Hot Callus Pipe DIY


Im still waiting on another 20 rootstocks. 10x Bud118 and 10x OHxF97. The photos above are what’s going so far. A mix on Bosc, Flemish beauty, Harrow Sweet, Ayer and Seckel Pear as well as Honeycrisp, Liberty, Northern Spy, I90, and a couple others. I also noticed all of my chestnuts I stratified are beginning to produce radicles. I need to get my air prune beds ready and create cages over the top using hardware mesh(last years got damaged.) Once that’s done I can get the hazelnut, black walnut and last years chestnuts out from an overwintering nursery bed and in a permanent spot. I’d also like to fit some turkey hunting in next month as well.:slight_smile:


1-bud; that’s exactly what my pipes look like.

Thanks, Gary, I mean, cool.



Sir, what do these air prune beds you are talking about look like?


Clint - you got photos posted of your operation ? They’re quite excellent.



@Barkslip Dax, these are the pics of a couple of my totes after grafting, is that what you are talking about?


That and the rubber bands man.


An air prune bed is basically a planter box which has a bottom made of hardware mesh. When the roots reach the bottom and contact the air, they are essentially pruned by the air. Creating fibrous roots. I constructed a cage which attaches to the top of the grow box I connect using a hook and loop. Keeps rodents from eating the nuts. Just make the cage over 2 feet tall, since your seedlings will grow about that. I grow them there all summer and get them in the ground in the early fall. I’m zone 4b and after looking today, it appears all my hybrid chestnuts that I did this with survived the winter with a fall planting. Just stake and cage young trees, rodents and rabbits can be a nightmare if you don’t, especially the first few years that the trees in the ground.


Oh ya, here is a couple pics of a couple of my first ones ever before going into the pipe. I got a little happy on the grafting tape

on the first few, but didn’t put it near as thick once I figured it out. I think I have green showing on the buds on 87 out of 95 grafts. I left them in the pipe for 18 to 21 days. Weather kind of screwed me to get 21 days out of all of them, got too warm on me and couldn’t keep things from waking up. I was putting ice packs on the roots wrapped in moist paper towels and Wal-Mart bags every day there for a while.


Very cool, is that 2 inch pvc cut 2 foot long? I’m assuming the pvc is for nuts/seed and your rootstock all goes in the planter boxes filled with media? Could a guy go with bigger diameter pvc for the rootstock after coming out of the pipe? Do you perforate that pipe towards the bottom I guess I am curious how intertwined the roots will be in those totes of mine. I would have much rather put mine in a straw bale nursery bed I made, but I didn’t have a way of protecting them from freezing temps for the next month.


I don’t use the beds for bench grafts. It’s mostly used for starting large amounts of nut trees. The Pvc pipe was I believe 1 1/2 diameter. Chestnuts put out a taproot, this allows the taproot to grow long. Then when it’s time to plant they pull out like a plug and I plant them in permanent spot. It can be time consuming, much easier to just do rows of nuts in soil in the beds. It is a little work though digging them up and separating some roots. You’re either going to work in the beginning or end of grow season… I also usually throw a single sheet of newspaper over the hardware mesh to keep dirt from falling through when I fill the beds. I support the hardware mesh with a few spaced cross beams. I’ve heard the blow torching and slightly charting the inside prevents or slows the wood from rotting.


Sir, what are you doing with your benchgrafts when they come out of the pipe. I know @Barkslip pots his up individually. Im mainly talking about the ones that break dormancy where they can’t be held in a fridge. If you do plant them outside right away, do you protect young grafts from freezes?


I appreciate the politeness, but you don’t have to call me sir. Just call me Gary. When I remove them from the pipe around April 20-28, I put them in a bucket with moist woodchip/sawdust(my friend processes firewood, so I have access to plenty). I then keep them in my shop under a light so they harden off somewhat. I live in Northern NY, Zone 4b. I usually hold off planting until the beginning to middle of May depending on how the weathers looking.


Thanks Gary!


Hey Gary. Thanks for fielding questions. I have one. What size foam tubing did you use?


I forget exactly. I followed barkslips instructions that he posted exactly as written.


Ok. Thanks for the reply. I guess I’m just not hip to the notation 1" C/ 3/4" I. I can wing it.


@ctduckhunter no you don’t have to call Gary, “sir”, Gary’s quite, quiet.



Here’s an example of one of the cages I put above my raised air prune beds. This is using chicken wire. I normally use hardware mesh, but I didn’t have any on hand. Squirrels and chipmunks are the biggest threat to chestnuts etc. as they germinate and grow into seedlings. I made them 2 feet tall. I use 2 foot tall chickenwire/ hardware mesh, stapling it to the frame. I then run a sheet over the top. I then use hook and loop to attach it to raised bed. Worked great the last two years. I leave the cage on to protect the plants. Hardware mesh worked great because it was very small squares, no chance of mice or even Japanese beetles getting to leaves, but plenty of air flow and sunlight. The frame is made of furring strips.


I got mine built today, now time to try it with some peaches.

I ran the cable through 1/2" pex to protect it and add a little buffer.


I was out applying some dormant oil to my trees this morning and took some pictures of Apple and pear trees I grafted using the zenport grafting tool and hot callus pipe last year. This will be their second growing year. There is also one that was done two years ago with an omega tool. I feel that the zenport graft union looks nicer and that the hot callus pipe has gotten my trees off to a much better start prior to planting them.