I’ve often posted how I prefer doing splice grafts that I wrap with vinyl electric tape to firmly bind cambiums together (scion to a water sprout of similar diameter, usually). This winter I’ve noticed that the tape on grafts I did last spring and left the tape on can be easily just peeled off. Previously I’ve mentioned the need to cut the grafts free from the tape to prevent girdling. Cutting the tape longitudinally but leaving it at that to prevent girdling.
When you use a razor to do this you inevitably cut into the tender bark, which doesn’t kill anything but probably doesn’t help either. I believe unwrapping peels the bark only when the bark is slipping or still very tender. I recall having a problem with one year old grafts that I tried unpeeling the tape of in spring. It is apparently not a problem in winter.
I’ve been using large rubber bands on stock the same size as scions. I’ve been using black vinyl electrical tape on anything larger. I wrap it sticky side up. If I think it will be hot, I wrap the electrical tape with a similar plastic white tape a friend gave me (specialty tape they no longer use where he works). It’s easy to cut and remove.
It is quickest and cheapest just to use the vinyl tape sticky side down. Now that I know I can peel it off cleanly in Jan. I doubt I will consider any other method. I make too many grafts- probably something over 200, during my busiest time to use any but quickest methods. Actually, I didn’t much mind cutting the tape- quicker than peeling probably.
I use a type of parafilm called Buddy Tape on the exposed portions of the scion, but electric tape is much easier to use to connect the scion to the existing tree shoot. All my grafts are on existing varietal trees, some in my nursery and some in orchards I manage. I don’t do my own rootstock grafting.
The parafilm wrap is especially useful for wrapping stonefruit grafts, which are more likely to dry out before healing than apples or pears.
I use parafilm-m for moisture sealing bud area only because it is a weaker wax-based tape that the buds can grow through. I user other materials when I can because they are stronger and more readily available (free to me in most cases). Parafilm-m is special purchase for me.
You could use just about any material on a graft that will seal in moisture and be strong enough to hold the graft union together tightly. The cheap parafilm being sold as “grafting parafilm” on Amazon is basically just cellophane on a narrow roll. I think that would also work well, but I would never buy it for that purpose when there are better alternatives. I’ve even heard of people cutting plastic bags into stripes for graft wraps.
I have used electrical tape and freezer tape. I got the idea for the freezer tape from Tom Burford’s grafting seminar a few years ago. It does not wrap as tight as electrical tape, but it deteriorates and falls off in about a year, so these is nothing to remove. I noticed that Century Farm Orchards uses electrical tape on their apple bench grafts. I used electrical tape last time, but I plan to use freezer tape this year
For me it’s difficult to beat 3m temflex rubber slicing tape on the graft union. Its stronger than parafilm, has some srretch to it so no risk of girdling, and seems to come off easiky when needed. I like to use parafilm to cover the end and tip of the scion.
I also use electric tape and have had similar experiences as Alan.
It is inexpensive-- a few bucks for a multi-pack at Walmart.
I can often find packs containing different color tapes, which helps me color-code and better keep track of the different varieties of grafts on my multi-budded trees.
I can’t seem to find parafilm anywhere around here, and I am too cheap right now to have it delivered.
I have had adequate success with the electrical tape (combined with tree-coat sealant) so I don’t need parafilm. I have successfully grafted apples, pears, cherries, and plums (asian & euro).
This season, I will perform my first grafts on peaches and apricots, which I understand can be more challenging. (Yes, I plan to execute these when temps are in the high 70s and will wrap them in aluminum foil). If they fail, then maybe I’ll shill out for the parafilm next time.
Parafilm breaks down way too quickly in the sun. I only use it to temporarily seal moisture in the scion. I use a green nursery tape to maintain graft strength and to seal in moisture at the graft union till the callus hardens. For larger cut areas, I use pruning sealer to seal in moisture.
I too am a big fan of electrical tape. Especially when the whip isn’t to straight you can wrap it tight. Plus the warmth from the black may help it callused up as you have mentioned before. I have only had problems taking the tape off when trying to remove it to early in the year. Plus once you know to be careful taking it off it’s not a problem. It makes a great waterproof graft.
I’ve been using a kind of electrical tape for a number of years to wrap finished graft unions, but it’s not the sticky vinyl stuff. Instead it’s somewhat stretchy, like a rubber band, but it adheres to itself without the adhesive of the regular tape. It’s a little more pricey, but I really like it—and—it slowly photodegrades!
The product is called “electrical splicing tape”. Here’s a link to one example of the product.
I use the electrical tape and remove it little by little depending on the circumstances trying not to allow girdling or ripping off of the bark. Not so important to do it right away on persimmons. I may unwrap it or I may cut and let it unravel a little on its. It does hold much firmer. But it has it limits. I was experimenting today grafting peach and nectarine to Chickasaw plum trying to find a borer resistant rootstock. One of my two white english farm dogs (bulldogs are between 70 and 85 lbs) still managed to break off one of the grafts by running into it somehow.
I’m pretty sure that is just the same as any “rubber” electric tape which is always available at the big box stores for a premium price. Of course, that premium doesn’t really amount to much in the grand scheme of things. Grafting is time consuming- even when splicing. Gathering labeling and storing scion wood, finding the varieties you want, both from the trees and the fridge, the actual grafting and labeling.
With all this time investment the important thing is getting a high percentage of takes. I don’t believe I’ve ever lost a graft to girdling, but I’ve come close a couple of times- freeing a constricted graft after being significantly narrowed from vinyl tape. The few times this has happened the grafts fully recovered, thickening in the constricted area.
I’ve had many more problems with wire labels in terms of problematic girdling. I wish there was a wire that lasted several years but had some stretch. I’ve resorted to rubber electric tape sometimes to hold aluminum labels in place. It can last about 3 years for this purpose.
This post brought back some bad memorys of trying to remove electrical tape form a couple thousand trees the year I started the nursery. Parafilm is now my prefered grafting tape. Masking tape covered with wax or sealer also works great.