Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bud break timing differs between mature and seedling trees

   Recently, I've been posting photos of pecan trees breaking bud. At right is a photo I took this afternoon of a Kanza tree with expanding leaves and barely emerging catkins. Looking the the amount of new growth on this trees has got me thinking its time to start grafting. That was before I went over to look at some of the seedling trees that are scheduled for grafting this year.

    I walked over to a row of Kanza seedlings (rootstock trees grown from Kanza nuts) and was surprised to find that the buds on these head-high trees were only starting to elongate (photo at left). In previous a post, I've shown you the genetic differences in bud break phenology that can be found among pecan cultivars.  Today, by looking a Kanza tree and an entire row of daughter trees, I found that mature, flowering-producing trees start spring growth slightly before juvenile seedling trees. I've also seen this phenomenon occur with fruit trees. A mature apple tree will push out flowers and leaves long before young, non-bearing apple trees start to break bud..
     I might be able to force a 3-flap graft onto the seedling tree shown above but I'd rather wait a bit to start grafting. Waiting will allow me a wider choice of possible grafting methods I can use (I don't start bark grafting until the stock tree has leaves unfurled) and makes finding the right piece of scionwood for each tree a little easier.
   Don't forget to check out the events tab at the top of the page to find a grafting school nearest to you.