Waxing scions vs parafilm, vs au naturel

What do you do? I’m not a particularly good grafter (yet), but have been wrapping the entire scion with parafilm along with the Union area.

Some people I know like to dip all but the bottom end in melted wax of various configurations, then cover the rest with parafilm after cutting and assembling.

Some use the more soft waxes. Some use nothing at all, at least on apples and pears.

What do you like?


I wrap with parafilm before grafting; @Barkslip dips in his own mix, heated in a slow cooker, I believe. But Dax does a gazillion of them and I might do half a dozen. If I did lots I would use his method.

I cover all grafts all the way, and I don’t like to wrap after grafting because I wiggle the scion around and I’m afraid of getting it out of alignment. That’s why I wrap the scion before grafting. I like the idea of dipping in all but the bottom end of the scion. I actually wrap the entire stick with parafilm before cutting it into individual scions for use, though.


I dip both ends of the scion in wax right after I harvest it. When I graft I wrap just the graft union with parafilm and then dip the end of the scion in wax.


I do what @marknmt does - wrap the whole scion in Parafilm before grafting. I wrap the union tightly with grafting rubbers, then cover it with freezer tape.


I got Apple takes this year, but no stone fruits.

The weather wasn’t quite right for stone fruits. It hit 87 the day after grafting, then was too chilly after that. So, this year I may do half at one point then try more a couple weeks later, to see what works best.

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Buddy tape is better than parafilm. Way better IMO.




How is it better?

It’s little hard to explain, but it is all of the following: stronger,stretchier, thinner and more forgiving. I use both buddy tape and regular parafilm, and the buddy tape is noticeably easier to work with.


…and much more expensive, I would add. If used merely for wrapping I can’t see much sense using buddy tape. Parafilm M does the job just as well.


I clicked on the buddy tape link. It’s probably better than what I use, but for $40, and I don’t do enough grafts to pay for it.

I use strips of Ziplock Freezer Bags. I cut the strips about 3/4 inch wide. I tie the strip around the rootstock below the graft, then wind it around the graft to just above it, then back down, then tie. It takes some practice, but I stretch the plastic very snugly, until just before it would yield and tear. This makes a firm wrap. I use whip-and-tongue grafts. I do wrap the rest of the scion with a thinner plastic, whatever I have on hand, to prevent dehydration. That is usually thinner polyethylene strips but if I have some parafilm around I use that. I don’t like parafilm for wrapping the graft junction because it doesn’t let me wrap as firmly. The Ziplock bags are repurposed from some that held some frozen foods, so are basically free.

Almost all of the apples, pears, and plums that I grafted this way took. Kiwi about half took. I haven’t tried peaches using this method.

These are scion from Northpole apple, grafted onto Bud-9 this Spring. Second photo is midsummer. They grow some more after that. One of these got left in the sun without water and died, my mistake.



The wrap does need to be cut off when the grafts take. I do that after about a foot or more of growth I forgot on some, and cut it off in October. Those grafts grew OK but there was some restriction of the stem diameter.

Here is a graft of Black Ice Plum, to show how I start the Ziplock strip wrap.

Here is how I finished it. It’s hard to see, but the wrap covers all of the open wood. It is tight enough to bring together, snugly, all of the surfaces in the whip and tongue, so nothing is exposed or not touching. This graft took nicely and grew about 18 inches this year.


I prefer wrapping scion with parafilm. If I was doing large quantities I would dip in wax.


I’d like opinions on an idea I have for an alternative to waxing scions using Dax’s warm wax method.

I have in mind wax dissolved in “something”. We used to mix our own fly dope by grating canning paraffin into coleman fuel, IRRC. Then we’d dip the flies in it, shake it dry, and go back to fishing. Effective and cheap.

But I don’t know what solvents you would want to use so as to not hurt the scion, if any would. And I’d want a wax that was softer and more flexible than paraffin. I am thinking of something like Johnny wax dissolved in a fairly low-volatility solvent that won’t hurt the scion or the user. (For that matter, Johnny wax would be easier to use if it were thinned down to a heavy cream consistency that would be brushable.)

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Even slices of a potting soil bag with a box cutter will give your material to wrap grafts with.

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I wonder if there’s a spray on wax already?


Not that I can find. I give up. The science of water + wax doesn’t jive and everything else are harsh sealants (furniture spray, car spray, “permanent” over something for crafts.


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I’ve been wondering if some of that Wilt-Stop spray would be effective for grafting. I also suspect tricks that would be quite adequate for the easy stuff might not be sufficiently beneficial for peaches and apricots and the like. The first year I grafted I didn’t get the memo about wrapping the scion, and had around 90% takes on apples without doing anything. Didn’t have any high temps to deal with though.


Tanglefoot makes a spray on tree pruning sealer. Something like that?


Yeah, that makes sense. I’d love to see a pump you could spray a wax with but I don’t see it happening. I wonder what you could thin johnny wax with that wouldn’t hurt anything, but I don’t know enough about either chemistry or horticulture to speculate. But we use latex paints on trees. And how about Elmer’s Glue type stuff?

My buddy in his late 70’s while I’m past 45 is like ‘the hell with it’ sometimes. He grafts and walks away.

The thing about wilt-pruf or whatever it is that it completely smothers the material so it cannot breath at all and it takes a lot of sun or time to get it off. Often it has been “known” to kill plants because heat waves came too early and suffocated them. A lot of Rhododendrons that occurred with.