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Re: [nafex] apple grafts

Ginda Fisher wrote:

> I did a bunch of grafts onto my crab apples last spring.  The goal is
> to
> test a bunch of cultivars under my conditions, and see which my family

What variety of crab is it.
Some scions seem allergic to some crabs.
I have had spotty luck grafting on crabs.
I think it is a poor choice for experimentation of varieties.
If yours goes like mine you can not tell how they will do on their own
tree such as M111, M9, M26 or BUD.

> likes best (complete with whatever insect damage, etc., we get.)  I
> will
> eventually plant one tree with something we like, and probably leave
> all
> the stray graftlings on the crabs, unless they cause problems.
> Most of them took last spring.  This spring, they are just opening up
> (a
> bit later than the stock - is that normal, or a sign of poor graft
> union?) and I see that a few of them are sporting pink buds.

Every variety has a different starting time in spring and it varies by
the mother tree, too.

> Is it okay
> to let them bloom this year?  Can the recently joined branches hold
> the
> weight of a fruit?  I don't care if fruiting slows their growth, as
> none

It does not hurt to let them blossom, but letting the fruit grow is
iffy. The weight could break off the scion. You should provide a sling
or some other support if you insist on growing the fruit.

> if the grafts is positioned where it could become a major branch - a
> couple of fruiting spurs would be ideal.
> Also, a few of the grafts which grew last year died over the winter.
> Is
> this common?  Would it have helped to wax the twigs?  It was mostly
> weaker, long thin growth that died back.  The thicker twigs and the
> shorter stubs all seem to have survived.

Very common for the weaker ones to die off the first winter.

> And my last apple question for the day:  I did some more grafting this
> spring (on the same two trees - poor little crabs) and I tried using
> strips of clear produce bags from the supermarket.  Mechanically, it
> worked pretty well, although I think I get firmer pressure from rubber
> bands.  Do I have to cover the plastic with anything else to retain
> water or keep out sun, or are the strips sufficient?  (I wrapped a
> little masking tape around most of them, just in case, but am
> wondering
> if that was necessary.)

I use Parafilm M for all my graft wraps. It is the profession wrap.
Available from supply houses and some local societies buy it in
quantities for their members. Most amateurs think it is too expensive
though. A $14 roll will last the average Nafexer a lifetime so in the
big picture it is not too expensive.
You can use the plastic electricians tape but you should slit it
lengthwise after the first season to let it grow in diameter. The
Parafilm deteriorates naturally so I don't have to worry about that.
Some use masking tape, but I prefer the electricians tape as an
I use the half inch wide and do not overstretch it. Overlap about a
quarter inch and just go up one layer.


How are the Huckleberries doing?
They are blooming here and the native bees are polinating them.
Plums and cherries are all through.
Most pears through too.
Half the apples are in full bloom and the later ones are not even budded
Good luck