Working with scions already breaking bud

I received some scions that the USPS was particularly slow in delivering and most pieces appear to be breaking bud (substantial green showing). I have root stocks ready to go, but was wondering what my chances were and if there any particular techniques I should use to increase my chances of success.

One thought was to pot up a few rootstocks and bring them into the house while leaving the scions in a fridge and wait a week to graft. I don’t know if that will hold the scions in check (36 degrees) and get the sap going enough in the rootstocks, but I thought it might help. Otherwise I’m worried about the scions getting too far and just drying up before the rootstock wakes up.

Another thought was to graft now, but put the grafts in pots and put them in an unheated crawl space with the pots on a seedling heating mat. That way the cooler air wouldn’t push the scions much while the warmer roots might get going.

Any thoughts?

Look at the bases for the least woken buds, and graft those as soon as you can. Wrap the scion completely or paint after grafting to prevent drying out.

I have had little luck with buds having more than a teeny bit of green, but many times when I thought scions were toast I looked over carefully and found one bud in there that was still relatively asleep and got away with a good graft with it. One sleepy bud is all you need.


Thanks Scott. I’ll graft them tonight, plant them out tomorrow and keep my fingers crossed.

Dang, this is great!! So much experience and wisdom. I’m glad I found this site after houzz was abandoned.

I agree to look for the sleepy buds if possible. However, I grafted quite a bit of scion wood which had woken up last spring. What I found is that as long as one is not budding (but scion grafting) the grafts would take.

When the scion buds have already sprouted, chip or T-budding doesn’t seem to work because the sprouted bud will wither and die before and callus connection can be made. However, with scion grafting, the sprouted buds have some “energy” reserves in the scionwood which will keep them alive until some callus forms.

I did wrap the whole scion in parafilm and waited till temps were in the 80s for the highs before grafting. This worked with peaches and plums.

I thought I would update this with a picture of one of my grafts appearing to take. I had 3 beefy but battered Bud9 rootstocks that I was going to use for a stoolbed, but since they were already waking up I used these with the scions that were waking up since these roots seemed ready to push some sap for the pushing buds. I put in 2 pieces of scion per root with cleft grafts and so far 2 of my 3 rootstocks show buds alive and starting to grow. I did pot these up and leave them in an unheated crawlspace for 2 weeks where the temps are in the low 50s so they’d have some time to callous while the buds would be still out of the sun.

My next question is that I used parafilm for the first wrap and then a rubber band on top. The rubber band has already deteriorated and fallen apart, so I’m wondering if I should rewrap with some of the temflex tape I have or if I should just let them be. Any thoughts on that would be greatly appreciated.

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I’m not an expert but I don’t think I’d rewrap them at this point. I wouldn’t want to risk disturbing the callusing or risk dislodging the graft.

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Thanks speedster. If I re-wrap them I’d be leaving the parafilm in place and just putting it over the top like I did with the rubberband. I realize now if the rubberband was under the parafilm it probably would have lasted longer. My main concern is that the graft will break without more support as the scions grow out and start to get pushed around by the wind. But since these are cleft grafts and have some built in tension keeping the scions in place, hopefully they’ll be okay if I just leave them be.

I personally would most definitely leave them be.

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Thanks. That’s what I’ve decided to do. I think the pressure from the cleft graft is pretty good for holding these little scions in place. Once they get some growth I’ll put a small bamboo stake in and tie the growing scion to that too keep it stable…and keep my fingers crossed.