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Randy Bucher
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Going to bench graft some apple trees with EMLA 111 and EMLA 7 rootstock.  I am going to be planting them in 3 gallon round containers. 
Going to try and build some shelves for them to sit on for the 2 weeks healing period in which I can keep the temp right for them and need to figure out the spacing between shelves.



My question is: if the container is 11 inches high,  what will the height of the final graft be -  rootstock + scion + container =  ?
( how far will the rootstock and scion stick out of the container )


Thank You
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Grafts always should be above soil level. Most are around 3-4 inches above the soil level of the root stock.

Scion length is indeterminate. That usually depends on the length of the scion stock, which will most likely vary piece to piece.

container height + root stock height + scion length = grafted tree height, add to that at least 4 inches for first leaf growth and any extra measurement needed if you are going to use grow lights for stimulation of growth.


Redhawk
 
John Saltveit
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Many times bench grafters are urged to use no more than 3 buds so you don't overwhelm the energy of the tiny rootstock. That usually comes out to about 4-5 inches.
John S
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Steve Sherman
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You may find it easier to put the newly grafted bare root trees in cold/cool storage for a month before potting them. I have generally done that with my bench grafts. I make the grafts, re-wrap the roots in moist newspaper or the like. wrap the bundle in plastic (usually the same plastic the root stock was shipped in), put in a box to eliminate undue movement, and put the box in a corner of my root cellar. The 35-40F temp there is fairly good at letting the graft heal over. Last year I had 93% take using this with apples. Note that these temps are probably not ideal for stone fruit grafts.

The main advantages are: the new trees take a lot less space this way, at least for a while, and you avoid the handling of plants until the graft has had a chance to heal.

 
Cody Gillespie
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Im not sure if those rootstocks are more troublesome than standard rootstock, which is what im use to grafting, but it seems to me your over thinking this.  From my experience apples are extremely easy to graft with very high success rates.  What i do is start grafting in mid march through mid april(in mid missouri)  and plant them right in the ground outside, either in its final position or in a nursery bed for a year.  No need to worry about a healing period they callus up just fine.  I have done hundreds of them that way and almost every graft has been successful.  You could just put the pots out in your back yard and be fine but i would do it when spring is just starting when things are starting to green up outside but its still cool.  Another option would be to bury the pots up to to top and plant in that.  The earth will keep the pot more stable with moisture and temperature and you would still have your pot for easier transplant next season, if thats what your doing. 

As for height of graft, that will depend on your scionwood size and rootstock size.  I graft anywhere from the bottom few inches of the rootstock all the way to the top of the rootstock maybe a foot or more up.  You never know what size scion your going to get and its very important to match diameters in the graft union, so you just graft at whatever height that match is at.  But that also varies with what type of graft your doing. For instance, i prefer whip and toung grafting and will do it anywhere along the rootstock that they match.  However if all i have is a really thin piece of scion, too thin to whip graft,  then i will switch over to a cleft graft and do it low on the rootstock and just accept the mismatched diameters. Those are usually less successful though but sometimes you got to work with what you have got.  Whatever you decide to do with them, i would say find a spot with plenty of room above them as they will all be a little different.  Getting the graft matched right and sealing everything up is probably more important than worrying about callusing as these guys are pretty bulletproof as long as you dont screw up the graft or let the roots dry out or start too late when its hot out.  I like parafilm for wrapping the graft and either hot wax or wood glue to seal the tip.   
 
Cody Gillespie
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I almost forgot, i did a video of last years grafting you may be interested in just to get an idea of what to expect as far as size and such.  Its kind of long but there is a fair amount of grafting shown in it and planting them.

 
Steve Sherman
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I hear what Cody is saying, and I think you need to filter all advise with some of the details/specifics of your location.

I generally bench graft in early March. The outdoor conditions here are too harsh then, to say nothing of the hungry rodents and deer, to put the new grafts outside at that time; beside the ground is still frozen. A month in a root cellar works for me in letting the callus form and lets the outdoors get to a more hospitable state. It also has an advantage of taking very little space. I typically pot the new grafts and grow them in GH after callousing as outside is still a bit rough here in April. If I lived somewhere where there would be stable and cool temps outdoors without serious sun and daytime heating I could plant them outside right after grafting, but that's not where I live.

Take into account what your conditions will be like and decide. For callousing, you want cool moist non-growing temps and conditions. Bright sun, high temps may cause the trees to attempt growing before the callous has formed (generally not ideal for the graft). Also think about how much care/protection you can give your young trees, will there be rodents and deer looking for a meal, will they get adequate water, etc, etc. Once you factor in all these things, you can make a good choice for your conditions.

 
Randy Bucher
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Randy Bucher wrote:Going to bench graft some apple trees with EMLA 111 and EMLA 7 rootstock.  I am going to be planting them in 3 gallon round containers. 
Going to try and build some shelves for them to sit on for the 2 weeks healing period in which I can keep the temp right for them and need to figure out the spacing between shelves.



My question is: if the container is 11 inches high,  what will the height of the final graft be -  rootstock + scion + container =  ?
( how far will the rootstock and scion stick out of the container )


Thank You


I live in central NC where I was planting my garden last year the second week of March  ( only had to cover them last year 2 times because of frost warning  , everything lived ) 
My plan is to start bench grafting Feb. 15th and keep them on the back porch ( which is enclosed ) for 7-14 days or until the callus has formed. At that time move them over to a non heated building until the weather had no more frost danger.
When I move them outside they are going to go under a car port so no direct sun would be on the grafts ( as I was instructed )
I have no deer or rodent worries at the current time ( grandkids are a different story )
 
Bill Weible
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Cody and all,  Thanks for the video very helpful, but I'd like to know how much cambium contact is enough.  I can't seem to get my scion and rootstock to match perfectly as I can see sunlight between them at places.  Is 30% contact enough, even less?  What's the minimum that will likely work?  What's been your experience?  Thanks, Bill (NewGrafter)   PS My cuts on both the scion and rootstock tend to "bow" rather than be perfectly straight cuts.   Any advice on that?
 
Cody Gillespie
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hi Bill,
Im not sure what the minimum percent of contact should be.  I think i would shoot for at least 50% or more.  I find that if the grafts are on small diameter wood, say 1/4" diameter or less, than it is ok if the cut gets a bow across the length of it, as long as the surfaces are very flat from side to side than the bow is ok.  This is ok because the small diameter wood is very flexible.  Simply use the parafilm as your wrapping it to wrap it very tightly, causing the wood to flex and it will take out the bow and the flat surfaces will then be in contact under that pressure of the parafilm.  This trick doesnt work on the thicker grafts however because the wood is too stiff.  Again the surfaces have to be flat and to do that there are a few things that help.  An extremely sharp knife, I use a fresh razor blade.  Get good lighting so you can really see what you are doing and take your time to train your eye to what flat actually looks like, if you look really close you may notice humps or cuts off to one side.  Keep whittling until its flat, the more you do the easier it is to see it quickly.  From what your describing about the low contact of your grafts, i suspect you need to take more time working on getting the cuts flat.  The good grafters that do it every day can make their cuts with one cut.  Not me, i got to whittle to get it right, but i know what it looks like when its flat.  Hope that helps, good luck with the grafts.


 
Bill Weible
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Location: Northern Somerset Co. in PA
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Cody, Thanks for the whittling advice...I did graft to the apple in my yard last year, but my success rate was dismal (about 10%).  But I was only doing whip grafting, not whip and tongue as I'm trying this year.  Plus I may have had some "too old" scions, more than 1 year old.  The root stock I purchased is right around 1/4 inch.  In practice on pruned wood from my apple, I've found if I cut the angle towards myself with one swift move it tends to come out flatter, although some maintenance work might be needed.  (And you have to be careful, don't want to slice yourself, these new blades are sharp and unforgiving.)   I really think the key is to get the diameters of the scion and root stock to match so you have the best chance of cambium to cambium contact and in your video, which I just watched again, I see what you mean by flat cuts, avoid the bumps between the edges that could keep the cambium from mating.  The fact that the wood will have some flexibility is a good tip as well, gives me a little more confidence.  I may even wrap the parafilm with rubber bands to provide some extra force between the two.  I'm in the western side of Pennsylvania, so it's getting time to do this and I'm excited to see how it all works out.

On another note, any tips out there on storing rootstock if I need to for a week or so.  Outside temps are expected to be 35 to 50 at night and around 50 - 65 daytime over the next week and I don't have  a frig with room to put these in so any suggestions are welcome.  Right now I'm keeping the roots, surrounded by sphagnum, moist in a plastic bag in the box they came in.   Thanks again, Bill        
 
Cody Gillespie
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Wow you got year old scion to take, even at 10% that sounds like you did good for being that old.  Yes the diameters are very important if you want to get the best contact.  Even with the correct diameters however, it is difficult to make the cuts perfect ovals that match eachother perfectly exact.    But that is ok, just get them pretty close.  Also remember to start the tongue just above the center of the oval, I start mine just above the tree core.  If you put the tongue in the middle they wont slide together snug at the correct location. Lock your thumbs together when you cut the tongues  so you dont cut yourself because that cut goes with the grain of the wood and once it starts it just lets go really easy and down comes your blade right into your hand.  It has put many grafters in the hospital so lock those thumbs.  I think if you take your time, and use fresh scion, you will have a much better experience this year.  Dont let last years attempt scare you, that old wood was probably the main problem.  Apples really are pretty easy to graft.  Sounds like you mentally have it figured out what needs to be done, im sure you will do great this year. 

As far as the root stock goes, i would probably take them out of the bag they are in and stick the roots in some moist peat and put them in the shade somewhere cool, in the garage or something like this.  They will be fine.  No need to stress over it if your going to be working them soon.  Worst that can happen is that they start leafing out, and even then you can still graft on them just fine.  I was just field grafting today on some rootstock that are starting to leaf out.  I remember stressing over that same issue when i started, most of the grafting information sources dont explain a lot of the details like this and leave you believing that everything must remain perfectly dormant and sterile in some highly controlled lab environment. 

Here is some other guy grafting in the field just like i was doing today, notice the rootstock has broke dormancy.

https://youtu.be/Q0Z5yiEt_Ro
 
Bill Weible
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Cody, just to clarify...I think the grafts that didn't take may have been scions over 1 year old, and the few that did work were first year cuttings.   A professor of horticulture I emailed at Penn State said this "Best scion wood is about pencil diameter and usually comes from branch suckers."  So I'm going back up to the homestead this week and get some branch sucker cuttings.   Buds are starting to push out now since it's warming up so that video on grafting even after dormancy is broken was helpful.  Neat tool that guy was using to make the cuts, I could see a need for such a tool at a nursery, but 176 bucks is too rich for what I'm doing!  I'm trying to save the "cow-shit" tree (excuse me, Dad said a cow took a dump and the tree grew) on the family homestead.  Have no idea of the variety and it only bears every other year, but it is a great tasting fruit.  Sweet and tart and ready by late July...great apple sauce.   I'm 63 and only wish I'd started this adventure much sooner.  I was having problems getting the tongues to overlap correctly but I see your point about the center of the oval and I have been careful with the knife, no injuries yet anyway.  Things are lining up better in my last few practices.  The tip on storing the rootstock is what the guy from Penn State said as well.  Thanks for all your advice and help, but don't be surprised if you hear from me again, Bill  
 
Bill Weible
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Location: Northern Somerset Co. in PA
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I've grafted my scion's to the rootstock, but have been told I need to keep them dormant (below 60 degrees, as best I can) until after the last threat of a heavy frost or freeze.  Here where I live that could be into late May or even later. So is this really a concern or can I plant them and just cover them with a 5 gallon bucket on nights it gets near freezing?  I only have 5 to plant.  The weather has been unusually warm this spring and the ground is warming quickly.  I'm a bit worried that they'll dry out, even though I am keeping them moist in sawdust and sphagnum   Thanks, Bill
 
Randy Bucher
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Hello Bill , The purpose of keeping them cool for 2-3 weeks before you plant them is to give the tree time callus ( heal ) before it starts using its energy to pushing the buds on the graft. I kept my grafts  a full 3 weeks in sphagnum moss before I planted them into containers. At that point the scion was pushing the buds ( seen the buds turning green and getting bigger) and the last frost was well behind us. I am not sure if you should plant them outside but I would keep them cool until the " grace period" is up to allow the grafts to heal. If you have temperatures going below freezing you might consider planting them into pot and place them outside during the day and bringing them in at night. If you allow the buds to get real big before you plant them then the are very fragile and a bump or something can knock them off. When the temp. around here dropped into the mid 30"s ( 39 or  below ) I would bring my trees inside. I did not want the cold to stress them any more then they already were. As long as you have sealed the top of the scion where you cut it then it should not dry out along with making sure you have a tight fit of parafilm etc around your graft union. I am not sure how long till your last freeze or cold spell is but this may help you out. I am actually growing mine in containers and not planting mine till fall here. It is an extra step on the ones I am going to keep but it also lets me have a little more control over them.
  On a side note, if you plant them into containers then they are easier to maintain if you get bug problems as well...
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Ben de Leiris
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Good info in here. I'd like to know more about caring for young trees further on. I grafted 10 trees this spring; 9 of them took and have been living outside in 1 gallon pots in part shade. They all produced about 6-12 inches of new growth. Now they seem to have stalled out a bit, with some of the shoots not looking as vigorous as before. Do they need (a) more sun, (b) bigger pots, (c) some compost? Anything else? What kind of care do they need until they go in the ground, probably next year?

Also, what should I do with them over winter? It gets pretty cold here in Vermont. I have an unheated greenhouse I could put them in, but will the temperature swings on sunny days mess with the dormancy period? Maybe a cool corner with some shade?
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