New York and New England region

Do you use parafilm? That is the #1 thing to do to improve your take rate.

I like using rubber electric to hold the grafts together, as it will gradually stretch and doesn’t need to be removed, unlike vinyl electrical tape or green garden tape.

A few years ago, I made some pics of doing bark grafts on cherries. I did 10 that year and had 6 takes, so while it worked reasonably, it wasn’t surefire.

Cleft grafts generally work pretty well too and are really my go-to graft in most situations (except when the diameters are too different). The main difference being that the cleft goes across the middle, rather than under the bark, so you can do it even when the bark isn’t slipping.


Thank you for your response. Yes i do use parafilm, I see your grafts, is it the same to do on rootstock?

I haven’t done that many bench-grafts. Some apples on G65 almost 10 years ago with cleft grafts and a few apple and plum suckers that I yanked out of the ground, grafted and potted. I think almost all of those were cleft grafts as well. If you wanted to do a bark graft, you’d need to plant the rootstock, then wait for it to wake up. Once the bark slips, then you could bark graft it, hopefully without jostling the roots too much. Or wait a year and you’ll have more options and probably a higher take rate. In fact, you could do chip or bud grafts in the summer after planting and then graft over any that don’t take the next spring.

I challenge you to a race- your method against my simple splice where I use a double bladed Italian hand pruner to quickly make my cuts, then tape the scion to the trees shoot I’m working with with electric tape and finally stretching parafilm over it.

I’ve heard of people wrapping scions with parafilm before putting in storage, but I have a fridge full of scion wood by spring and it would take me days to pre-wrap all the wood. Most of it, I never use, but it is useful to have a wide range of diameters to match with any water sprout you choose to graft to.

Yeah, I’ve never done any bench grafting, and I never will. At any given time, if I want a tree of a particular variety, it is quicker just to make a graft on a vertical water sprout of a young tree already vigorously growing and train it to be the new trunk. Being in the business of buying fruit trees wholesale and sizing them up to sell as bearing age trees means I always have such trees to play with. I fully understand buying rootstock to graft for any hobbyist that is trying to keep overall costs down- especially if they want single variety trees.

Finger Lakes region. Saw a sun dog this AM.


Why are you bothering with the parafilm once the electric tape is on.

Please make a video or take some photos to demonstrate your technique. It sounds efficient and simple, aside from finding the type of pruner you have.

Champlain Valley, Vt . Flipping back and forth between mud and below zero here.

Probably. I used to live in Oswego, NY, next to Lake Ontario. Lake Champlain isn’t as big, but it does help buffer the winter,same as the Finger Lakes area

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I try not to race when holding sharp objects :slight_smile:

I’ve got enough trouble avoiding cutting myself when doing it slowly. Which I suppose is one of the benefits of your method with the pruners.

I’ve tried using the splice graft that you do (I think) and while it often works, I have trouble holding it in just the proper position. That’s one of the things I like about the cleft graft- the cleft holds the wedge in place pretty well. Often well enough that it doesn’t move if I take my hands away to get the tape of do something for a minute, though that does depend on the width of the scion.

I do like the splice graft for very thick scions, as I can get the angle correct, have plenty of cambium, and still get enough structural integrity in the union.

For very thin scions, I prefer bark grafts, as the thin scion slips easily into the narrow gap and would be difficult to structurally connect in a splice or cleft.

For everything in between, I generally do cleft grafts, though I’ve played around with the others.

While speed is nice, I am more concerned about optimizing success, at least within the skills that I have.

One way that I save time (at least springtime time) is pre-parafilming. I don’t bother for apples or pears, things that 95% success is expected anyway. And for jujubes I only do the ones where I particularly value the variety and know there is a good chance I’ll use it all. But for fruit like peaches or persimmons, where the grafting is done later in the season and the results are less certain, I think pre-wrapping helps preserve the wood.

I tested with some persimmon wood last spring, putting both pre-wrapped and bare from the same source in the same bag and the pre-wrapped came out in much better condition.


I’m in the Mid-Hudson Valley, NY on a small urban/suburban plot. I’ve followed the posts of many of you here when I was selecting varieties to plant. Thanks for all the great info!


It took me a few minutes to find it, but here is the data I posted last year in late May on success vs scion diameter:

Note that “medium-large” with the best success rate is just a tad under the width of a pencil (5mm vs 6-7mm).


Want out for a Valentines breakfast at a diner that was my first visit. Noticed 60ft grape vine arbor in the parking lot. Sat next to a window and noticed fig trees, about 8 ft high with no winter protection. Waitress said they grow fine there. Later I saw there were about 20 of them. Low this winter was 6f and somethings it goes to 0f. Anyone growing their figs in the region that don’t die down to ground when not protected.

Here’s a photo from the window.


Zone 6a Marblehead Ma. (formerly from Syr NY, so I feel like this group was made for me!)

I spent all weekend trying not to prune. It was in the 50s. Now, it is in the 20’s with fresh snow. Things look really good on my trees. I hope for lots of flowers this spring.

Dave Wilson combo trees: Cherry, Pluots, peach and apricot
Espalier: Apple, Pear
More Cherries.


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Electric tape holds the scion to the shoot, parafilm covers the scion outside of the electric tape, which buds can’t possibly push through.

Splice graft. Splice Graft

i prefer wrapping with parafilm 1st then wrapping just the graft section with elec. tape.

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Yes, it is easier to wrap the scion before you’ve joined it to the rootstock/host. When I try to wrap afterwards, I feel like I’m loosening and/or mis-aligning the union.

After applying rubber tape (temflex) to the union, I do add a layer of parafilm on top of the tape, though I’m not sure it is absolutely necessary. One thing to consider is that it also lightens the color, so late season grafts are probably less likely to cook from solar absorption in black tape.


When diameters are close to the same and you wrap firmly with electric tape you aren’t going to shift anything when you wrap the scion with parafilm, holding the scion to the shoot while you wrap from the electric tape up. However, if I started by doing it your way, I’d probably be endorsing that method.


Blue Hill, Hancock County Maine here, on the DownEast coast. Grow about 40 varieties of Apples with a bunch more on order for the spring. I only grow one local variety, Black Oxford. John Bunker and MOFGA have done a good enough job that I don’t feel under pressure to grow the local varieties - they are grown everywhere and can often be bought in the local Co-Op.


Use white or other light color vinyl tape.