Tracking Feijoa in the PNW

I would love to see if the new varieties bloom more readily now. I haven’t had as much success grafting feijoas down here. Never had a full session fail, but low percentages. It may be too hot down here, so I’ll try some fall grafting this year.
Is that electrical tape on your grafts?

Similar to @manfromyard, I’ve also experienced lower percentage of successful grafts with feijoas than with other species. When do you typically graft? Do you prefer to use thinner to thicker budwood?
My successful grafts this year have been done in early to mid March when it’s still fairly cold here. Almost all of the grafts I’ve done after that have been failures.

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Here in our climate I’ve had good luck from late February up until around early April, but failures in June and July.

This year I only did two feijoa grafts, both in the first week of April, and both of them took.

First open flower on my bush, I’m not sure if this is a rootstock branch or one of the Marta grafts (Oktoberfest and Cosmos):

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Yes, I say I never had much trouble with grafting Feijoa’s, but I had quite some failures in the first years I tried. Not much was to be found on the internet about how to do it, so I just experimented on my own. Now I get consistent good percentages if I do it the following way.

Here in Europe, Feijoa’s start budding out very late in the year, so I graft apples, pears and all other stuff from February till April. Then in May, when I see the rootstock start to form buds and get it’s first leaves, I start grafting Feijoa’s. I take the scionwood directly from the plants I want and I don’t store the scionwood. The scions at this point also start to leaf out at the top, so I take hardened off wood - the tips of the plants and I cut of the top one or two buds that leafed out. Then I wrap in parafilm and graft them directly to the rootstock.

I use whip and tongue and secure the union with self-vulcanising tape, which works like an elastic band, it puts good pressure on the union. The parafilm prevents the grafts from drying out.

It is very important that you cut off all leaves and branches from the rootstock below your grafts. I noticed this last years and again this years the only grafts that didn’t take are those on lower branches.
I guess the apical dominance is an important factor to consider.

Then water the rootstock well for a month and off they go.

I also grafted in September after the heat of summer, using the same method, that also works.

I have an older tree that I topworked with many three year old seedlings and with a couple of already flowering varieties two years ago. All three varieties and two of the seedling grafts are flowering this year, two years after grafting. But around 18 other seedling grafts have not flowered yet.

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I use the thickest and most woody scionwood I can get, take off all the leaves while being careful not to damage the buds at the internodes. Then wrap in parafilm. And I graft late, in may or June when the rootstock is leafing out and actively growing. I cut the scionwood at the same moment, I don’t store it in the fridge, but I have done that one year and that worked as well. I think you graft too early, the plants need to be actively growing for the union to heal.

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Did you use scionwood that was cut in the winter and stored in the fridge for months with your later grafts, or were they freshly cut? I had good success later in the year, maybe not midsummer, but warm weather, fresh scions and an active growing rootstock that is well watered have always worked well here.

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They were generally pretty fresh (less than a month stored) and in one case were very fresh (cut and mailed less than a week before). One of my March successes was using scionwood I had received in late December and stored for about 3 months, too, so I don’t think the issue was how long the wood was stored.

One thing worth mentioning is the grafts were always just individual stems on a large multi-stem bush, where most of the bush was not being grafted. I wonder if the fact there were other actively growing branches caused the bush to self-prune the branches that were grafted, whereas the grafts had time to callus when the bush had no other active growth to focus it’s energy. That’s one theory, at least for the ones that never even budded out despite good cambium contact and fully wrapped scions. I do always remove new buds that form lower on the stem that is grafted, but since I’m just slowly adding new varieties to a large bush, the majority of the bush is not being grafted nor being removed.

My other theory is desiccation when it’s warm enough for scions to start budding out (thus breaking through the protective buddy tape) before they have callused, since many of the failures did start budding out before failing. By late spring and especially June it’s often extremely dry here, and I’ve also had some avocados fail the same way. Regular misting of the grafts a few times a day once they bud out might help, but I usually only water deeply every few days, so I didn’t test if that would work. But it seems that grafting before the bush is actively growing allows callus to form well before buds break through the film (and it’s regularly raining then, too, keeping everything moist).

Do you ever hand pollinate or just let the wind do it?

Now most of the Feijoas are in full bloom

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I have hand pollinated my seedlings in the past, but now I don’t, and I haven’t noticed any difference. Since I now thin the fruit, I don’t see the point in hand pollinating to discard the product.

For my named varieties, I did hand pollinate using the seedlings because I am trying to taste to determine which varieties to keep at my house, and which ones go to the farm location where the others are.

But Takaka produced fruit last year without me doing anything, because I thought it was too young to fruit.

I take the brush to all of them every year, but after hearing from enough people with the same answer you gave, I don’t think I need to keep at it. There’s a small commercial operation around Portland, Oregon and she has never hand pollinated, and gets massive crops every November.

I’m still fascinated by the pollination of these plants in North America. I’ve watched them very carefully in California and Oregon for many years, and I’ve never seen a pollinator visit the blooms. Evidently the pollinators down in South America mainly are birds, well the birds in these parts seem completely disinterested. I also have a bee hive right next to a couple big feijoa plants, covered in blooms, and the bees don’t visit at all. The blooms look so inviting. I find it so strange that birds and bees aren’t all over those blooms.

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I was off by a full week:

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…perhaps you refer to the Vial farm in Hillsboro.

Pollen flies readily from feijoa blossoms, just tap one that is backlit by the sun to observe. So, no reason they could not be wind pollinated. I did have a few honeybees the year my big bush had ~ 5,000 blossoms. Otherwise, nothing except very small birds pecking at the petals.

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Yep, vial farm is the place. She told me she was planning to put in a couple hundred more.[quote=“LarryGene, post:535, topic:46695, full:true”]

No clue if she’s done it yet.

I’m somewhat surprised how well they are doing after the January freeze. I was expecting the specimens that had dieback to struggle. For the most part they hasn’t been the case. A couple of mine got got really hard by the cold yet they bloomed better than ever.

That is very interesting, I think that excludes the idea that the scions can be too old. It could very well be that the heat and drought can make the scions fail, it’s just that I haven’t had that experience here myself, but we seldom have that high heat and long droughts.
I do consistently observe that my scions lower on the bush fail, and that they also fail if another branch still has leaves above the grafting point on the branch I am grafting to. So it is not just the buds on the branch itself, but somehow the overall tree.

The other multitree that I made does have grafts low and high, but I cut that one back almost to a naked skeleton without any of the wood of the original seedling - because it fruited after twelve years and was only a small and sour fruit. I cut that whole tree back and just kept the frame structure, so I frameworked that tree. That is the only time that grafts all over the tree took. Otherwise it has just been the very top of the tree for me.

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Feijoa grafting is rather strange.
I did 2 grafts of Waingaro on one bush in the dead of winter. I did bring the pot inside for about 2 months and then set it outside. Thin scionwood.
One graft took.

Early spring grafts take at around 60%. Pretty low.
Callus pipe grafts take at a higher rate - around 75%.

They are among the less predictable as far as graft success goes.

Even so,I have too many bushes and varieties.

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I have usually hand pollinated with a kids’ artist brush.It makes a big difference in how much fruit I get, but I only have two bushes.
John S
PDX OR

Here’s the main pollinator I’ve seen on my bushes:

Unfortunately, the human toddler is a bit rough and sometimes pulls off the entire flower.

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