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[nafex] Chip Bud Grafting--instant:TEXT
As processed By: Gordon C. Nofs
In Memory of Gilbert Becker
R.D. Goldner M.D,
Spring Meeting - 2000
Michigan Nut Growlers Association
East Lansing, Michigan
MICHIGAN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION
-ORGANIZED IN 1952 -
A Chapter of the Northern Nut Growers Association, Inc.
FOR THE PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN NUT BEARING TREES. THEIR PRODUCT*
AND THEIR CULTURE
A HEARTNUT BUD-GRAFT "TAKING OFF" UPON BLACK: WALNUT
Grafted May 1959. (Time to cut stock off "to the bud")
A SIMPLE EASY METHOD TO GRAFT WALNUTS
WITH 95% TO 100% SUCCESS
- SPECIAL EDITION -
MNGA Newsletter March 1966
MICHIGAN NUT GROWERS ASSOCIATION, Lee Somers, Secretary,
Rl. 1, Green Haven Farm, Perrinton, Michigan
BUD-GRAFTING MADE EASY
AN EXPLANATION WHY NUT GROWERS
"CHANCED" TO GRAFT LATE
Here is a quotation made by Mr. C. A. Reed, USDA, July, 1926, In
Chip-budding, which to done EARLY, when the bark will NOT yet slip, which
may be 2 weeks before the buds even start to burst, and such work can be
continued to the time the stock buds are bursting into leaf.
"Theoretically its field of usefulness should be very large. Actually It
has been much limited, and Its extensive use In the future now appears
Improbable, not because of any defect In the system but because other
methods have chanced to receive more attention at the hands of
Propagators and are therefore better understood."
In this same article Mr. Reed also tells us, "Early budding in this
way provides a long season for growth, and vigorously growing trees so
budded usually become of transplanting size by the end of the season."
BY ALL MEANS EXPERIMENT!
Those who haven't are in a rut! - They have followed a leader
Because of this blind following the whole northern nut growers are in a
rut! - They graft LATE, with very variable successes, calling It Luck,"
all because they have failed to question "WHY?" 95% to 100% success comes
by EARLY grafting!
BUD GRAFTING is an early method for high success. Investigate the reasons
For EARLY bud-grafting: - Learn why bleeding is no problem: learn how
butter-nut and Japanese walnut stocks-graft readily early; learn how
saleable nursery trees can be produced the same season by early
bud-grafting. Find out how much you have lost by grafting LATE!
ISN'T IT TIME WE FORGET "CHANCE" AND HAVE A THORO
ARTICLE ON EARLY SPRING NUT TREE PROPAGATION? -
SOMETHING THAT IS UP TO DATE!
95% TO 100% SUCCESS BUD-GRAFTING WALNUTS
REPORTED OVER 50 YEARS AGO!
(NNGA Annual Report, 1913, pages 66 to 68) Mr. J. B. Wiggins, of South
Caro-lina, tells EXACTLY what I am "preaching" today! - become an EARLY
He said, "What you call 'Chip-budding,' I call 'Bud-Grafting.' I get 95%
of chip buds to take in the spring. Remember, not to cut your bud too
thin. Go right Into It. If you do it right it will hurt your finger . . .
It won't dry out so quickly if you cut it thick (heavy), and it will
stand a better chance to live."
"I can get 100% to grow by chip-budding and in no other way."
POLYETHYLENE A GOD-SEND TO THE NUT TREE
Grafts wrapped early, much before the regular grafting season, are kept
fresh upon the tree under a polyethylene covering and will start into
growth just as soon as growing conditions become right. Widely separated
areas without cambium con-tact (Note) become connected with callus tissue
under polyethylene - and start to grow!
Trees seriously gnawed by rabbits or by meadow mice (or by accident),
and could otherwise only be saved by bridge grafting, when simply wrapped
up with a covering of polyethylene often survive.
It is important to recognize bud-graft death so the under stock can be
reshaped for next year's efforts. Deliberately select two or three buds
to avoid numerous small twigs, none suitable for budding.
I estimate 20% take with variation from 0-90% this season. What happened?
Most of my scions were cut within two days after a -5 F sudden December
cold snap, a real no-no from our ancient annual reports. Waxed scions
were kept in a large plastic bag in the refrigerator with newspaper that
was entirely too wet. Smaller diameter
Scions were less viable than the larger.
I placed a date and identifying tag on the first under stock and worked
consistently to the north. If I had only two takes, they would tend to be
at the start of the row indicating that the more viable buds were at the
base of the scion. A "Y" crotch with a take on each was not rare. The
shoots criss-crossed and resisted blowout; one could be used later for
scions, the other for the grafted tree. A string of takes, 6 in a row,
indicated that the condition of the scion wood and timing were right. I
have 3 takes out of 15 tries on the Johnson butternut, a
Cultivars that has resisted grafting for many years. Todd black performed
far better than average. Both were provided by Dr.L. H.MacDaniels; a ~
inch scion of Scringer black from Ernie Grimo provided all the takes I
had. My own smaller scions from last year's bud-graft failed; butternut
provided by C. F. Beckwith was excellent.
A Chamberlin scion from Fred Ashworth's tree did well. None of these
scions had been initially waxed. Knowing when to cut scion wood and how
to take care of it is without question most important.
My bud-plates tended to be thinner at the top and many times I noted that
healing did not occur there, but further below. Thicker wood at the top
of a bud-plate is obtained by a cut from above downward lo meet a similar
cut from below, and this is just what Gilbert Becker recommended. Scions
used up to the terminal bud required variable plates. You must .try
several methods before you can come to any conclusions. I have not
obtained the 95% take that Gilbert did, but I told you he was a tough act
to follow. In my opinion, this technique is well suited for northern
areas where a short season requires good growth for winter hardiness. If
it works in the South, prepare for 6-8 ft. scion growth.
Bud-graft preparation permits a moderate amount of sloppiness that would
be heresy for a true grafter. Gaps of 1/4 inch will fill in beneath the
plastic as long as it is intact, but this is undesirable at the top of
the plate. I use a knife with replaceable blades, which may be an even
greater heresy among you.
I want to list a series of trees that I have bud-grafted in increasing
order of difficulty: apple, pear, mulberry, plum, honey locust,
persimmon, black walnut, heartnut, butternut, chestnut, shagbark hickory.
Rapidly grown scions in good condition could alter this sequence
considerably. It is possible to buy l 1/2 to 2 ft. nursery under stocks
of apple, mulberry and honey locust, plant them in the early spring, and
bud-graft them a month later. Leaves are out, but sap flow is not such an
issue. Scion growth will be shorter, but adequate.
Honey locust is mentioned because Fred Ashworth found one with edible
pulp, now in care of Bill McKentley.
The condition of the scions and of the under stock, the timing of the
procedure, and the variability of the weather, makes bud grafting one of
the most fascinating means of woody plant propagation for the amateur and
semi-pro, if not professionals themselves.
How can this method work with maximal diurnal temperatures of 50-60 F if
82 F is required to activate walnut cambium? Radiant heat with plastic
enclosure produces a "greenhouse or hot-car" effect, thus we get the
necessary heat early in the season this way.
We have assumed that bud-grafting with dormant scion wood stopped with
the sap-flow as noted previously, but if we have evidence early in the
season that the scion wood is good and appears to remain sound, June
budding is worth a try even on under stocks that already have lost their
plates. With use of the H-type cut on the under stock and removal of the
central portion for exposure of the plate buds, the plate is prepared as
illustrated by Shreve (1975), although a somewhat longer, tapered cut may
be placed on each end of the bud-plate. After insertion under the flaps,
the tie is completed with the same plastic wrap used in spring budding,
covering cuts with the plastic and leaving the waxed bud exposed, an
advantage of the waxing process. I had only one take with a Booth
butternut applied 7/4/78, but it might be far more successful in June if
you can keep your bud-wood viable. This method will result in smaller
growth, but possibly still larger than greenwood budding. Gilbert urged
us to experiment, and it is truly a joy to find that every action is a
BECKER, GILBERT. March 1966. A Simple, Easy Method to Graft Walnuts
95% to 100% Success. MNGA Newsletter. Special Edition.
BECKER, GILBERT. May 1966. A Simple, Easy Method lo Graft Walnuts With
to 100% Success. MNGA Newsletter. Special Edition.
SHBEVE, LOY W. 1975. Black Walnut Propagation Techniques Used in the
Improvement Program at Kansas State University, 66th Ann. Report NNGA p.
CHIP BUDDING BLACK WALNUT SUCCESSFULLY
We plant black walnut seeds two inches' deep with or without hulls four
inches apart in rows thirty. Inches apart. A two-inch mulch is then
applied. This mulch is either 'turkey brooder house litter, wood chips
or walnut hulls.
In the spring if weeds are a problem, we spray with Roundup before the
walnut seedlings emerge. The seedlings, are cared for by ordinary garden
practice. A very high percentage grow to thirty inches in height with a
caliper of. three-eighths to one-half inch. These seedlings are then
ready for budding the following year.
Here in central Iowa we cut scions in mid to late March before the buds
begin to swell. We prefer to store scions no longer-than necessary.
Vigorously growing wood of last year's growth three-eighths to one-half
inch diameter is preferred, At the start of the growing season: soon
after bud break, we start chip budding- Stocks must be in a vigorous
growing condition. If the spring has been dry adequate watering should
have been done to assure vigorous growth. Buds are applied two to three
inches above ground.
Start the cut. on the stock from the top, cutting through the cambium,
but removing little, or no wood. The chips should be about, one and
one-quarter- inches long.. At the bottom cut-in a downward diagonal: and
remove the chip. Take the scion and starting one-half inch above, the
bud and cut a matching chip.. This chip should be a near duplicate- of
the chip removed from the stock.. The length, of this chip will vary with
the chip buds method.. In illustration: number- two the lower part of
the: chip extends under the bark at the lower end. In illustration number
three an additional, flap is, cut in the-upper end of the stock, and the
chip is slipped. under this flap also..
Starting below the bottom of the chip using one-half inch masking tape,
wrap diagonally just missing the bud and continue to above the top cut
Repeat this operation wrapping in the opposite direction. If any cut
portions are missed cover, with a small piece-of tape. The tape wrapping,
should be done firmly.
Next, using waxed string starting below the cut area, making at least
three turns below the bud, and cross, over behind the bud, and make at
least three turns above the bud, then continuing this operation back to
the starting point. Wrap tightly. Do not cut stocks back at this time.
Cut the' stocks off about twelve inches above the buds ten days to two
weeks after budding. The: purpose of this stub is to tie the new growth
to a vertical position. Later in the season a stake may be required.
When a good portion of the buds have grown to about two inches make a
vertical, cut on the stock opposite the bud to cut through the string and
the masking tape.
Every few days, it will be necessary to rub off growing buds from the
Mainly Detroit housewives rated the varieties in order of first to fifth
choice. Point summations indicate that the varieties may be grouped in
three general classes as follows:
Highest ratings-Fickes, I E 15, Metcaife, N Ci, Greenhaven and Gratiot.
Medium ratings-McDermid, Lake, IvicKinster, Somers, Colby, Merkel and
N.H- K #1. Lowest ratings- Hansen, Broadview, I E 15 and Neyer No. 4.
The reasons for placement were not requested from the panel judges.
It appears however, that fairly large size shells and light colored
kernels were favored. Unfortunately it was not possible to repeat the
preference test with another group of judges.
Conclusions drawn from evaluation tests increase in validity with large
numbers of samples from various localities and over long periods of time.
It is suggested that these tests be continued, not only in Michigan, but
also in other areas where Carpathian walnuts are grown. Superior clones
may then be selected for each section which may be expected to produce
desirable type walnuts more effectively.
1. Fischer, W. N" F. L. S. O'Rourke and R. R. Dedolph. 1961. Mich.
Sta. Qliar. Bul. 44:245-247.
2. O'Rourke, F. L. S. 1961. The Michigan 1960 Carpathian Nut Evaluation.
Rpt. Nor. Nut Gnvs. Ass'n. 52:60-61.
3. O'Rourke, F. L. S., R. R. Dedolph and H. E. Larzelere. 1963.
Characteristics as Inferential Indices in Variety Discrimination. Proc.
Soc. Hort. Sci. 83:370-373.
Further Experiments Bud-Grafting Walnut Trees
GILBERT BECKER, Climax, Michigan
I am interested in the propagation of nut trees, not as a nut tree
nurseryman, but more as a research interest than for any other reason. I
have a small planting of seedling black walnuts about seven to nine years
old in rows, where I conduct many hundreds of experiments each year. I
will freely admit many ideas have been "fool notions"! After some
successes and many failures, these trees are again cut low, so they may
grow back enough for further attempts bud grafting. I wish to say I feel
I know how to graft walnuts quite successfully and have written much on
the subject, but the idea of budding walnuts early in the summer is
really a challenge, thus why my attention has recently been so directed.
You will notice I call my method "bud-grafting". I distinguish bud
grafting from regular budding because in my method wood is taken with the
buds For this reason it is more like grafting.
When you read the back NNGA Reports you will find many conflicting and
confusing articles written on budding nut trees, done early and during
the early summer months. Those that say to bud walnuts from about July
15th to August 15, or even early in September, perhaps centering around
August 1st, I do not question because they are correct. As a research
project I am especially interested in early budding. As many now know,
nut trees can be budded with a portion or full green leaf attached. (Mr.
Virgin Drake, County Line Nursery Hartford, Michigan, has improved
somewhat on this method and now propagates many of his nut trees by this
The following are conclusions drawn from my most recent experiments with
1) Bud-graft early (May 1st to about May 20th in Michigan). This method
is similar to "Chip-budding", where the stock is cut into, exposing the
sapwood. (Failure-and it is total failure-commences as soon as the leaves
of the stock are about i/2 grown.)
2) Bud-grafting is especially valuable to the nut tree nurseryman because
it works best upon one-year-old growth. Stocks as small as a lead pencil
up to 11/9 inches in diameter work very well. Trees that have failed to
take from previous attempts may have the resulting one year-old growth
readily bud-grafted the next spring.
3) Young seedlings of walnut and chestnut (probably hickories and pecans,
too) can be topped a week or more in advance, and easily bud grafted very
early in the season. The season starts before the bark slips in late
April and continues to the time the stock buds are bursting, just before
they become flabby. It is apparently best to remove the tops from the
stocks to be grafted a week or more before placing any buds. Leave one or
two buds on the stock, immediately above the location of the split-scion
bud-graft. All other buds are removed below the set bud. As soon as the
bud-graft shows signs of swelling or bursting, all near buds are removed
except one bud above the swelling bud, which is allowed to grow some. As
soon as the favored bud has grown three or four leaves, all else can be
removed, and a long growing season is assured the new graft. This method
gave good success with black walnut and chestnut stocks.
4) With older stocks bud-grafts should be placed in stocks without
heading back. Walnuts respond well. Buds can be placed from late April,
before the bark slips, without any kind of preparation. Fully dormant
scion wood is recommended. Japanese walnut and butternut stocks work best
done early. As soon as the set bud starts to swell, the top can be cut
back to one-half to two-thirds, even to 6 or 8 inches above the set bud,
much depending upon the size of the stock tree, but be sure always to
leave some leaves above the favored bud. In ten days or as soon as the
new bud has grown at least three or four leaves, the top can be removed
entirely. In working seedlings, breaking over the top to force growth and
stripping their leaves off was not as effective as gradual top removal.
Do this carefully not too fast or death is sure to follow. Remember a
graft is not safe until it has grown at least three to four leaves.
5) The second period of success by this method again occurs around August
1st to 15th, when new wood of the season can be used. This is at the time
the top is preparing for winter and should be done early enough to get
6) "Split-scions" are not actual halves, as might be imagined by their
name. They are all shapes and sizes, just as long as they are longer than
wide and contain wood attached below the bud. Some may prefer to call
them plate buds, but the method of inserting is much different than a
plate bud. They are often shaped from the backside of the bud by cutting
a deep and long slope, or no slope at all, behind the bud selected. The
cut may be to, and parallel with the pith or deeper than the pith. The
desired length is usually about 1 1/2 inches long with the bud midway.
Many times the wood is cut on a long slant, as shaping a slip bark scion,
then cutting off so the lower bud is all that is left, which is inserted
into a "T" opening in a stock. The majority is made from the side of the
bud by pressing the grafting knife well into the wood about % inch below
and above the selected bud. A long shallow slice is then made; starting
about one-half inch above the upper mark so the cut between the two cross
cuts will be nearly the same depth for its entire length. When the knife
touches the lower cut the bud will fall free, ready for insertion.
These shallow cut split-scions fit nicely into the "barn-door" type of
bud opening. Thin, angular, ridged, slender bud pieces can be
successfully bud-grafted to very small stocks. It works with Chinese
chestnut which is so often claimed to be hard to bud and graft by other
7) Always use good dormant scion wood. The best scion wood is cut in late
fall or early winter, long before we have zero weather. This is
especially true when saving English walnut wood. Mr. Harrington, in
describing his Harrington scion box, in 1930, twice cautioned everyone to
save their wood the last week in November, and store under ground in the
type of scion box he had used successfully for many years. I find cutting
wood in late November or 'the first week in December, and burying them
over winter in a pile of maple leaves, a simple and excellent method. A
piece of tin, better yet, a hood from an old car laid over the pile will
keep out excess moisture. However, many buds placed last spring were cut
directly from the parent tree and placed upon the stock tree. This can be
done freely until parent tree buds swell and become flabby.
8) Buds set on an arching branch, on the upper side, often take easily.
9) Buds seem to take well by this method however placed, without due
regard to the cambium being in contact. By taking wood with the bud there
seems to be enough nourishment to sustain the bud for sometime. It is
wrapped under a polyethylene strip, which encourages callous formation
and protects it from drying out. Most buds are soon engulfed in callous
work, and are quite sure to take, especially when placed early.
10) Rubber budding strips are used frequently, merely to position and
hold the bud-graft in place, and then a narrow strip of polyethylene is
wrapped over all leaving only the bud exposed. In wrapping, I often
allow for drainage. The very early placed buds did not have any knife
mark for drainage and took well. This can be a knife mark through the
bark below a bud-graft, so sap can escape if it collects. Such a mark can
extend below the lower swapping.
Summer Budding of Carpathian Walnut
VERGIL DRAKE, Hartford, Michigan
The "split-scion" method of budding differs from the ordinary patch bud
method in that quite a bit of wood is allowed to remain beneath the bud.
The bark, however, is removed from. the stock in the same manner as for
patch budding. The "split-scion" bud method allows the leaf to be
attached until union is complete.
The "split-scion" may be inserted at any time between June 15 and August
15. The bark of the stock should be turning from green to brown and the
bud should be at least one-half grown.
The bark must slip well before the bud is inserted. Unless there have
been frequent rains it is necessary to irrigate the stocks three weeks or
more before budding and again just after budding to assure good growth
and callusing. Hot weather at this time encourages callusing.
The bud is placed on the west side so that the shoot will grow into the
prevailing wind. Here in the Michigan Snow Belt we bud one to two feet
above ground so that the new shoot will not be damaged by snow slides the
The bud is placed on the cut patch of the under stock and held by as
small piece of bark of the stock at both upper and lower ends. It is then
wrapped securely to the stock by wide rubber budding strips.
Next spiral wrap both bud and leaf with two-inch strips of polyethylene
plastic from well below the bud to beyond the end of the leaf.
Tie at top with a rubber budding strip and shade from the direct rays of
About two weeks after the bud is set cut a spiral girdle in the bark of
the stock three inches above the bud. This encourages the bud into
growth. Any bud that starts during the summer and grows into a shoot one
inch or more in length will break out into new growth the following
When shoots are six inches long, cut back the stocks to one or two
branches and tie the shoots to the stem of the stock with cloth strips in
order to secure upright growth. The stocks can be cut back to the
bud-shoots the following spring and the trees transplanted to their
RICHARD D. GOLDNER, M.D., Birch Run, Michigan
The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know
when we pass it - so fine that we often are on the line and do not know
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Few comedians care to perform after George Burns. Gilbert Becker is a
hard act to follow. He published the basics of "bud-grafting" in special
1966 editions of the Michigan Nut Growers Association Newsletter and
recommended this method for especially hard to graft woody plants with
emphasis on 95% or better takes on nut trees. Salable trees could be
produced in one growing season when all the plant energies were diverted
into a single bud. He emphasized that heartnut, butternut, black and
Persian walnut, or any hard to graft plant, might respond to this method
which could also be used for top working by stubbing limbs late in spring
and bud-graft sprouts the next spring.
My primary qualifications for speaking to you are that all my ancestors
came from the southern Rhine Valley, and I made a lot of mistakes since I
read Gilbert's articles.
To keep dormant scion wood is an art in itself and subject to individual
opinions. For optimal diameters, I would suggest that you look at your
fingers, but we seldom get this size of new growth.
Diameters down to 1/8 inch and even less might be used, but are harder to
keep viable. Persian walnut wood is most subject to winter damage and
should be cut before the deep freezing temperatures of December.
I prefer to wax the entire cool scion with a 50-50 mix of Parowax and
beeswax melted in a tin can in a boiling water bath and painted rapidly
to give thin, uniform coverage after quickly dipping each end of the
scion into the mix. Thereafter, scions are kept in plastic bags with some
moist agent in a refrigerator at approximately 34 F.
Be just as careful with scions in the field as you have been all winter.
You may cook a bunch of them on a hot day in a plastic bag in a few
Chip budding is begun here around mid-April when the under stock buds
begin to swell, the most reliable indicator for all areas.
When forsythia and amelanchier bloom, you are well along in the season.
When crabs and redbud bloom, and the mosquitoes start to bite, you are at
the end of the budding period that lasts about one month.
This year was particularly favorable with a cool spring and gradually
rising temperatures without excessive rain. When buds are placed because
of premature heating trends that push the under-stocks too rapidly,
subsequent cold snaps will bring losses. I suggest that the first budding
be done with heartnut and butternut as they are more hardy, break buds
earlier, and will lake lower night temperature variations better than the
Persian walnuts. A somewhat thicker budplate early in the season with
extra heavy wrapping may afford protection from more severe weather
variations. Waxing, likewise, protects exposed buds.
The ideal black walnut under stock is 4-5 ft. but could be from I to 8
ft. or more. I have had very little luck with I ft. one-year seedlings;
you stand on your head lo place the bud and the under stock suckers from
the base rapidly and requires close watching. A larger southern I-year
under stock might do nicely. Scions are preferably somewhat smaller in
diameter than the under stock. If the proportion gets to about % of the
under stock, results can be hurt because the bud-plate is thinner and the
depth of the cut into the under stock is shallow. This results in heavy
cambial overgrowth, plus a likely failure of the bud-plate. This problem
might be partially overcome by cutting the bud-plate with a boat-shape
cross-section with placement into a corresponding trench cut into the
under stock (it hasn't worked yet).
Almost every cut with bud grafting is made toward the grafter, yet with
care, injuries may be few. Brace your thumb against the wood opposite the
knife. Try to remove bud-plates consecutively from the base upward and
cut off the used scion to avoid collapse of the scion with resultant
bloodletting. Trimming the angled underside of the bud-plate a few
hundred times eventually leaves the tip of the thumb tender.
I cut above the bud of the scion 1/2 to l inch, coming down near mid
thickness of the scion so that the bud is at the deepest part of the
plate, and then continue below the bud for approximately 1 inch. A second
cut at the base of the plate angled 45° toward the bud releases the
plate. The under stock is prepared by a cut from below upward to simulate
the shape of-the bud-plate, but leaving it slightly wider and perhaps a
bit shorter. The bud-plate width must be exceeded somewhat by the cut
into the under stock. If the bud-plate end overlaps, e.g., at the lop, a
cut is made to exactly approximate the cambium of the bud-plate and under
stock. Any overlap of the bud-plate on the under stock cut will result in
The bud-plate is commonly placed 1/4 to 1/2 inch below a bud of the under
stock, which Gilbert felt stimulated the take even if this under-stock
bud was later rubbed off. He also emphasized that a more horizontal
lateral branch favored the bud-take; this permits several bud-plates on a
single under stock if you have more scions than under stock.
The polyethylene wrap is 1/2 inch in width, 12-16 inches in length, cut
from a plastic bag of 3-mil thickness. Wrap in the bud-plate from below
upwards: The Persian walnut plate has a tendency to widen at the level of
the chief bud where it may protrude. This can be trimmed and include just
a bit of the under stock so that we have exposure of mutual cambium just
before the plastic seal. At the level of the bud, it is important to use
the 180-360° turn on the plastic in order to make a vapor-tight seal, yet
expose the buds. Also remove any under stock buds that might be wrapped
under the plastic and avoid wrapping in the under stock bud just above
your bud-plate. Pull the end of the plastic strip through a loop to seal
the operation. Take care if you have heavier thickness or glossy
polyethylene or are operating in low temperatures. Do not leave a long
piece of plastic dangling in the wind to vibrate the wrap loose. Use a
bit of masking tape to overlap the tie if necessary.
The bud-plate is commonly placed W-SW against prevailing wind with
exposure to the sun. Later in the season the plate might be placed more
to the north to prevent excessively rapid bud-break before cambial
junction. Once the bud-graft is growing, suppression of the under stock
is handled similar to a standard graft; scrape the buds off with the back
of the shears.
If a bud appears to be doing little after a month, the wrap may be slit
off and direct inspection made. A wet plate may fall off spontaneously or
with minimal lateral pressure by the thumb. If the plate is green,
especially when nicked by the shears, rewrap the plate and leave as many
potential buds as possible exposed, as the vapor-tight seal is no longer
necessary. This can be especially true if a portion of the bud plate
includes second-year wood, which contains numerous buds and was
particularly favored by Gilbert for an optimal chance.
If a shoot is growing strongly with the plastic wrap off, the final cut
may be made across the bud-plate flush to the shoot If healing has been
imperfect, the plate may be torn out by the shearing action, but this can
be avoided, in part, by placing the cutting edge of the shears across the
bud plate before the pressure is applied.
Near the end of the time for this budding procedure before sap flow has
begun, but before heavy rain, several methods may be worth a try. Extend
a 1-2 inch long, vertical cut through the bark just below the bud patch
and you have sap-flow source that I have seen work. Partial removal of
under stock limbs may help. A 1/2-inch triangular piece of bark removed
below the bud patch and not completely overlapped by the plastic wrap
would also give a drainage spot. A slanting cut or two on the trunk of
the stock my help, but beware of crown gall. Defoliation of advanced buds
above the graft might be worth a try. "Flabby" under stock buds were
While bud-grafting on sandy loam, great care most be used to keep the
blade from contamination with the earth or crown gall might be an
integral part of a "successful take. I slip my knife into the upper part
of my boot while wrapping bud grafts. Alcohol wipes in aluminum foil may
be carried to cleanse the knife to prevent transmission of this and other
diseases, such as bunch disease.
Gilbert relied on a swelling of the cambium at the top of the bud graft
to indicate the start of a take (Figure 1). I have found it easier to
watch the buds as they swell and become green. Before the bud fully
breaks, 1/2 the top of the stock from the bud-plate may be removed and
the buds stripped from the stock down to the bud-plate.
If progress continues, 50% of the remainder of top-top may be cut. When
good three-leaflet formation has developed at the bud plate the stock may
be cut just above the level of the plastic wrapper (Figure 2). The longer
a shoot grows before the plastic is slit, the greater the hazard with
wind. It is suggested that the slit be made when the shoot grows approx.
3 inches long. The plate may be healed on only one side and if not
rewrapped at the bottom and top, will open widely and fill with cambial
tissue. This may leave the graft susceptible to winterkill, especially if
it is Persian walnut.
This July provided more high winds than rain and the result was at least
20 bud-grafts blown out. If the wind comes from behind the graft the
entire plate is often torn out. Usually the bud-plate remains and in the
earlier part of the month there is at least a 20% chance that a bud might
regenerate; continued suppression of under stock buds for a couple of
weeks is worth a try. If a blowout is found fresh enough, its basal buds,
without leaves, may be bud-grafted.
Insects cannot be ignored. A round to oval 3-4mm black or mottled black
and brown beetle loves early growth of butternut and black walnut and is
able to chew a bud out. Johnson's aerosol Raid driven into the wax cover
provides some residual protection to buds and small leaves. The roving
tent caterpillar climbs to the developing bud-graft and deserves similar
treatment. Many luminous green beetles riddle unprotected leaves until
their reproductive cycle is completed. Large bud-grafts that have
completed growth can be defoliated by the walnut caterpillar in August.
Raid does them in nicely. For the first time this season I found two
bud-plates with white worms, one filamentous and lively about 3/4 inch
long, another about 1/2 inch, fat and sluggish. One had entered the plate
by boring a neat, round hole through the plastic wrapper which points up
another reason to inspect the wrapped plate that appears troubled.
FIGURE 1. A chip bud of Johnson butternut made in the spring on a lateral
branch of black walnut. The swelled bud. May 21, indicates that one-halve
the top of the stock should be cut back.
FIGURE 2. Bud-break of Booth butternut photographed on May 27. The stock
can be cut back to the level of the plastic wrap in one week.
BUD-GRAFTING MADE EASY
WHY GRAFT WALNUTS EARLY?
1. FOR GREATEST SUCCESS. (Most species of deciduous trees and shrubs bud
or graft BEST when their stock buds are swelling, before they become
2-TO ESCAPE THE UNDULY HEAVY MID-SEASON SAP FLOW. (The bud graft heals in
before this unruly sap flow commences, which occurs in the walnut species
at the time stock buds are bursting well to the time little leaves are
unrolling, about May 10th to May 15th In southwestern Michigan.)
3. -FOR A LONGER SEASON OF GROWTH FOR THE NEW GRAFT. (Nursery seedlings
bud-grafted early are often of saleable size by the end of the season')
4. -THE NUT TREE PROPAGATOR CAN EXTEND HIS SPRING GRAFTING OVER A MUCH
LONGER PERIOD-from April 15th to about June 1st In Michigan.
5. - NURSERYMEN DOING MUCH GRAFTING CAN START EARLIER AND BETTER KEEP
THEIR HELP MORE EVENLY EMPLOYED, thus lessening the load during the
summer months when much budding is performed.
6. - BUD-GRAFTING INJURES THE TREE VERY LITTLE, and If some failures
should occur, they could be stubbed and grafted a few weeks later during
the LATE grafting period; thus a "double chance" the same spring!
HOW TO CUT AND PLACE THE BUD-GRAFT
Mark the length of the bud-graft about one-inch below the selected bud on
the bud-stick, cutting with a knife a square or a slanting incision, as
preferred. Then make the in-cut on a slope about one-inch above the bud
well into the wood, thence down and parallel under the bud. Joining the
lower cut. Prepare the stock similarly and set the bud into this opening.
Wrap up with a strong strip of polyethylene, leaving the main bud
exposed. That's all there is to it! Remember, as long as the hole you set
your prepared bud into appears larger to the eye than the bud piece you
have done it O.K.! Under polyethylene widely disconnected areas are soon
enveloped with callus tissue - and the bad commences to swell and grow!
AS YOU BECOME ADEPT CUTTING BUD-GRAFTS YOU MAY WISH TO
IMPROVE UPON THE SYSTEM} (That Is, cut-in BOTH ways, thus making
A heavy plate bud graft)
Gordon C. Nofs
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