Friday, July 8, 2016

Preventing wind damage to new grafts.

    Grafting pecan trees is one of my favorite parts of developing a new orchard. After years of practice, I can  graft fairly quickly and I have confidence that the graft will be successful. The time consuming part of grafting trees actually occurs during the summer months. Every 3-4 weeks, I return to each grafted tree to prune off trunk sprouts, tie the scion's new shoot to a bamboo stake, and remove stalked buds. The photo at right is an example of a successful graft I made earlier this year. Look carefully, you can see that I've already tied the new growth to a bamboo stake with green flagging tape in 3 places.
   I can not stress enough the importance checking on the growth of your scions regularly throughout the summer. The photo at left is an example of what can happen when the scion grows faster than expected, the new growth wasn't tied to the bamboo stake, and a thunder storm blows through the orchard. Without being tied to the stake, the wind broke off  the scion right at the top of the stock.
   With this tree, I'll let the stump sprouts grow and re-graft the tree next year. I'll also leave the bamboo stake and all the graft wrapping in place to remind me that this tree needs re-grafting.