Pecan grafting requirements

I had a major lesson brought home over the last week for improving pecan grafting success. I made grafts on 2021/06/05 which is very late for this area. Fortunately, I’ve tried late grafting and had some success in the past. This time, it looks like I got 100% takes on 5 rootstocks setting a total of 10 scions. I made grafts with long buds, cleft grafts, and whip and tongue grafts. So far, it looks like all of them were accepted.

The first absolute requirement with pecan grafts is to use only very high quality scionwood. Pick carefully for rapidly growing stems with 2 feet or more of current season growth. Store the scionwood appropriately in a refrigerator to keep it dormant.

So what made such a big difference in this round of grafts? We had a week of incessant rain totaling about 10 inches. Soil moisture levels are exceptionally high. Evaporation has been minimal meaning humidity for a week was in the high to very high range. This seems to be the key to getting high take rates with pecan grafts.

I’ve grafted pear and apple with little more effort than to whittle a stick. Pecan was always incredibly difficult. It is somewhat surprising to get very high success rates like grafting pears.

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I checked the pecan grafts today and saw 2 inches of growth on a Lakota whip and tongue graft. It is wrapped with duct tape. The graft was not particularly well made so getting a strong growth response was a bit surprising. I also saw an inch of growth on a cleft graft. One of the whip and tongue grafts appears to have failed with dried up and desiccated buds last week. We will see how they turn out.

Today is July 24th 2021. Here is a pic of a Lakota graft made the first week of June that is now growing very well. I fertilized the tree with a handful of 13-13-13 about 3 weeks ago. The graft is a long whip and tongue meaning the slice is 3 inches long. It is wrapped with duct tape torn to 5/8 inch wide. This is not a conventional way to graft but as you can see it was effective. Scion and rootstock are both about 5/8 (12 mm) inches diameter. The rootstock was a volunteer which was large enough to accept a graft. Lakota happens to be very easy to graft as compared with most other pecans and hickories.

(http://www.selectedplants.com/miscan/lakota.jpg)