Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4th graft trimming

    For all those that have attended one of my grafting schools, here's a reminder that this weekend is a good time to trim up new grafts if you haven't already. Although I've been working on trimming grafts for over a month now, I still had a few that still needed attention. The photo at right shows a tree I worked on this morning. Three shoots have grown from the scion of this bark graft and two trunk sprouts have grown out just below the graft union. Time to get out the clippers.
    My first step was to remove all trunk sprouts below the graft union (photo at right).
    Next, I trimed the scion so only one shoot was growing fron the original scionwood stick (photo at right). In this case, the upper most shoot had the greatest diameter so I kept it over the others. Pruning the scion down to one shoot off the scion makes tree training much easier and helps develop dominant central leader.
   The final step in trimming up this graft is to remove the green grafting tape that holds the plastic bag tight around the scion. The scion stick will grow rapidly in diameter this summer and I don't want the tape to girdle the graft. I simply use a knife to cut the tape  but leave the plastic bag and aluminum foil in place.
   Next, I turned my attention to the top of the scion shoot. Stalked buds had formed on the new growth and I carefully removed each one by just pulling them off the tree (photo at right). With all the trimming complete, I tied the new growth to the bamboo stake using flagging tape to make sure I wouldn't lose the graft in a wind storm. And lastly, I placed a deer cage over the tree to keep the critters away.