If you manage an orchard in Washington state one of the guys on your short list may well be Ken Coates.
After 40 years in the business, for the 2018 season, Ken is using YouTube to share his personal and professional life as he practices his craft and works with his crew in the cherry and apple orchards. He explains in detail every aspect of the business, including how to select the best scion wood for the job, specialized tools and grafting techniques that he uses. He will even teach you how to properly sharpen a chain saw, and how to avoid cutting your leg off.
I’m puzzled over his statement you have to graft cherries early before sap flows. I’m quite experienced in grafting apples and plums but will do cherries for the first time this year. So I have absolutely no experience with grafting cherries. Until now I have assumed you treat cherries like you do with plums. Plums graft quite easily when the rootstock starts to leaf out. That is the timing I aimed for the cherries too.
Does everybody agree with his statement to graft cherries early? Or could it be his climate calling for an early graft?
Read up on cherries and the perfect graft timing when I was going to graft cherries for the first time as well. I settled on grafting just before rootstock bud break. This was the advice I found for warmer winter climes.
He does not graft like the majority of people here. He’s top working large diameter mature trees while most of us are adding a new variety to a scaffold or pencil sized limb. You can’t argue with his success. I’ve grafted several cherries and I always graft them the same stage I do apples and pears. That is usually when the vegatative growth begins. I’ve had very good success with cherries.