My apple rootstocks arrived, now what?

Time to panic :slight_smile: lol. I have two rootstocks and some scions, and I also have a 1 year old seedling that over-wintered outside that I’m also going to graft to. So 3 total grafts. Everything is still dormant. My main question is about the rootstocks. Any suggestions for a plan? I have the grafting materials. Should I graft the rootstocks and store them for a couple of weeks for callousing before potting? This is my first attempt at grafting so any suggestions are helpful. I’ve been watching a lot of videos. Thanks. Ed

If you have not already done it, my first suggestion would be to gather wood from other trees and practice until you are comfortable you can reproduce the cuts you will be using and also practice holding a graft together with tape, rubber bands, parafilm, or whatever else you plan to use. I would graft them and get them in pots without waiting. Keeping the roots moist at this point is a chore you will have to otherwise attend to and, once you graft, having the root system working to fuse the scion and understock can only help.

Good suggestion about the practice. I’m also more comfortable getting them in pots asap. That makes more sense to me. Luckily my rootstocks and scions are pretty long, so there’s lots to practice on.

I would suggest practicing on wood other than your rootstock and scion. Just about any deciduous tree should work for practicing making cuts and holding pieces together in a graft.

I practiced on several grafts tonight. Went pretty well. The hardest thing was getting a smooth cut. I changed the blade in my cutter, and that helped a lot. I’m going to try one tomorrow. Another issue is that my rootstocks and scions don’t match perfectly in size. There might be a millimeter or two difference. Is it better to do a cleft or whip and tongue when there is a size difference? Also, my rootstocks are pretty long, I’m assuming that I should trim them down to about 6" or so of tree above the roots.

I prefer the cleft graft (assuming the scion is not the larger of the two), but others may have a different opinion.

One additional comment if you use the cleft graft: When you make the cut down into the rootstock, go slowly. It is easy to have rootstock split and end up with your knife going down too far too fast, risking both your fingers below and that part of the rootstock.

Trim the rootstock and scion to match diameter and so that the graft union will be at the height you want. I think most people would be happier with at least 12 inches between the roots and graft union.

W/T grafts can work fine even with a mismatch in diameter. Just make sure you align the cambium on the one side of the graft. Ideally a perfect match is even better, but with a cleft graft you are only aligning one side as well.

I grafted the two rootstocks. I think one was a M7, and the other an M26, and I grafted a Gravenstein, and a Honeycrisp. I have no idea what I’m doing, and really just experimenting. I used cleft grafts, and it seemed to go really well. Nice tight cambium layer contact. I think cleft grafts are the beginners graft of choice :-)…well, this beginner anyway. I potted one immediately, and I put the other in my garage in some wet newspaper and a little potting mix. I put the pot outside in the shade. Is the pot ok in the shade, or can I give it some sun?