Weeping and overgrown apple bud grafts

2021 was my first year growing fruit trees and I decided to give late summer bud grafts a try after some failed bench grafts in the Spring.

I am grafting both stone fruits and apples but so far I am only having issues with the apples (as far as I can tell at least).

I believe I have at least one good graft to work with next year but Im curious how to improve my skills.

My issues are below

  1. Some grafts are weeping sap (even many weeks after the graft was performed!)

  2. Some grafts appear to have either been pushed out or over grown by the host cambium wood

I think I could cut the cambium below the graft to reduce the sap flow to solve problem #1 but im not sure. It seems to only be happening on my Honeycrisp tree.

My guess is for #2 I should graft later in the season, this only appeared on my earliest grafts (mid August) my later grafts look cleaner/less healed over but still healed (early/mid September).

All help is appreciated!

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Early september grafts on stone fruit look much nicer

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You probably grafted a bit early. What did you bind your buds into the root stock with? IF you didnt bind them into the “root stock” that was probably your bigger problem.

I bound the grafts with a parafilm type wrap (knock off so closer to saranwrap in look and feel). For what its worth the overgrown/pushed out buds looked ok when I unwrapped them. I would tend to agree that it was probably done too early and the graft sites just continued to heal over. Any ideas on the weeping sap? Thanks!

I have seen it on cherry and peach grafts but not on apples before. I would guess it would be an issue again if the bud is not in tight contact with the cambium as it would likely slow or prevent the callus tissue from forming, if the bud is basically “floating” on the liquid.

Thank you for the info, Ill see if I can get my hands on some cord to maybe get a better wrap on it next year.

Does early September sound like a good target for next years attempts? If I did the bud graft earlier in the summer and cut the branch above after its healed to force it to grow, would that get around the issue of the buds being over grown by the healing wound?

I would say to try cutting a wider shield with the bud you are grafting. Leave a larger portion of the bark attached to the bud. That way if the “root stock” bark shrinks back a bit you wont have a portion of cambium not covered by bark. We always pop the inner wood out of the bud we are grafting as well, lots of people say its not necessary, but our success is MUCH higher when we do. We time our T-budding on apples to occur roughly 3-4 week before the terminal bud is set for the following growing season. That gives the bud time to callus in but depending on the root stock and variety that is being grafted keeps the bud from breaking dormancy before the next growing season. If you live in a cold enough zone you can have new growth become winter killed if the bud you grafted breaks dormancy and begins to grow.

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@fruitnut put together this excellent tutorial on tbud grafting. Highly recommend it T-budding tutorial