What is your Tip OF The Day?

The older I get the more I realize that I don’t know everything. Please share your tips. All tips are welcome and none are to big or small. Even if your not the originator of the tip some of us can benefit from your sharing. I’m going to get it started by posting a picture of manipulating the common electric tape for using on small scions with small stock. Most likely many others are already doing this but some might be helped.

When your grafting sometimes all you have is small limber wood to work with and the full width electrical tape will break the stock if you attempt to pull hard enough to get a tight seal between scion and the stock. I started splitting the tape with scissors until one day I was grafting and I reached for the scissors and I did not have them. I attempted to just pull on the tape and to my surprise it ripped into workable strips as you can see in the picture below (takes less time than using scissors). With small strips I can graft even the smallest scions/stock. I have ran into a few brands that are of a different composition that won’t split but all the black electrical tape has split easily. Sometimes the small things helps the most. Hope this tips helps someone. Bill

Please excuse the spelling in the picture. It is not easily corrected.

Pic 001


Great idea for a topic, Bill! I’m looking forward to reading the tidbits that show up here.

Most of the most helpful things I know related to growing fruit well I’ve learned from members on here. So, the only helpful tip I have at the moment is to read and participate in the forum frequently, including reading the topics with titles that don’t interest you at the moment. They are threads, after all. Some of the most helpful information I’ve found has been embedded in topics that didn’t pertain to my interests when they originated.


Be patient.


For making cuts on my scion wood, (for smaller twigs) I use an exacto knife, A sturdy one. Two types are sold, flimsy and strong. The blades are very sharp and a box of replacement blades are inexpensive. You can buy them in an art supply store or pharmacy that has a good ‘school supples’ dept. and pens.


I have learned more on this forum in the last year than I have over the last 20 years. Great place to hang out. I like facebook but it serves a different purpose.


If you plant small rootstock your holes will be smaller and you can graft them next year. Not as hard to dig and small plants adapt easier than big ones.


“I’m interested in the tension between the practical and the theoretical, and the garden’s the place where we work it out. We read books to learn how to garden; then the reality turns out to be more complicated. It doesn’t come out the way it’s supposed to in the book, and there are always surprises.”
– Michael Pollan


My tip is to smack that little devil off your shoulder that tells you to ignore all of the expert pruning advise you’ve received. Think about the long term structure of the tree and make the necessary cuts regardless of how scary they may seem.


When preparing scion sticks for spring (cleft, whip & tongue, whip, bark, side) grafting wrap the entire stick with parafilm while sitting in the comfort of a warm room. When it’s time to graft just cut right through the tightly wrapped parafilm with your nippers and shape the taper as if the tape weren’t even there. If you have to peel a little away when you marry the graft you can, but it’s usually not in the way.

I started doing it this way because I would sometimes “wrap the scion loose” applying parafilm after inserting it- I just wiggled it too much trying to get the tape on nice and snug and would work my delicate connection apart. Bummer. Sounds a bit weird but it works.


Worry is not a problem solving tactic.


Mark. After reading your post I wrapped several while listening to the news. Sure beats trying to do this in the orchard or better yet while standing on a ladder. Bill


That is a battle I fight every day. I get caught up with knowing what is correct and wanting to experiment. Sometimes logic doesn’t win. Bill

I normally get my drawing paper from a Hobby Lobby that is about a 30 minute drive from my house, I’m pretty sure they have a version of the knife your referring to. It is on my to get list. Bill

The tip for today is keep good records of sprays, trees, fertilizer, dates things are done etc. buy or make strong metal labels. Grafting is a time of the year when things move at a feverish pase and you won’t know what you grafted where if you graft much. Keep track of rootstock and scion because both are needed to make a great tree. Its nice to know what performs best at a site.


I have been attempting to keep records for the past 3 years but I find myself saying that I will remember until I can put the durable label on the new graft. This is a big mistake that I have made and I’m trying to do better at record keeping. Bill


We have all done something similar Bill. I used plastic labels a few years ago and have 3 unkwown varieties as a result which i think I now have down to two. Cheap is not better. Fortunately I keep picture records also. The one unkwown pear was Ayers and no doubt the other two are equally as good or better. I may even be duplicating the varities this year. If I suddenly say I have a full grown producing magness you will no why.

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This is a fairly serious flaw for me. I’ve had cheap labels fail before I get the good ones made and I’ve had good ones come off in the wind. I have several spots on Frankenapple that have new labels with five different possibilities listed- had to abbreviate- in the hopes that when the graft finally produces I’ll be able to choose from one of them!



If all else fails I tell you a trick I should have confessed earlier I carry a slim tip magic marker and I write on the branch if I didn’t bring enough labels. That gives you a month to label properly.


This works for me in my backyard setup in rural PA and is two tips in one: Take galvanized welded wire fence (100’ rolls) and cut 5 - 20’ sections. Roll sections to make rings and place around tree perimeter to help protect trees from deer and rabbits. Use twine or rope (I use baling twine from horse hay) to tie branches down to a good angle, using the welded wire fence as the tie point for leverage.


Spoonful is soo great!!!

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