Thoughts on this graft failure?

So I planted this Ashmead’s Kernal on G222 rootstock from Cummins back in 2017 and the graft appears to have fully failed as you can see in the picture. There is signiicant swelling on the axiom side and rotted wood on the rootstock side. Any thoughts on what I could do differently to avoid? Is this a simple graft failure or indicative of a soil problem or something else on my care. Thoughts much appreciated!!


I don’t know anything about apples specifically but my 2 cents:

  1. Did you wrap the graft with rubber bands or something else other than parafilm to apply pressure? It looks somewhat like what happens when there is insufficient pressure.
  2. The rootstock is very concerning - looks like something chewed it up. Voles? I’m sorry to say that the rootstock looks in dire shape to me.

By graft you are talking about the bulge towards the top of the picture? Because it looks like that’s the least of your concerns. I would be more interested in finding out what ate the bottom of the poor thing.

Grafts fail all the time. Even for pros that do it for a living it is a numbers game. They can get the failure rate down but no amount of care/experience/conditions can bring it down to 0.

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Good point. I sort of assumed the swelling at the graft was related to the damage further down based on incompatibility, but it might well be just rodent damage. Thanks!

It doesn’t look like rodent chewing to me, it looks rotten. Crown rot maybe?

Yes the rootstock could not pass nutrients to the scion with damage like that. The bulge is normal, A rough graft, but I like them myself. I graft unto scaffolds, and I have cut one off once while pruning. A nice ugly graft scar to remind me fits my needs.

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