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grafting high?

Posted by cousinfloyd NC 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 12:13

I've gotten to the point where I'm expanding with fruit trees into areas with higher deer pressure, and I'm wondering what I should consider when grafting high, like 5-6' high. I'd like to know about other species, too, but I'm particularly thinking about persimmons. Will I see any difference at all grafting 5-6' high versus 6"? What about grafting naturally smaller Asian persimmons 5-6' high on a native rootstock? Will I basically get a dwarf tree on a pedestal?

Does it ever matter when grafting how old the wood is on the rootstock? I know scion wood should be last year's growth, but what about the roostock? Does it matter if I cut off all of last year's growth (or even the last few years' growth) and graft lower on the rootstock?

Does age of the rootstock matter? I have some persimmon seedlings that may be 20 years old that have just been bush hogged every year and have come back. They look like younger trees, but some of them have really thick roots, so they must be pretty old. Should I be wary of using older seedlings like this for rootstock?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: grafting high?

Grafting higher up is fine. You may end up with an ugly junction, but the scion should grow. you will want to remove other branches close to the graft to make sure the tree's energy is going into the graft.

Orchards will sometimes 'top work' an entire orchard if a new and promising variety comes along. One example would be the Haas avocado. They top worked tons of mature Fuertes to switch over to Haas.

Key point is making sure the cambium lines up.

Here is a link that might be useful: top working apple with nurse branch

RE: grafting high?

  • Posted by murky z8f pnw Portlan (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 16:22

With a mature tree as the root successful grafts will grow very quickly. So if, after gathering your information, decide grafting high isn't desirable you can graft them low and should only have to keep them fenced in for a year or two. In that time your grafts may have grown 5-10 feet depending on species, rootstock, variety, etc.

I grafted several European plums to what I believe to be Green Gage tree and some of my bark grafts grew 7 or 8 feet in one season.

RE: grafting high?

Grafts on well-established rootstock, as murky indicated; may grow VERY vigorously - and may be especially subject to being broken out by wind or perching birds, so be sure to stake or support them in some manner - especially if you're using a bark graft or simple whip - these work well but initially have very little structural strength.
Biggest problem I foresee in high-working persimmons unless you have a very vigorous, shoot 5-6 ft tall, with no side branches(which you might have, from those bush-hogged older trees), is that they're very obstinate about pushing growth on the existing framework, to the detriment of the graft.
I've done it, but you have to be very diligent about making sure that the graft is able to maintain apical dominance - I'd have to visit the tree at least weekly to pinch out/break off any apical growth on branches/shoots below the graft.

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