When should I regraft?

Its been almost 3 weeks now (19 days) with no signs of bud swelling or growth.
At the same time there is no sign of shriveling.
We didnt have much of a spring here, we went from 40’s to 80’s in the matter of 7-10 days and it was hot the week after I grafted.

When should I give up hope and regraft?
Im not a newbie to grafting I’ve had good success in the past and I know I nailed most of my grafts.

This winter was brutal many nights below zero, and im starting to wonder if there is some damage being repaired on some of the mother trees going on, delaying growth.
Some very thin branches on the mother trees, there is only little bit of vegetative growth.

Anyone seeing an exceptional delay in grafts as well?

It depends a lot on the weather. Too hot or too cold and the grafts don’t progress. I have waited longer a few times, but not much longer.

If its not hard you can unwrap one that is an extra and see how it looks. Make sure to pick an extra, its really easy to mess up and wreck the graft in the process of unwrapping.

If you are grafting on a larger stump what I do is add some bark grafts at different spots if the first ones are not moving, assuming the stump was big enough.

Clefts only this year.

Here are some pics.
I cant see any shriveling.
Im thinking about regrafting next weekend if I can catch a break in the rain.
Its going to be another above average hot week after a below average last week.
Any hope on these?

Its hard to say, they don’t look bad yet. I would try some bark grafts on the opposite sides of the cleft, you can get one on each side. Cut a T in the wrap to get at the wood. I have done that many times.

Note your cleft cambium alignment may not be good, it looks like the scions are angled out and they need to be cambium to cambium for as much length as possible.

Even if the grafts weren’t successful, it is strange that the buds didn’t attempt to leaf out with the kind of weather we’ve been having.

I think I lost a bunch of grafts I made 3 weeks ago due to the extreme temperature swings. The average highs in may here are in the mid 60’s. Two weeks ago we had a 4 day stretch in low 90’s. Then it crashed and to highs in the low 50’s with overnight frosts. Ironically, the risky grafts I did back in April are doing OK because they calloused before the extreme temps.

I havent really done anything different this year compared to previous years.
My cleft grafts have always had a slight angle across the cambium layers to ensure contact.
My take rate has been about 80% in previous years. I am 0/6 this year so far.
If I get nothing by Friday im regrafting next Saturday. I think its been too long.

The weather here in Saratoga County has been wild.
We really didnt have more than 4-5 days of spring.
We went from low 50s during the days and upper 20’s at night to 80/50 within a week, and held with a drought.

The best way to ensure contact is to try to get the whole thing to line up. Its not hard to see where the cambium is on stock and scion, its where the bark peels from. The problem with aligning in only one spot is you have a minuscule area of contact and it could be that particular part is not touching due to how the scion is wedged in. Every cleft grafting tutorial I have seen also suggests maximal alignment.

That said your problem could still be the weather.

I went out and clipped the tops and they’re still green, I dont know if that means anything or not.
They certainly didnt look moist however. Cambium and bark were still attached at the cut.

At this point they are toast, its been too long. Re-graft and put aluminum foil on them since we are in hot season now.

I had problems with persimmons this year, I waited until yesterday and at that point checked the scion tips and all were dead. They were re-grafted yesterday. (Don’t graft persimmons before the bark is slipping well. I had lots of growth so thought it would be OK but it wasn’t)


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Eric last year was my first year grafting and had 100% success. This year I’ve had great success with apples (17-2), but I’m 0 - 2 on cherry (both leafed out, then failed) and maybe 70% on plum, and there will maybe be another failure or two on the plum. I was lucky with pear at 100%.

My situation is similar to yours, many of my grafts were done low on the tree as in your bottom photo. I did this not because I wasn’t aware of apical dominance, but instead because that’s just where I wanted the graft knowing the take rate would be lower and accepting that.
I really, really think the weather has played a big, big part in grafts failing this year for me. Here, our weather has been all over the place and I suspect it’s been similar there where you are. Mainly the lack of rain is the biggest problem I think. Even the non grafted tree hosts just have not put on foliage like they have in other years so I’m thinking the growth pressure from the rootstock just isn’t there like it should be.
I’m pretty sure a few plum grafts were growing out on other than their own stores when the heat wave hit. I think the tiny bit of vascular tissue formed just wasn’t enough to supply the scion with the water it needed to replace the transpiration occurring.
That’s just a theory.

I’m also going to try some very late plum grafting, but I’m not very optimistic about it…too hot now I’m thinking.

I checked yesterday, no callousing. I took them out.
I will regraft sometime soon and hope for the best, but more 80s/90s are coming after Wednesday.
Luckily we got some rain Wednesday, but this morning I looked and curc bites from yesterday with no spray on the trees.
First year of Orleans Reinette and 4 of 5 have curc slices in them.
Just cant catch a break this year.
I resprayed.

Its very unusual for me to get 0 graft takes, im usually around 80+% each year.
I really think the weather scorched them. 6 weeks, no rain and just scorching hot sun 8 hours a day.
The amount of green growth on the bigger rootstocks has been phenomenal.
Thanks for the advice with the tin foil, I’ll do that.
This is my last chance to get American Summer Pearmain this year, otherwise I’ll have to reorder with Geneva USDA/GRIN.

Everything else doesnt matter much.
I will do my best to match cambium lines with less angle, but I still will shoot for a cross.

BTW, I definitely think there was cambium damage from the sub zero weeks we had here. I think there was a 7-10 day period of sub -10F nights all in a row and some of my smaller caliber branches have little foliage on them other than the terminal buds.

They aren’t grafts on a larger tree, but our of my 32 bench grafted apples I planted April 11, 2 are actually just pushing buds now. Again, these are bench grafted apples, so I’m not sure how relevant that is to your situation.

One is a rather longish interstem that had Almata on B9 with a M111 root. My other Almata on B9 was slow to come so I thought maybe it was just a tough one for some reason and was about to give up on it, but I cut off half of the longish scion and it still seemed like there was some life and now it is finally pushing 6 weeks later. The other was a super short one-bud cleft grafted Haralred on M111 and that bud looked like it dried up - perhaps I had damaged it during grafting or it has some other issue. But when I looked closely, even thought the one bud was definitely dried up, the little nubbin of scion still looked alive and before I got around to regrafting it I noticed a small pimple like thing forming next to the dried bud and it is now a reformed bud pushing out a tiny little leaf.

I’m quite amazed that these last two are making it, but it does make me feel that if the scion still looks good it may be worth it to wait. Scott’s suggestion of adding the bark grafts sounds like a great insurance poilcy as well.

One other thought is that, particularly with your first picture, you’ve got some pretty long scions and I wonder if that makes it take longer if you have only a small section of cambium matching since that little connection has to feed the full scion. I actually think my cutting off the top half of the long Almata scion I had may have helped it since it reduced how much scion it was supporting.

Finally, in your top picture it looks like there are a lot of suckers coming up and buds on the side and those might be taking away a lot of the energy as well.

If you need American Summer wood next year send me a PM, I have a couple trees of it. Good luck in the re-grafts.

I inspected most of my grafts yesterday. It appears that nearly half of my apple bark grafts are toast. They calloused to the bark flap cambium, but not to the inner cambium. I guess that is consistent with heat issues. The outer bark flap would be cooler from the wind. Everything dried out from there. However, bark grafts I did with scionwood I collected were all successful. These scions were probably in much better shape than the ones I had sent to me. In retrospect, I don’t think I did enough to seal in moisture and block the sun. They would have been fine in normal year, but this year has been far from normal.

On the flip side, all of my sketchy bark grafts on the plums were successful. The bark didn’t slip right, but I scraped the cambium smooth and proceeded anyway. I used the same bark grafting materials for both plums and apples. Plums must be a lot more tolerant of dry heat.

I think I will regraft some of the apples now that we have a cool down. However, I will stay away from bark grafts because we’ve only had a little over an inch of rain in all of May. Spring here has been going from green to brown rather quickly.

Well, I regrafted tonight.
I put in 2 bark grafts after a new clean cut in lieu of the 2 clefts on the ground graft which is hopefully Pomme Gris now.
I wrapped with opaque WHITE grafting tape to keep the heat down.
Hopefully the American Summer Pearmain takes as well. I put in a backup graft with the extra wood I have.
It was a branch I was going to clip, but used instead.
This time I really tried hard to match up the cambium layers with minimal angle to hopefully reduce the callous time and get it growing green quicker.
It should be in the 70s this week now, the forecast backed off on temp. Watch and hope!
My summer grafts usually take quick, a week or so average.

Thanks all for the advice.

I don’t think it is too late- I grafted a couple plums just 4 days before your post (~8 days ago) and it looks like both have taken, though it’s too early to know for sure.

It is actually a bit on the cold side now. At least for peaches and apricots. Both Olpea and Scott have described how important warm weather is to success with peaches. We had some very warm weather (10 of 12 days with a high of 75+), followed by some cool temps (mostly in the 60’s, with 2 of 11 days at 75+).

The peaches I grafted in the beginning/middle of the warm period took 18/23. If you exclude 1 variety which hasn’t taken anywhere (0/5 total), the warm period is 18/20 (90%). Those grafted either in the last couple days of the warm period, or during the subsequent cooler weather are 2/8 (or 2/7 if excluding the bad variety). These numbers only include established trees, not new rootstocks (only 1 took) or side-grafts to new trees (none took).

Anyone regraft by taking original scion, recutting base to whatever is appropriate for the type of graft, likewise with rootstock, and using original recut Scion for regrafting?
I have scions that haven’t budged and yet are still green when scraping off some of the thin bark

What are you grafting and how long have you waited? Last year I had an apple graft done in April that took 60 days to start growing.

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