bark graft to top work this tree (photo at right). By the first part of May, the scion had broken bud and began rapid growth. Now in June, the scion's new growth is nearly 3 feet in length and its time to start the tree training process.
I began working on this graft by removing all suckers sprouting from the trunk below the graft. I next removed the bird perch and cut off
the grafting tape that sealed the plastic bag around the scion (photo
at below). With the extraordinary growth rate this graft has already
demonstrated, it is extremely important to make sure the scion doesn't
become girdled by green tape.
You can see that I have 4 strong shoots growing from the scion. As usual, the bud closest to the graft union received the biggest push from the stock. In this case, both primary and secondary buds at the base of the scion produced new shoots (lower left side of the scion) diluting to energy that could have been directed to a single bud. Regardless, my job is to pick the strongest shoot to become my new central leader and remove all others.
All summer long I will be using directive pruning techniques to ensure the formation of a strong trunk. By the end of the growing season, I fully expect this new graft to grow at least 7 feet in height and 1.5 inches in diameter. But, it will only grow that large in I keep the graft tied to the stake and competing limbs pruned off.