Whip grafts -The bigger the diameter the harder they are to graft

I Bought three Redhaven peaches like that from the farm store last year. I was horrified when I saw the butchered roots. I planted them in compost mounds and 2 out of 3 lived.

I have been grafting whips with a utility knife this year. It’s much easier to replace the blade then sharpen a knife.


Here are the stats:

I looked back at some pictures I took last year to see what April 10th equates to and I have some of Apricots just starting to bloom. So this year, I’ll probably start grafting peaches around then. Last year I had just started grafting apples the week before, so i had thought it was pretty early for peaches, which is why I just did 3.

One other potential impact is that for later grafts, the scionwood has sat around in the fridge for longer.

How early did you do them, both by temps and bloom? I think I did most of mine when temps were at least in the 60’s, though they weren’t consistently there for the early ones.

I think there are multiple variables to really know the best. But doing it is stages helps you zero in on it, as well as spreading the risk around. It’s best to avoid 0 for xxx, which is possible with peaches. It’s much more forgiving with apples/pears. I’ve grafted apples in the dark (pick up a flashlight to check it maybe once or twice per graft) and gotten 50%+ success (95%+ normally). Now that I’ve got a head-lamp, I’m sure I can do even better :slight_smile:

I took Alan’s suggestion of making the cuts for splice grafts with pruners. Then I just need to get the angles to roughly match.


Yes, the first year this was a factor for me. It can be all of the problem!
I think it’s best to graft when sap flow is strongest, which is early., You tap sugar maples very early. So times and temperatures are going to vary depending on your location.

Even though there probably isn’t significant data, I’ve made a pretty picture from it. The results are surprisingly linear (R squared of .997). The success rate drop 1.77% per day. The biggest flaw I see is the tiny sample on April 10th (3/3 success). I suspect that if I had done 10-15 grafts I would have gotten something more like 80% or 90% at best.


Speaking of the data, there were more than 5 days that I grafted on. But rather than having a lot of datapoints with only 3-4 grafts, I grouped them when they were close. For example, 5/4, 5/6, and 5/8 are all bucketed together as 5/6.


The temps were in the low 60s and took a dive for about two weeks. These were all grafted to rootstock in pots. Mid April and all the peaches were in bloom here so I thought I would be ok… just didn’t count on the temp dropping for two weeks.

My thought is to wait after frost this time if I can control my enthusiasm. That would be mid May.

One important factor in these temps is if its sunny or not. I don’t know exactly how much the wood (the graft junction in particular) heats up due to sun but a guess is 10 degrees, and it could be even more. So, 60’s and sunny could be as good as 70’s with no sun. I have been waiting for highs in the 70s or 80s for peaches but am going to change that this year to also include highs in the 60s and sunny. Also it doesn’t have to be a good temp every day, I’m not sure how many days you need but if there are two good days in the 4-day window after grafting that may be enough.

I can’t imagine doing that, it seems like the cuts would be too coarse and not at a great enough angle. But, its clearly working…

The angle was the hardest part. Making the cut (as well as holding it together while binding) was easiest for the largest wood. Which is good, as those are the grafts that are harder (though workable) with clefts.

Probably more for me, given that I used black electrical tape (Temflex 2155).

I have some black tar tree wound spray I sometimes put on for a similar reason… then if it gets too hot I cover with aluminum foil.

I didn’t actually use it for that reason (to heat things up). If that is why it is working, it is just a happy coincidence. I like how tight I can pull it, yet the tree can still break though the rubber tape through natural growth.

Back when I used green plastic garden ties, I wasn’t very good about removing them- I still found some last summer, even though I hadn’t used it for 2 years…Shockingly, the grafts weren’t too badly mangled. It would have been much worse if it was a fast growing graft, rather than dwarf apples.

it is easier to graft to a stock that is bigger diameter than the scion rather than the other way around. I have used whip and tongue even when the scion is three times smaller than the stock, and that’s the most mismatched diameter I can do whip and tongue, aligning on one side. I can also do whip and tongue even if the scion is twice as big as my maximum limit of mismatch that I can comfortably do without taking a hit in success rates, beyond which I resort to chip budding when the barks aren’t slipping or to T-budding when the barks are slipping.

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Is the Temflex wrapped over the scions’s buds?Brady

Utility knives are certainly better than a dull blade, but aren’t as sharp or rigid as a grafting knife should be, in my opinion.

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You may be right. I was having a hard time putting a nice edge on a knife this spring untell I resorted to the bench grinder. I wish I could find straight edge utility knife blades.

So, what’s the rootstock on those? (Or do you roll the dice and see what turns up?)

I didn’t buy one yet, so I don’t know. There’s no info on the tag either, so it would be a guess. The tag recommend 15ft between trees, so it may be a semi-dwarf?

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No, just the union. I use parafilm for the rest of the scion. For that matter, I usually put some parafilm on the Temflex as well.

Vinyl electric tape sometimes chokes apples and pears but seem to stretch fine under the added pressure of peaches and plums- especially peaches. Peach scions can get very thick in a hurry, but the tape never constricts them no matter how tightly I wrap. The tape winds up about a third as wide.

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I’ve ordered from Bay Laurel and the roots were butchered, but the trees ended up fine. I guess trees are a lot more resilient than we think. I mean, butchered roots wouldn’t be my preference, but as you (and I) showed, it’s not necessarily a deal breaker.

Also, on the plus side, you don’t have to dig as large of a hole…so there’s that. :wink:

Yes, I like doing W/T even when there is a mismatch. Haven’t tried 3:1 but have gone around 2:1.

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Yes, the trees do recover but I’ve planted same size trees at same time, same species, and the trees with butchered roots seem to lose some time and take longer to establish. I won’t order from Bay Laurel again.