Friday, May 24, 2013

If a graft fails, try again.

    Last summer's heat and drought was hard on both plants and people. Because of the stressful weather, I lost several new grafts that I had made last spring .  However, all is not lost. My pecan trees sprouted new shoots below the failed grafts, providing additional locations for grafting this year (photo at right).
    This morning, I grafted one of last year's failures.  I started by cutting out the failed graft from last year. I made the cut just above the uppermost side shoot (photo at left).
    Next, I pruned the tree leaving the two strongest, upright-growing shoots on the tree (photo at right). After pruning, I was left with two good places to make 3-flap grafts.
     The shoots that developed below the failed graft were vigorous, long and about 1/2 inch in diameter. These were the perfect size for 3-flapping (photo at left). Although I placed two grafts on this one tree, I'll need to prune this tree down to one growing point by mid summer. However, I am willing to sit back and watch where the strongest shoot will develop.
    I finished off making my 3-flap grafts in the usual fashion including attaching aluminum foil, plastic bag, and bird perch (photo at right). I also installed a deer cage around the tree to prevent browsing on emerging shoots.
    With the later than normal arrival of Spring, the grafting season started late this year.  however, I looked at the long term forecast and it looks like were are going to have at least another week for grafting pecans.