Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Grafting quince today

A sucker from a quince bush that was moved into the orchard to serve as a rootstock.  It was moved a couple of months ago during a thaw and its roots have been settling in.  It is about four feet tall and is in a basin about two inches deep where the fill subsided.

Cut back to three inches of height.  I find that I can work with a three inch stub without plunging the knife into my thumb.  I have scars...

Nothing fancy.  I use a Stanley work knife.  I use a fresh blade that I clean with alcohol wipes before use.  I want to clean off the manufacturing oils that might contaminate the first few grafts.  I use whip-and-tongue grafts.  Thousands of pages on the web to tell you how to do the carpentry.

A scion.  This is a variety that was grown from seed that  originally came from a botanical collection in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  It is cold-hardy, early ripening and has never shown signs of fire blight in Oregon.

Most rookies think that the secret of grafting is in the carpentry.  I have not found that to be so.  I have worked with some very large (and ugly) diameter mis-matches.  The secret is in the armoring and the after-care.  I matched up one side of this graft and I chose to match the west side because the prevailing wind will put that side into tension.  Unhealed contact will transmit compression but tension will tear the graft apart if it is not healed on the windward side.
Rubber bands are awesome.  Stretch them as you wind them on and they will suck gaps closed.  I use common #32 or #33 that I buy by the pound bag.
Common rubber bands get shredded by the UV light in sunlight in about two weeks.  That is not quite long enough for the graft to knit together.  I wrap the rubber bands with common masking tape to protect the bands from the sun and to seal up any exposed wood on the bottom of the scion.
Then I wrap the rest of the scion with a product called Parafilm-M.  It is stretchy and adheres to itself and the buds can grow right through it.  I suspect it is also permeable to oxygen.
Then I make a personal greenhouse from my collection of used milk jugs.

I cut a 6" diameter hole in the bottom.  I cut off the top.  I sever the handle as shown.

Then I jam a piece of rebar through the hole to stake it in place.  I run the stake on the windward side of the grafted plant so the wind is less likely to bat the jug against the young plant.
The personal greenhouse seems to deter rabbits and provides a little bit of additional warmth.  I think the additional warm is primarily because it provides the healing graft with a dead-air pocket.

Notes for my records:

South row starting from the east end:
  • One tree of Rombough from the collection curated by L. Pittman
  • One tree of Claribel
  • Two trees of Skorospelka
Second row from south, starting from the east end:
  • Four trees of Tashkent
  • One rootstock too short to graft
Third row from south:
  • Two trees of Claribel
  • One dead rootstock
  • One rootstock too short to graft 
Fourth row from south:
Gnarly looking.
  •  One tree from scion collected in the alleyway between Clemens and Fairview near Kalamazoo Avenue
  • Two Pigwa S-1

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