Wrap Graft Too Tight?

Am doing post-mortem on four Spring 2015 pawpaw whip and tongue grafts that failed to leaf out. I just today cut them off and unwrapped the grafting rubber bands and parafilm.

The grafts “took” in that I can’t pull the pieces apart but they all failed to leaf out. I pulled the rubber bands very tight thinking that would help my only 50% past success grafting pawpaw.

It looks like the tight bands may have strangled the scion. What is the proper tightness on rubber bands? I’ve never had this trouble with hundreds of apple grafts.

I think that I wrapped grafts tightly enough to strangle them one year- I was using grafting rubbers and pulled them so tight that all the stretch was used up. They failed and when I pulled off the bands you could see the lines in the bark. (Imagine wrapping a finger real tight and then unwrapping it.) So since then I’ve gone to “snug” and “firm” and even “somewhat tight” but never “real, real tight!” (Sometimes I do “up tight” but that’s in a different context …

: -)M

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M- Yes well that’s what it looks like- I can see the rubber band wrap marks on the bark. Will have to ease up next year. Think I wrapped so tight after reading that pawpaw doesn’t callous as easily or quickly as apple. Because of this am also reluctant to cut off the bands in timely fashion as I’ve broken off tender grafts just by cutting the bands.


Always learning- by the time I’m 100 I should have some of this figured out. Thanks for your ideas.

Well, if you are grafting hard, twisted wood like jujubes or muscadines, tightening the bands until the wood aligns kinda makes sense. But…paw paw branches are hardly “wood” and are easily pulled snug w/o much persuasion. Maybe doing cleft grafts with twigs that are not very mismatched in thickness might be simpler. Only put enough band tension to hold the 3 pcs. snug, not smashed together wherein the soft, thin, fragile, paper-thin skin won’t get choked to death. Is the skin/bark on any other fruit tree as underengineered, underfortified, underdeveloped,or unfit for rough handling as paw paws???

Fruit- Thanks for bringing up pawpaw bark fragility- I had never really thought about it but now that you mention it that accounts for my strangulation crime against Asimina triloba. Next spring will be much gentler. I always tell friends that almost everything about pawpaws is just different, weird, unusual, which makes it very interesting. Always learning something new.

The “mega chip-bud bark inlay” http://www.redfernfarm.com/Practical%20Grafting.pdf is supposed to be good for paw paws. I’ve never used it, or grafted pawpaws, and haven’t found much research about it. Someone had this link in a thread this past Spring, but I don’t recall the thread.

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