Tree sealant necessary for larger bark grafting?

So, I am going to be topping my 20 year old orange tree sometime in the next month. I’ve only used parafilm with grafting, usually cleft and usually only small diameter branches, less than 3/4". This orange tree has about 3" - 4" diameter branches that I will be bark grafting onto, so there will be a lot of tree surface that I don’t know if I will be able to wrap well with the parafilm.

Should I just wrap the graft point with parafilm and not worry about the flat surface of the large branch or should I cover it with a tree sealant?

I included a picture just in case I wasn’t explaining myself well.

If yes on the tree sealant, any recommendations on which one? Thanks.

I’m not sure if you saw my new post on top working my large, old apple tree. I’m also not sure if comparing apples to oranges is applicable in this literal case. But I’m going to have the exact same question. Once I finish my bark grafts, should I coat the rest of the top of the old limb/stump. I bought Tanglefoot for that purpose and also have a toilet bowl wax sealer kit, since most people recommend one of those two.

From all that I’ve seen and read,the answer is yes,when doing a bark graft like that.
People use different things to seal.The asphalt type sealant is what I’m using now,but some use toilet flange wax.Doc Farwells is one brand that will work well.
Also,something stronger than Parafilm will be needed to wrap around the limbs.
Here’s a video produced by Dave Wilson Nursery showing the procedures involved. Brady

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Yes, and seal the tips of the scions as well. Also place a paper bag over the top with small vent holes until the scions start to show life. I use Morrisons (brush in cap) tree seal.


Black electrical tape?

Yes,that may work or something like he was using in the video.If using electrical tape try wrapping first with the sticky side out and then after the area is wrapped,turn it around and go over it again with the adhesive side facing in. Brady

Some videos show a nurse branch and many others do not. Is a nurse branch critical? I am hoping not as that would change some of the plan on how I want to topwork the citrus.

A nurse branch is probably not real important. Brady

I started my grafting career by top working 2-4" caliper trees with cleft and bark grafts. The first batch I did 18" up, and left no nurse limbs. The second round I tried to leave a small -1" nurse limb and have seen a difference in the growth rate, with those that retained a limb outgrowing those that didn’t. I’ve since pruned most nurse limbs off, left a few to give the deer something to nibble on. I’ve always sealed the stump with Treekote- an asphalt emulsion, and wrapped with 1/2" polyvinyl grafting tape(electrical tape would work too).
6 years later, most are completely healed over at the union, and started to get the first tastes from varieties such as Baldwin, Cox’s Orange Pippen, Hewe’s Virginia Crap.


use cheap latex caulking to seal the grafts…you can use that also to seal the top. Caulking is thick enough to not run into the graft and cause problems. Buy a brown, black or gray or something decent to look at. I’d use the parafilm on the scions though if I were you. You could paint it all with latex paint when you’re done or just let it go at that.

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All right, took the leap and hacked down my orange tree. I got 3 branches of Pixie Mandarin, Kishu Mandarin, and Melogold from CCPP a few days ago.

I did a bark graft for all of them, wrapped them tightly with the green plastic landscape tape and then applied toilet bowl wax on top. Our weather is going to be in the 60s and 70s for the next week or so. I will probably place a paper bag on top to shield the grafts from the sun tomorrow.

Pixie Mandarin

Kishu Mandarin

All three new graft points

As always, thanks everyone for all your input and help.


Remember to put a dab of sealant on the tip of each scion. Brady

Ah…yes, thanks for the reminder. I just ended up just putting some wood glue on the tips because I ran out of wax. Should I go and get more wax? I’ve read that people use wood glue or caulking to seal the tips.


The glue is probably fine, otherwise there is enough extra was there to spare a bit for the tips.

Can anyone tell me how long it will take for the grafts to take or what signs I should be looking for? I peeked into the bags today and the scions pretty much look the same, not dry or shriveled which is great.


I am wondering about your intention regarding sealing the scions so that they do not dry out and die. Since it is easier to wrap the full scion length with stretched Parafilm before grafting them to the stump, did you choose to wrap them after grafting? Rather than try to wrap the grafted scions now with p/f, you may want to consider spraying a light coat of acrylic clear coat aerosol paint to the entire scions so that they can hang on to their life sustaining fluids until r/s sap can arrive and take over.

I’d definitely cover the entire scions with parafilm. Oranges are not like apples. need to have them covered to keep them from drying out.

Thanks everyone. I went ahead and chopped the scions down to 2 or 3 buds (cutting about half of the scion length), sealed the tops again and then wrapped with parafilm. I left little tiny openings in the parafilm where the buds are. Is that okay or should I wrap the entire thing, 100%? Everything was still green so I’m hoping it works out.

I appreciate it.

The parafilm goes right over everything. If tight and not too many layers the buds will push right thru.

Really the main thing is it needs to be tight. Stretch it some when wrapping. If it fits like a second skin the buds push thru easily.

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