly make it every time.
Another approach is to keep the trees indoors at room temperature for a week for callusing. Apples and pears callus fast and at room temperature.
Persimmons seem to need 3 weeks of nice warmth and this apparatus is amazing for that.
Hey Travis, your setup looks good. I notice that you scabbed your boards together. I gather that it works just fine for you? I ask because this is the route I’m going to take. I don’t want to go to the store at this point.
It’s not super sturdy, but for laying on the floor its fine. I was going to get a new board but had a 5’ 2x4 laying around that I just ripped in half. I thought about putting a hinge or something to make it fold to make it easier to store, but didn’t do that either.
Sell some, plant some. I took some requests prior to buying rootstocks and scions. I’ll also replace any dead trees, and expand my orchard a little. I have 172 acre farm.
somebody have a beer can operner on here?