I grafted dozens of different stone fruits to my peach, thinking most of them wouldn’t take. I got lucky (except with the nectarines) and a lot of them took. Some of them have grown out multiple branches of more than two feet each. I’ve been treating them all with kid gloves since I haven’t gotten over the stage of thinking they are miraculous! I was figuring I’d wait till next year to prune and shape the growth–but maybe I should get started now. I’ve seen lots of info on HOW to graft and how to protect the graft, but not much on how to treat it as it grows. Should I just be pruning it as I would prune any non-grafted summer growth, that is, for shape, spacing, etc.? Or are they still somehow iffy, and I shouldn’t cause them any shock or opportunity for infections in pruning wounds, etc.? Thanks, all!
And one further question: how likely is it that a vigorous stone fruit graft would just fail to grow out again after winter dormancy? I’ve heard that can happen, and I don’t want to “count my chickens” yet. Should I assume that I’ll lose a certain percentage? Ballpark figure? If I’m going to lose some then I will probably keep all the grafts on my crowded tree and see which ones make it in spring, but if they are all likely to overwinter successfully, I might cut off some of the less desired cultivars now to make more room and sun for the others…
You shouldn’t lose any more over winter than any other similarily hardy growth. Prune and shape as you would the original tree. But be aware that the biggest danger right now is blowing out. So extra pruning to stiffen or stakes to support are a good idea. Be especially wary of long new growth on the grafts that has a large leverage factor on the union. It would be a good idea to shorten new growth that is extra long.
Pinch back shoots as needed that aren’t dominant. Steer the grafts in the direction you want them to grow by pinching back side shoots that turn the wrong way. Remove the ones heading straight up… The less you remove the more growth you will get so just do as much as you need to to guide each graft where you want them to grow.
Thanks, both of you. I will proceed with caution!