Saturday, February 16, 2013

Collecting scions from mature trees

     Have you ever wanted to collect propagation wood from a favorite old native tree? You stare up into the tree's canopy searching for nice, long, one-year-old shoots only to find short stubby growth covered with closely spaced buds (photo at left). Short shoots can be used for grafting in a pinch but your success rate will be reduced.
    A better solution for collecting scions from a mature tree is to force the tree into growing vigorous scions for you. This takes some advanced planning.
    Last year we stubbed back some branches on the south side of a mature 'Canton' tree to promote vigorous sprouting. In the photo at right, you can spot several places where we cut tree limbs back, leaving one inch diameter stubs. Note that, even after pruning, the branches remained in full sun. These dormant season pruning cuts promoted strong regrowth last summer and now, this tree has at least one small area from which we can collect high quality scions.