Grafting Tips

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  • There are basically 2 main reasons to graft a plant: One is to have a special cultivar.  The second reason is to get the tree to fruit faster.    Oscar – Hawaii
  • Why you should buy grafted trees:
    • Fruit quality of the mother tree may not be retained in the fruits of seedling trees.
    • The seedling tree take a longer time to reach the fruit bearing stage.
    • The seedling tree grows taller which is more difficult for its management and fruit harvesting
  • Black Sapotes – I kept hearing that they are hard to graft so went looking for answers.
    One big production nursery uses cleft grafts on very juvenile seedlings.
    Another nursery uses side veneer grafts on a little larger material.
    Both leave half a leaf at the tip of the scion and bag.
    Both nurseries say it is an easy graft.
  • I have successfully grafted Atemoya, Red Custard Apple, and Ilama onto Cherimoya, I was apparently not successful in grafting Posh Te (Annona scleroderma) onto Cherimoya although the Posh Te material came from Australia during their fall season so was not dormant. I have also grafted American paw paw (Asimina triloba) onto cherimoya and they took the first year.   Ref:  Roger Meyer, Southern California
  • Star Apple I recently borrowed a book from the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens library called “Five Decades with Tropical Fruit – A Personal Journey” by William Whitman. It’s about his introductions of new fruit into America. He confirms what I have mentioned in past newsletters that “vegetative propagation by air-layering and grafting from superior fruiting trees is recommended as trees grown from seed can fail to fruit or produce light crops of inferior quality. Vegetatively propagated trees can be expected to bear in the fourth or fifth year after being planted out.”   Do visit the Botanic Gardens Library in Brisbane – they have a wonderous collection of horticultural books. Ref: Sheryl Backhouse
  • Ken Love in Hawaii just uses electrical tape and white glue.
  • Stephen from Florida said he doesn’t refrigerate scion wood. Keeps it in those green plastic vegetable bags for 3 weeks that are advertised as suitable to keep vegetables in the crisper.
  • Collection of dormant scion-wood from deciduous fruit trees is fairly straightforward: just snip off the tips of branches of desirable varieties when the tree is leafless in winter. With tropical evergreen trees the timing is more precise- grafting fully dormant tropical scion-wood may result in a very long wait for bud break, and the beginning of active growth. There is the need to ensure the buds are swelling before grafting onto a rootstock, rather than fully dormant. Once shoots have actually emerged from the buds on the scion, it is too late to graft. Dormant buds on evergreen scions are prepared by removing the leaves, and sometimes pinching out the terminal bud. Then the buds above each leaf stem will begin to swell in a week or two, only then being most suitable for propagation by cleft or approach grafting onto seedling rootstocks of green sapote, or the closely related mamey sapote.  Ref:
  • Mango Grafting info from Berns in the Philippines  When I visited the Mandaue Experimental Station (MES) in Cebu, they have 3 different varieties of Mango – Guadalupe, Guimaras and Lamao. What is interesting is that they have a unique propagation method in mangoes. They use bantam grafting in Carabao mangoes. They use 5-6 months old mango seedling and graft the preferred variety in a very low graft union way. It’s like Carabao Mango Bonsai. I think the principle is like Mr. Loquias low bark grafting, keeping the canopy small with pruning the side and an open centre. Low bark grafting is grafted in a low graft union too.
    The reason for this bantam grafting is to make the mango trees dwarf with excessive pruning.
  • Mango  If you get Mango scion at 1 to 6 months from flushing, the graft will have a long time to bear fruits, while if you get dormant scions 8 months up from flushing, they will be bearing earlier. However, when you transplant your grafted seedlings, and they grow healthy with good fertile organic rich soil, it will grow faster and bigger. Usually we can start making them flower and fruit at 5 years from field planting. Others may start bearing in one year, but we remove the flowers to induce faster vegetative growth. The bigger the tree, the more fruits it can produce.   Ref:  Rex – Philippines
  • Soursop & Sugar Apple  Chris Rollins at Fruit and Spice Park in Florida said sugar apple or soursop on annona glabra rootstock, the graft fails over time.   Ref:  Chris Hind
  • Scionwood   Preparation prior to grafting: Make sure the tree is well watered the morning before you take scionwood. It is best to take scionwood in the early morning when the tree is turgid and the branches hydrated well. When transporting scionwood it is best to keep them at low temperature. You can use insulated container for storing and transporting scionwood over long distances. If you have a small styrofoam cooler, place an inch of ice at the bottom, then place plastic over the ice, then place towel over the plastic. Prepare the container just before you collect scionwood. When taking out scionwood from the mother plant, cut out the leaves first, leaving the petioles. Then cut out the scionwood. Wrap in moist newspaper, seal in ziploc plastic bag, then place in the cooler prepared above. With this method, simply replace the ice as it melts. When you get to the destination, and if you are not yet going to graft, store the scionwood in the fridge, but keep inside ziploc bag. The best time to graft is during early morning when it is still cool, if you have a choice. You will have to take out the scionwood from the fridge, the night before to acclimatize. Or simply take out of the cooler, but still inside the ziploc bag and leave in the shade for at least 30 minutes before grafting.  Ref|: Joe Real
  • Grafting sappy plants  Mike Fabian in Cairns says that in regard to grafting sappy plants he is generally a great fan of marcots which he believes are easier to coax along particularly with jackfruit etc. but if you insist on grafting, his recommendation is to release the sap pressure above and below the point of insertion by making reasonable cuts, then allow sap to ooze out for a while before making the real grafting cuts in between.  Work quickly and seal up.  He’s a great believer in flute grafts which present the plant with an ultimatum – either get the graft functioning or die!  Spring is the main season to do it all with possibly some extension into early/mid summer if forced.  With marcotting, he has a unique practice of wrapping copper wire round the exposed xylem/core of the plant after removing the bark and this acts as a permanent fungicide while the roots are forming.  He also soaks the surrounding peat in a cap full of Dettol per bucket of water to act as an antibacterial/fungicidal during the 2-3mth period.
  • Grafting Notes from Indonesia      by Samuel Constancy – Reunion Island
    Budding and Grafting are done all year. Only topsoil is used as potting mix.  Jackfruit budded onto rootstock which is 9-12 months old.
    Longans   Approach grafted, budded and marcotted.
    Mangosteen – 2 varieties according to Cairns
    Wedge/Cleft graft using 2 year old seedlings on a single 2 year old rootstock. Here in Qld that rootstock would probably be 4-5 years old.
    3 extra rootstock Approach grafted onto the trunk is optional.Sheryl: Samuel came to stay with me for a week to collect seed to take back to Reunion. 
    It was an interesting exercise filling out the paperwork to get a Phytosanitary Certificate from AQIS!
  • During a recent visit to Singapore in February this year I visited Mr. Lee Chong Khee at the Head Horticulture Centre, National Parks Board Tel:+65 62725323 Fax: +65 62728029
    The Nursery covers 20 hectares and Mr. Lee’s main duty at the nursery is to propagate and maintain the tropical fruit trees. Potting Mix used is 2 parts soil, 1 part sand and 1 part coco-peat. The following notes represent answers to questions I posed:Grafting Tips:Approach grafting can be done all year round
    Bud grafting is best from March to July in Singapore (our September – January) as the branches are too woody at other times of the year and the bud comes off easily at this time. We take buds about 1 ½ inches long (30mm) early in the morning then keep them in a wet cloth and then graft on the same day.  Cover with 50mm wide Nescofilm put out by Nippon Shoji Kaisha Ltd., Osaka Japan.
    Marcotting  Always make sure that your marcot is in the shade – not in the sun – can be done all year.
    Carambola  Can be air-layered and grafted
    Custard Apples     Bud or Wedge graft.  We’ve never tried marcotting them but you can try.
    Durian   We’ve tried many methods but find that springtime bud grafting is the best method for    peeling off the bud but you can also wedge graft and approach graft.
    Jackfruit   We only grow from seed but you could bud graft in Spring.
    Mango   If you want to top work your mango and graft on new varieties, chop it off and wait for the    new shoots to appear so they’re about 30-50 cm long and about the thickness of a pencil.    You can either Bud graft, Wedge graft or Approach graft.
    Papaya    We Tongue graft it.