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[nafex] grafting trials

After my dismal first year of grafting (99) and the discussion on how "any
fool can graft"  I was beginning to worry that I was less than a fool, which
may be the case but not the subject at hand.  This year , a very cool and
wet April and May ,  I am joyed by sucess but have had a few problems.  For
my scionwood In late March I journeyed 30 miles south  and spent  a couple
enjoyable hours  labeling and bagging  as long time NAFEX member Doug
Clayton  pruned his cherries,plums and asian pears  and discoursed on their
merits.  A couple of weeks later I  got my neighbor Lou Jones, another long
time member, to come by for a  grafting lesson, which largly consisted in
getting him to do most of  my asian pear and cherry grafts which I valued
most highly.  He showed me  rubber banding , but mostly uses a modified
cleft graft wrapped with black electrical tape which he stocks up on during
the Christmass stocking stuffer sales to keep costs down.  He didn't like
the way I held the knife and whittled away to get a fit, saying practicing
was a good thing to do by the stove  long winter evenings.  I did do a few
under his watchful eye  and sucess was 100 % that day.  The folowing 2
weekends I grafted my  hybrid and european plums.  some rootstocks were
potted, some in the ground,  and some  UPS delivered.  I n general I had
very good sucesss with those potted or in the ground   and less with  the
store bought rootstocks which I either potted or put in garden rows.  The
least sucess was with European pears which I happened to graft and set out
before 2 surprising 90 deg days (probably the only we have had above 75 this
spring.  From this list , Pomona articles, and a perusal of the grafters
handbook,  I have concluded grafting is like growing tomatoes in that there
are many many  sucessful ways  and a few major pitfall s to be avoided( like
putting your tomatoes out before a frost.)  I have noted  very different
treatment of the grafted rootstock from leaving in a bucket in the shade
for a week, to callosing in the greenhouse, to setting out immediately.  I
suppose it depends  on the rootstock and your likely weather.  It has to be
quite ashock to the rootstock to be uprooted, put in storage, shipped, the
top cut off,  scionwood  taped on and stuck back in the ground.  Even after
a month,  many scion buds are swollen and show green  but have not opened
up.  I guess we all have to work out a system for our situation, but as most
of my trees are destined  for  locations on my property I am clearing now or
friends  homes I   see it easier to pot the rootstocks and better control
water and light and future transplanting.    vann     south central NH

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