Working with different sized scion wood- Advice for grafting new rootstocks

My advice on scions and rootstocks though simple can be a game changer to the new fruit grower. When your making your orchard dont order rootstocks and graft them though everyone says bench grafts are the way to go. Ideally bench grafts are great but in practice not so much unless you control your scion wood source. If scions are pencil sized no problem you can make short work of grafting but mine are pencil lead sized or smaller up to the size of your index finger. My advice is grow your rootstocks out a year and then cut them to match your scion wood next year. One graft is 6 inches from the ground another is two feet depending on the size you need is where you cut the rootstocks. Some people dont like that because they need to trim off rootstock growth at times. Cleft grafting takes longer and rind grafting aka bark grafts are just for larger trees. Rootstocks grown out a year also have a stronger root system to support the graft. Rootstocks are precut so if you order 1/4 or 3/8 that is what they all will be. Scionwood is like a puzzle to me each time i reach in my sack im matching wood with rootstock. Every type of graft has a different scion wood need so bark grafts its best to have thin wood whereas cleft grafts you want similar diameter smaller wood. Hopefully others will comment but i dont expect many people to agree since bench grafting is widely accepted. There method is right if it works for them and mine is right for me. Its best for new grafters to read multiple perspectives so you can choose and at times use both methods. I have a great respect for those same peoples methods i at times disagree with because what they do works very well for them.

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I was the biggest problem with my own grafting this year, and learned from it. I did it on a day I hadn’t planned to, my mind wasn’t clear and was not prepared, tools not sharp enough. That was bad enough but while I had perfect scion wood, the Bud9 rootstock I got from Burntridge was crazy small. I just don’t work well with small rootstock, it’s unforgiving to my lack of experience. The largest Bud9 was 3/16" and the rest half that size. I did several bad bench grafts and was running out of time so ended up parking scion wood on trees around the yard I hadn’t planned to and putting the Bud9 in the ground to grow out. Next year, I’ll be prepared!

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Sounds like resourcefulness at work. I guess I got all the good ones, as my B-9 and B-118 from BurntRidge were just what I needed, a little small and not quite all the same size, but definitely met the needs as my scions were all-over-the-place from size of the stem of a Qtip to size of a magic marker! (And none of the Burnt Ridge stock I got needed growing another year.) And my results are ahead of results of the G890 and G202 from Cummins Nursery…seems the G890 has the lowest take rate…and they were the largest rootstocks I received. (But, the large scionwood could have been a problem, as in maybe harvested early in the winter, I don’t know.)

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Speaking of success…match stem scions using a cleft graft with two scions to the rootstock…seem to have had as high a take rate as whip and tongue. I find that a little odd, but will take it.

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@Poorwolf
It sounds like you did your best with the type of a problem i was bringing up. In Kansas mm111 is a good rootstock in my opinion but other people sometimes use different things. Bud9 will not do well in this environment. Sounds like you did everything right!
@BlueBerry
Congratulations on your grafting it sounds like you were fortunate this year. We understand you made much of your own fortune.

Many of us make hundreds or more grafts every year. The more grafts made the more we realize how to improve our speed and technique. In many cases like @Poorwolf and @BlueBerry we do our best with the circumstances we are given.

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A few of my grafts last year still put out leaves and ‘took’ in May, so I’ve not given up this year. But, despite better weather and more experience, this year the take rate is down.

The worst percent is displayed where I grafted to seedlings and any failed rootstocks carried forward from last year…most of these had sap and some had leaves at time of grafting.

And G202 rootstock is in the lead with 19 out of 25 definitely having taken.

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Seedlings are a tougher group to graft to! Rootstocks that are made from cuttings are very easy to graft but genetically unique seedlings are the grafters biggest challenge!

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I guess I learned something. (Many of my seedlings are Antonovka, if that makes any difference?)

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Yes those are 5x as hard to graft as mm111 or something like that. I have seedling pears that will only accept one type of scion wood which i use an interstem and everything else is grafted to that.

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(Must be only TWICE as hard! As I have 40-something percent ‘takes’ on seedlings so far this year!) lol

I also think who I got the scionwood from and how ‘fresh’ it was has affected the odds also.
Some of my “perfect” (I’m a little prejudiced) whip and tongue grafts to G890 failed … and I was disappointed. Have 3 cultivars that 2 for 2 failed. Yet, some cleft grafts where I took match-stick sized little scions and stuck them into a G890 and they are putting out leaves.

It’s interesting…and as you say, clarkinks, a learning experience. Have a good 2019.

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Im glad to hear you had that good of take rates. Im not ruling out scionwood sometimes being the issue because at times it has been for me but 99% of the time its not the scionwood unless its visibly dry or visibly pushing green growth. What i suggest is find scionwood that grafted easy or cheat and use rootstock scionwood and graft a chunk to all those hard to graft rootstocks and then graft to that chunk of interstem. You would be surprised how mm111 would graft to those seedlings perfectly. 40% take rate is good for seedlings that just means you found the easy ones to graft. To complicate things further not all pear scions are compatable with ohxf rootstocks the same as not all scions are matches for your standard non seedling rootstocks. When that happens an apple called winter banana is your best friend because nearly everything grafts to that. I worked a lot with stubborn rootstocks and should write a book on it! I have some seedling pears that are a real pain! Those pear seedlings will make the best grafter feel like an amateur. The grafts on those fail 100% of the time. I messed around with that group of pears 5 years developing my own methods before i could graft them. Those rootstocks taught me more about pears than i ever wanted to know. The farmingdale pear as an example had 100% take rate on callery when 4 other types of pears failed. I laughed when i found out there is no farmindale in old home x farmindale rootstocks and that the other parent is bartlett. Anyway good luck and let me know if you need a stick of winter banana for a stubborn apple next year!

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Appreciate the information, advice, and offer for 2020.
But, you got me to thinking, I used to keep good records…
and sure enough, I have my records on my grafts last year.

Guess what? 11 out of 16 grafts took to seedlings for me in 2018.
. Again, most seedlings were Antonova.

Red Merylinn, Rhum aus Kirschwarder, Odysso, Kizil Alma 826, Red Devil, Rubaiyat, Blood Delicious, Maggy, a tree I’ll not name, and Carolina Red June apple all took to seedlings last year, and 2 each of Black Oxford and Roxbury Russett did not. (I did get a Black Oxford, cleft grafted to G30).

I have a number of Fuji seedlings I plan to graft to in 2020…see how that goes next year.

This year my 45 percent ‘take’ to seedlings may improve-- as hopefully a few more leaf out still yet.

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Sounds like you have a great plan! Another thing is its not to late in my area to regraft with scions of what did take. For example if i have problems and winter banana takes easy and i have 10 extra scions i go graft the dried out ones to wb. Tbudding is a good late season methos of grafting i learned from @fruitnut and he has a tutorial so dont assume you have any failures just yet. You can request tbud wood from ars grin in the summer for your experimental orchard.

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If you had Qtip to Magic Marker size it sure was all over the place! Glad you had good results, I’ll spend more practice time this summer and see how it goes next year.

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Seems a little peculiar, but I have as good a luck with a “side graft” as with anything.
(This is basically a whip & tongue but with quite a bit smaller scion wood…grafted to the side of the rootstock.)

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Nothing wrong with side grafting Side grafting. There are people who do prefer it especially for stone fruit.

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The two best looking grafts in my entire orchard are side grafts. I think because it allows access to a large amount of sap for the scion.

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I just chopped off a healthy G30 rootstock where the graft failed last year…and grafted a bark graft and also a cleft graft to it today. My first attempt to do two types of grafts at the same time on a rootstock (about 3/4 inch in size).
bb

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Good luck! I’ll be grafting a few G30 this year once they wake up. I’ll probably try the modified whip&tongue / side graft since the rootstocks are a bit thicker than my scions.

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I’ll up that report from 8 days ago! Have 3 more Antonovka that have taken and are growing.
And 2 more G890 and 2 more B118 and 2 more B9 and one ‘Frankentree’ graft can be added…
which brings the seedlings % above .50% and overall up to 72%
. So, I’m still hoping for 80% …but may not get that much.