Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Forcing your grafts

   We've had a pretty good grafting year. One of the reasons for our success is that we only graft trees when they are ready.  The photo at left shows one of Sonja's bark grafts that has already put on 5-6 inches of new growth. But also note that the trunk below the graft has sprouted numerous shoots. These competing shoots will need to be pruned off.
    There is also a very important lesson to be learned from this photo. New growth from the seedling rootstock has the characteristic red coloring associated with juvenile pecan trees. In contrast, the shoots emerging from the scion are totally green, an indication the scion comes from mature (or nut bearing) wood.
    If you ever suffer winter dieback of young grafts, the color of emerging shoots will tell you if at least some of the scion cultivar survived the winter.

    Here's a photo of the same tree with all the suckers trimmed off below the graft union. Removing the suckers will force all the tree's energy into the new graft, accelerating its growth rate. Our next step will be to attach a training post next to the tree. We will tie the graft's new growth to the post to ensure the graft is not broken in the wind.