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Quick apple tree question.

 
Randy Bucher
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I have bench grafted my apple trees , set them in sphagnum moss to callus over on the back porch , ( 7 days now has passed )   The buds are starting to grow/push on a few of the scion but the weather is being crazy - It is supposed to drop down into the mid 20's at night for the next 5 days ( highs being in the mid 40's ).

My question is: 1 - plant them in the 3 gallon containers and put them under a carport or will the weather hurt them ?
                      2 - Plant them in the containers and put them into a non heated building until the weather warm up above freezing ?
                      3 - Just hold off till the weather has broken then plant them in the containers ?
I live in NC
                        I updated with some photos
Apple-tree-pic1.jpg
Bench grafted apple trees soaing in a bucket
Apple-tree-pic-3.jpg
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Apple-Tree-pic-2.jpg
Bench grafted apple trees heeled in ready to plant
 
Michael Newby
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Hi Randy, I personally would go with option 2.  That should start to acclimatize them while protecting the new buds from freezing. 

Let us know how it goes and post pics if you can, we love pictures of things growing around here.
 
Marco Banks
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If they've broken dormancy and are budding, I don't think you want them to get shocked with a freeze.  Newly grafted trees are using much of their energy to heal the graft.  Shocking them with a freeze would be pretty hard on them.
 
chip sanft
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Option 4: Plant them in containers you can move and shift them into the kitchen or something for the below freezing nights? This warm spell followed by a cold snap is going to wreck havoc here in the Southeast and I sure wish we could move our fig tree inside...
 
John Saltveit
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I would leave them semi protected until Spring really hits, then plant them in the ground.
JOhn S
PDX OR
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Wow, nice grafts I just have to say that first.
Since the buds are pushing you definitely don't want bud frost or freeze that would be a disaster at this point for the new grafts.
Option 2 is fine as long as there can be enough warm air so they don't freeze just from air temp or wind burn.
They can do just fine as they are as long as you keep them damp and happy for at least another two weeks maybe even a month.

Now that we have those options explained, I will tell you what I would do.
You can temp. pot those up in sleeves, if you have some or can acquire plastic sleeve material (can be usually found at a package shipping store, they use it to make those inflated shock adsorbing bubbles).
That way you can give them soil to grow in (or even more sphagnum moss) and let their roots grow without danger of root tangles when you are ready to plant them out.

Redhawk
 
Randy Bucher
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Update ..   After waiting several more days to make sure the frost was gone, I decided to go ahead and plant them into the containers. ( 225 apple and 25 pear / 28 different varieties of apple and 7 different varieties or pear ) Went down to the local nursery and purchased soil and started potting them. After 7 long hours they were all in the pots. ( picture 1 ) I did find 2 that were grafted upside down that I had to fix ( girlfriends grafts not mine ) .  I put plastic on the back side of the carport because of the sun being directly on them. I still have 1/2 the side and the front wide open to allow air to flow through.  Left a walkway in the middle with a hose hung on top for easier watering. Seems to be working really good this way. I did a walk through today and without moving just an observation I counted 167 scion pushing. Some of the pears and apples seem to be a little slower then others so I am still not sure on my total survival rate yet. I did take a picture tonight but the quality is a little poor so will take more in the light ( picture 2 )

  I have a few rootstock that are pushing buds right now as well as the scion. Would this be a good time to rub/take them off or would you let them all go for time being?
  The rootstock that has some buds but the scion looks to be doing nothing for the time being , do I as well do them or let them go till the scion starts pushing the bud?
Thanks you for any advice you give me.
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Michael Newby
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Nice looking work there!

As far as rubbing the buds off, I do that as soon as I can without having to use too much force.  If I try to early/aggressively I've found that I tend to rip a piece of the bark off with the bud, sometimes even peeling off a strip.  I'll just rub my thumb back and forth over the bud and if it pops off great, if not then I leave it until the next time I pass by and think about it.  As long as you can do it without damage you don't have to worry about it being too early.
 
Randy Bucher
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Picture in the daylight
tree-Scion.jpg
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