This is a mock demonstration since I am showing how to do this the third week of July using non-dormant scionwood.
I’ll be showing a 3-flap graft on pencil thickness scionwood and seedling-rootstock. The equally similar 4-flap grafts are done precisely the same way. The only difference is you’re creating 4-flaps on the rootstock and 4-cuts on the scion. 4-flaps are used for wood having greater diameter. It’s more typical to do these 3-flap or 4-flap grafts with 1/2" or greater diameter wood than pencil thickness wood. But for all matters of demonstrating, I’m showing it can also be done on thinner caliper wood.
The amount of contact that occurs with 3-flap and 4-flap grafts will improve your results significantly. If you’re getting 50% takes using other techniques, you will practically double your takes if you switch to this technique. The same respect applies to bark grafts vs. other traditional methods (cleft, splice, veneer, for example.)
You should take note now that the scion should be wrapped in parafilm or dipped in wax before the cuts take place. Leave plenty of room below the parafilm or wax on each scion to make your cuts.
3-flap & 4-flap grafts may be used anytime the rootstock has left dormancy and is actively growing; wherever your zone/climate may be. Scions must always be dormant.
The window of opportunity closes once the heat of summer kicks in (typically 1st or second week of June here in my zone 5b IL location.) At that juncture you will instead go to the various types of budding techniques: T-bud, chip bud, or greenwood grafting.
Okay, let us begin:
Hold the scion in your mouth to keep your hands free:
You see that bud to the left of my knife? I’m going to make my flap cut on each side of it:
Use your fingernail to bring the bark down:
there are fancy knives with a bark lifters but all you need for any thickness of bark is your fingernail to get it started:
Hold the flaps down. On large trees you banana graft you may need to put your entire hand over the seedling to press the flaps down. In this case, two fingers do the job:
I’ve put enough pressure on the flaps to keep them bent downward for the time being:
First cut on the scion:
Second cut… typically you leave a sliver of bark between each cut. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have bark between your cuts. It’s not going to make one iota of difference:
Now you’re seeing all three sides of the scion:
An additional photo with the scion turned a bit more:
Look at the diameter of your flaps and the diameter cuts on your scion. Figure out which way the flaps cover the scion, best:
Hold the flaps in place at the top and have the clothespin in your free hand ready to attach it at the top:
Start wrapping from below. You don’t use much pressure. You take your time looking at all three flaps as you gently wrap until you reach the clothespin. Go all the way to the bottom of the clothespin and then you’ll remove the cloespin:
I needed more tape to be able to cover the flaps in entirety. So I’m beginning with a new piece where I left off:
Everything is covered. I’ll remind you again the scion should have been covered in parafilm or dipped in wax already:
Now I’m going to return my tape slowly to the exact spot where the scion rested into the seedling:
I’m there! My tape is centered where the scion meets seedling. With force I’m going to wrap around this joining spot. I’ll go around at least twice. This is where sturdiness happens. While the scion will still be wobbly after finishing wrapping over this intersection tightly, it will go nowhere as it heals and stitches together:
I’m finished with the exception of going up and down the entire taped area and pinching with my fingers to squeeze on the tape to complete the work:
Last thing to do is add a bird perch that doubles as a stake to secure the scion to as well as the new growth from the scion.