When to sack a graft

When is the appropriate time to cover a graft with a sack or plastic bag to push a graft? Most of the bark grafts I made to apples are showing 1/2" green. The grafts I made to rootstock are barely showing bud swell. Would this be from the rootstock needing to break dormancy also? Do different rootstocks also accept scions at differing speeds?

I’m kind of interested in this as well. I grafted 5 rootstocks 18 days ago. 4 of them appear to have taken and show nice swollen buds wit green tips. The 5th I think has failed as the buds have shrunk and look dried. I’ve been watching the buds and I’m getting anxious for them to finally pop open and start growing… They’ve been sitting there without much change the last week or so. I’m not sure if putting a bag over them would push the buds. My rootstock is definately not dormant because I’ve had to rub buds off them.

I actually regraft ed the failed graft today with a leftover piece of gold rush scion wood I had left over. It was a bit smaller in diameter versus the rootstock so I tried a cleft graft. I’m not too confident it will take but we’ll see soon enough.

This is my Pink Lady graft on bud9. I assume this is a good sign but it hasn’t changed much over the last 5-7 days.

Parafilm - I cover the graft union and the scion in its entirety to hold in moisture; then overwrap with rubber band (or masking tape, then rubber band, if it’s something other than pear/apple. Buds will push growth right out through that well-stretched Parafilm,

Pears/apples callus and push growth so rapidly that I’ve never seen the need to tent or sack those grafts.

Can someone explain the basics of what we’re talking about here? What does it mean to tent or sack a graft and how precisely is that done?

I was just looking at some che fruit grafts that I did on potted osage orange seedlings (started from seed last year), grafted just over a month ago that started growing a while ago but have since just pretty much sat there with tiny leaves that haven’t sized up. I had some potted, grafted pears do the same thing for me and finally wither and die (although with pears I have almost 100% success grafting onto in-ground stock). Why do grafts initially take like this but then just lose vigor/runt out and fail to keep going? Is helping to prevent that kind of thing the purpose of tents/sacks?

You can’t see it in the picture I posted but there is parafilm beneath the TemFlex tape on my graft. I wrapped the initial graft in parafilm. On one of the grafts I covered with with Temflex. On the other 4 I wrapped in parafilm and then wrapped with rubber bands. On my top working project I wrapped the entire scion with parafilm on about half the grafts. It doesn’t seem to have made a lot of difference. They all look about the same. I agree though, it’s very easy to wrap entire scion with parafilm and from here on out I definitely will. But I’m not going to risk disrupting the callus to rewrap at this point.

I think they just appear to take as they bud out etc, but in reality they did not “take”. As soon as the scion wood has expended it’s own tiny energy resources there is no vascular tissue connection to continue the nutrient/ water supply and the graft just sits there like you say until it finally succumbs to dessication and dies.

I don’t know, Appleseed. I’ve seen growth like this hang on for weeks. Surely leaves couldn’t remain green and alive for weeks (and that after a week or two or three between the time of grafting and pushing leaves) without some kind of connection to the roots, could they?

I don’t know cousin…there is still a pile of brush in my lower yard that I cut a few weeks ago that is still green and still growing bigger leaves. Granted they are however larges pieces of wood.
Maybe enough vascular tissue is not there, or was there and then dried out or just simply wasn’t up to the task. I do know that a lot of folks think their grafts were successful the moment they see buds swelling and to me that doesn’t mean all that much…at least initially anyway.

So going with the theory that the problem with my grafts on potted rootstocks is the graft union not forming, what would I need to do differently? The same grafting method is working extremely well with the same species on in-ground rootstocks that I mostly let get a little bigger before I graft them (but it’s a lot less practical and convenient to keep rootstocks in pots as long.) I guess, going with your theory, the in-ground rootstocks are just pushing graft callous material more vigorously?

In any case, what’s the deal with tents/sacks?

I dunno cousin. Are the in ground and potted the same root stock and everything? My instinct (which is often wrong) tells me that the established RS in the ground would have greater ability to push since it has an established root system. To me it’s kinda like transplant adjustment and graft healing in one step, so I can imagine that there might be a lower success rate. I wouldn’t think it to be a huge issue though as it’s done so frequently.

Folks are using sacks to create a tent over the graft. I guess the idea is to prevent drying out and maybe to shade the graft a bit in the early going.

@speedster1, what have your temperatures been like? My grafts swelled and started budding out, but seemed to slow way down when our temps went lower for a week - barely getting to 60 in the day and down in the low 40s or high 30s nights. Now that it is warming, they seem to be popping open pretty well.

Somewhat similar to yours. Got rather cold for a few nights. Down around 35. Last few nights have been down around 50. I’ll have to give them a look when I get home tonight.

I actually grafted right before the cold snap and so far there is zero activity on any of my grafts. Starting to worry a bit, it’s been 12 days already.
It snowed twice during that period, though it didn’t lay and another day we had freezing rain / sleet. Coldest temp that I saw was 32 here though 30 was forecast twice.

Lucky means he wraps the entire scion with parafilm after it is attached. I use electric tape to attach the scion to the mother shoot then wrap the parafilm around the scion just covering the end of the vinyl tape wrap- stretching it all the way over the top of the scion. The buds grow right through the parafilm- that is the point.

Apples and pears don’t generally require parafilm but I find it very useful for more difficult species such as stonefruit. I use it for pears and apples as a luxury thing. Maybe it increases the percentage of takes when I don’t line up the wood well.

Pretty much, yes, but the one notable difference is that it’s impractical to keep rootstocks in pots for extra years, so I’m eager to graft them sooner instead of dealing with huge pots, whereas I’ll commonly let in-ground stocks size up further. The potted trees I mentioned already here, by the way, are trees I’m wanting to give away, so I don’t really have the option of planting them first and grafting later. These aren’t bare-root trees that I bench grafted and then potted either; I started them from seed in pots.

Would you all not expect good takes with whip and tongue grafts on one year old potted pears? Maybe my technique isn’t the best, but it’s given me plenty of success over multiple years (mostly on in-ground trees.)

Interesting to me since I have a seedling apple to do in the same way. I kept bringing it inside last fall to protect the roots from freezing, then it got too late to plant out so it more or less stayed inside. It’s all goofed up now and still has not broke dormancy.
I plan to graft it in just the same way but if it doesn’t wake up soon all my scion wood will likely be no good.
I can’t think of any reason you should be having trouble, but so far this year is starting to look like a bad graft year for me for some reason.

Maybe both of our techniques aren’t all that great and the larger in ground trees providing more push just masks some of our less-than perfect work?

Certainly possible, but it also seems like I’ve had pretty good success grafting some pretty small in-ground trees, so I don’t know what to think. Maybe simply being in a pot or something about the particular potting mix I’m using… is having an effect completely apart from differences in the size of the stock.