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Tropical Fruit => Tropical Fruit Discussion => Topic started by: mbmango on October 10, 2019, 05:36:09 PM

Title: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on October 10, 2019, 05:36:09 PM
I'll go practice with some seedlings before I try with some real scions.

Oh, look there's an offering on TFF!  It's GO time!
Ok, lets see what I'll need. Schick, handle, rubber, tape.  M or grafting?  Why can't this ship to Cali?  Eh, just get the cheaper one.  Click, click, click...

Ooh, pretty scions.  Alright let's wrap them.  How do you do the tip?  I don't want to snap off anything.  Oops...
Where should I put this?  Brown looks too tough & green is too high.  Alright, the middle then...
I don't want to just cut off this fine branch.  Let's try with just a veneer type then.  The sizes don't match anyways.
Now, how far do I cut into the stock?  Well, that must be straight enough.  Where's this cambium?  Somewhere between green and beige, I suppose...
Trim this flap?  Stop it!  You're thinking too much and time is ticking!  Just leave it...
Damn, why can't I slice this thing straight!  Oh shoot, it's not flat now...
Well, let's try to line up the border on one side at least since these clearly don't match size-wise...
Darn, it won't sit flat.  Let me shave the stock a little higher... Aww, that's really not straight now.
The thing keeps moving every time I wrap this rubber around!  Is that tight enough?  The cuts weren't really flat.  Let me tighten that some more.  Crap, it moved again!
Man, this tape keeps snapping!  Grr, why do little holes keep tearing in it?
Hmm, how to seal the crotch?  Let me just drape some tape around there... (bumps scion)  Is it out of position now?
Oh, this is going to get too much sun.  Need some foil...
There!  Only 4 more to go!
Let's try a bark one like they were talking about on TFF.  So cut horizontal, then verticals, then pull... Why doesn't it pull off?  Oh that doesn't look smooth at all...  Let's just stick with the easier way for now...

They aren't dead yet!

I should've put that scion on that other branch over there.

I hope that condensation in the tip won't cause problems...

Will I have to wait till next year for some action?

Is that swelling?

Will it really be able to push through the tape?

( (

Booyah!  Welcome a new master gardener!
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: Johnny Eat Fruit on October 10, 2019, 08:51:26 PM
Time will tell if your graft takes. It's late in the season and I have had similar new growth at this stage fail.

Hopefully, you will have some luck on your side and warm temperatures.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: simon_grow on October 10, 2019, 11:16:04 PM
Haha, welcome to grafting! I had very similar experiences when I first started grafting. The more grafts you perform, the easier it gets. YouTube videos are very helpful.

It is getting late in the season for grafting mango but it can be done if your rootstock is strong and still pushing with vigor. If you have an indoor setup, you can graft pretty much all year long assuming you can get scions that arenít about to push blooms.

Iíve learned to be fluid and adaptive when grafting because things donít always turn out the way I plan. The first few grafts of the year are usually quite sloppy for me because I donít perform too many graft in Winter. When I mess up on a graft, I may have to re cut the scion to make the union straight or if I mess up the rootstock, I will have to re cut lower down. Messing up is part of the learning process and it will help make you that much more prepared if you make a similar mistake next time.

Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on October 11, 2019, 12:18:09 AM
It was pretty warm when I started this, but we're dipping into the 50s overnight now.  These stocks are on the west side though, against a block wall, and surrounded by concrete so I'm guessing that's why at least 2 of the stocks are still actively flushing.  The main one, where I put on 4 scions, is the only one to not flower after last winter, so it actually got to put out 3 flushes this year, and those grafts have also started pushing.

I blame it all on the luck of checking in and seeing Phelipe's offer for trees.  Soon after, I see Behl's scions.  After grafting Behl's, I was feeling pretty good about it in general, and then I thought why not try to save some of the terminals from the shipping-stressed trees that had already defoliated their freshest terminals.  So, clipped those, soaked them in a glass of water to plump them back up, and did those too.  It was already dark by the time I was doing the last one.  Plus, it was at the highest point of my precious branch, so I was pretty much blind and just doing it by feel.  I wasn't really expecting much, but 2 of the 3, including the last one, are looking surprisingly good.

My current project is putting up a mini-greenhouse for the new trees and any future projects.  They're currently sitting in my office for now.  Will try to get some new seedlings ready for next year.  Still got the jumbo Mexican Keitts left at 99 Ranch.

Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: Oolie on October 11, 2019, 12:27:24 AM
Some helpful advice I found was to always cut the rootstock first, as it can pull moisture from the soil, where a scion will dry out. Additionally, when using a sharp knife, always be careful of using two hands, one hand doesn't necessarily follow the lead of the other, and sometimes this can lead to injury. If at all possible, try to cut away from yourself and use a single hand. This takes practice, but it's better than slicing through your nail or worse.

The cambium is the layer between the wood and the bark. It doesn't always slip (pull away cleanly), but if it does, it gives you more options.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: simon_grow on October 11, 2019, 12:36:16 AM
Well, congratulations on getting started! Now that youíve got your hands wet, itís not so intimidating next time you graft. The schick razors are excellent for cutting softer green scions but if you are cutting thicker or harder mango wood, a grafting knife or even a good box cutter works great.

I have special grafting knives, budding knives, grafting tools, V cutter and even the Scionon grafting shears but I use my plain old box cutters the most.

Iíve done a lot of experimenting with rootstocks and I have found Keitts to be very slow growing and at least at my place, they donít make good rootstocks. Kent, Haden and Tommy Atkins works great for me. The first definitive, successful graft is extremely rewarding and hopefully it will motivate you to continue grafting.

Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: OCchris1 on October 11, 2019, 01:02:22 AM
Oh man that was funny! So perfect. Great job. Good luck with the new scions
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on October 11, 2019, 02:12:33 AM
Thanks for the tips!  I did cut the rootstock first, since I was thinking the same thing (even though most videos seem to be the other way).  And I also do cut away from myself since I'm allergic to my own blood oozing out of my body.

Although I've studied the cambium diagrams, it just wasn't very clear to me in practice since it's more of a gradient from green to beige, at least in the branches I was working with.  When I did finally get that one piece of bark to pull out on that one attempt, it had beige on it, so I wasn't sure if I just failed and happened to pull some sapwood up with it, or if it was supposed to look like that.

Good to know about the Keitts.  I usually only buy Kents, Keitts, & Ataulfos, but I don't have any Keitts that have survived a winter here yet.  I could have sworn I had a couple Kents left, but my notes say I only have 1 left, and the rest are Ataulfo.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: Orkine on October 11, 2019, 06:58:45 PM
Congratulations on your grafting success.
Whatever happens in the next few weeks, you just got bitten by the bug.  Its addicting and despite failures to come in the future, you will find yourself doing grafts and loving it, take or not.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on October 27, 2019, 04:22:15 PM
An update: It (Peach Cobbler) hasn't done much.  Just a smidgen of growth:
( (

The other graft (Orange Sherbet) on the same tree started pushing.  The tips just started drying up, so it may have been the recent heat/dryness, although the PC doesn't seem affected?
( (

This is the tree:
( (
The new flush to the right started after the initial post above and has progressed quite a bit, so it looks like there should be sufficient energy for the grafts, but not sure how to get more of the super juice to go to the grafts.  I rubbed out all other buds that were pushing on the tree, but left 3 on that one branch, to allow for some net new growth in case neither of the grafts were successful.  Should I just cut those off too?

I started thinking the rubbers might be girdling somewhat, so unwrapped a bunch of grafts to satisfy my curiosity.  For some, I could feel the impression left on the host branch, so maybe I wrapped too tight?

This is the PC union:
( (
( (
There was a lot of extra sap that had oozed out under the wraps.  Some had hardened, but the whole joint was still pretty oozy.

This is PC#4 on another tree, that had even more ooze out (the big blob still being visible).  No other grafts have had as much ooze out, or at least still wet at the time of unwrapping.
( (
It had also pushed out a bud, but has also kind of stalled, while another graft (Fruit Punch) continues to push.

Finally, this one (Sweet Tart) doesn't look like it'll make it:
( (

I rewrapped all the unwrapped grafts with just parafilm for now.  Interesting to see things progress at various stages or with varying results, and then guessing what may be happening.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: simon_grow on October 28, 2019, 12:23:48 AM
You may have wrapped a bit to tight but at least you caught it and relieved some of the pressure. If you wrap too tight, it may inhibit the flow of energy/fluids to the scion.

When I Graft Mangos, I use multiple clothespins and put a lot of pressure on the graft union for about 1-2 weeks To ensure the scion and rootstock makes good contact. After about two weeks, I usually remove 1-2 clothespins to allow the fluids to move to the scion easier. I keep the uppermost clothespin because the tip of where the scion and rootstock joins is usually the weak point where the rootstock May spread open if there is not enough pressure there.

Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on July 21, 2020, 04:08:36 PM
To try to catch up...

Only 2 of the grafts had survived over the winter.  However, something around here seems to have a liking to Peach Cobbler, as it chewed through most of the scion, through the parafilm.  Didn't leave any buds, so the base eventually died off.  I did not snap a pic, due to the disturbing nature of the crime scene.  Another mango tree has suffered a lot of bark chewing as well previously, so I wasn't really surprised, but now have to wonder if I need to cage new grafts.

The other remaining graft tried to bloom, but it was clearly not healthy:
( (

The callus area had cracking
( (

One day, it went completely missing.  Found it on the floor, so presumably a bird or squirrel had broken it off.  Looking at the end, only the very tip had any remaining live tissue left, and it had rotted through much of the interior.  Curious if that meant that I didn't cut deep enough on the rootstock at the top to get a full connection?
( (

Tried re-grafting it but that didn't make it.

mbmango: 0, Mother F*#$&* Nature: 10
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on July 21, 2020, 04:12:42 PM
On to another graft attempt.  This was a terminal for a FL stick that just hadn't done much over 3 years.  Coincidentally, or not, after pruning the terminal, the next 2 lower buds immediately flushed, so thankfully that worked out as I had hoped/imagined it would.  Also, the graft took pretty quick, with a second bud starting to push:
( (

The thing is the scion was just the tip, and it was pretty thick, so I couldn't find a big enough spot to veneer it.  Anyways, I'm now worried about the structural integrity of my hack
( (
( (

Looking at it now, I might have tried to shave off the 2 bottom buds and try to chip/veneer those separately, and then maybe I could have clefted the stub.  Not sure.  But for now, am anxious about the graft and whether I should brace it.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: Guanabanus on July 22, 2020, 11:43:36 AM
Longer wedges work better.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: JakeFruit on July 22, 2020, 12:51:08 PM
Longer wedges work better.
I was contemplating the question of optimum wedge length while I was grafting a dozen scions over the weekend. In my limited experience, 1"-2.5" wedges for clefts have been the most successful, but width of the scion has been an important factor. The longer wedges I've done with smaller diameter scions haven't been successful. A few that stick in my memory were perfectly matched with the diameter of the rootstock, but all failed. Maybe my blade/technique was the issue, but if the scion width is much less than a pencil, I try to stay around 1" with the wedge length.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: weiss613 on July 22, 2020, 05:34:08 PM

Guanabanus said longer wedges work better and to that important comment I will add that you are setting yourself up for failure the way and places you are doing your grafts. You have been semi blaming failures on everything but the real problem. Before I tell you I want to tremendously compliment you on your opening presentation it was poetic and phenomenal and shows the depths of your understanding and intelligence but who the hell am I to judge!!! I did love and appreciate every word.
So your grafts are put in areas that cause rotting (intersections where water and moisture will sit with bacteria)  so you should do what the almost all knowing and extremely experienced professional grafter Guanabanus said plus move the grafts up a lot at least 2 or more inches from those intersections you are shoving the scions into. And try to make your cuts at a minimum 50% of the length of the scion and more is even better. That's what all the research shows. But never go into those intersections or those beautiful cuts you made will eventually rot. And I'm serious you made spectacularly perfect surgical cuts on both sides.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on July 22, 2020, 07:46:07 PM
Thanks for the all the inputs!  I never considered the potential for accumulations in choosing a location.  I was just picking the lowest location that allowed me relatively free access without restricting myself with other branches, etc.  The ultimate goal being that I would be able to cut off all the other branches if the graft was successful.  In the last case, I actually started a bit further out, but I obviously couldn't shove a cube into the circle hole, so I ended up cutting back the branch further (twice) than I started (bad initial planning there).  I have other current attempts that are way further out, pretty much at the tips, so stay tuned for the next episodes of how not to graft.

The moisture question does bring up another question about when to unwrap.  I actually rewrapped the last graft after satisfying my curiosity on how the union was looking, for fear of the union prematurely drying out (if that is even something to worry about), but should I actually let it air out at this point, instead of possibly festering something, especially since there are definitely gaps in the current union?

And the wedge length question seems to be a good one.  I definitely would prefer the strength of a longer wedge.  I'm definitely going to do other more proper grafts if I can pull scions off this stub next year.  The ~1" length seems to have been what I reflexively went with most other attempts (given the approximately pencil diameter stuff).  I didn't really reason about it, other than when trying to shape a straight wedge, that's kinda how it ended up.  However, thinking about it, although a longer wedge could give more chances at cambium contact, it seems it could also give more chances where it wouldn't contact, and just more surface area to heal over or possibly get infected.  Seems like one might want to minimize the length without sacrificing structural strength.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: Guanabanus on July 22, 2020, 08:06:12 PM
My wedges are usually an inch to inch and a half--- longer with fat scions.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on July 22, 2020, 08:10:52 PM
GTK, thanks again Har!
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: Nyuu on July 22, 2020, 08:39:02 PM

( (

( (
My first time grafting mango tree dose it look good for now ?
I did other same day but give more time see if work out . It raining daily and I think two may fail because all rain
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: weiss613 on July 22, 2020, 09:23:11 PM
Hereís another 2 things to consider and maybe try. This ainít gospel just another thing to try that I recently started doing after 18 years of grafting. First the blade itís a Dewalt 25 mm. Cuts like Butter. And donít free hand your cuts. Lay it down and pull the scion through the knife. Like riding a Rolls!
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on September 20, 2020, 01:28:45 AM
Questions about when to call it quits on a graft...

1) So the successful grafts have shown callus formation pretty quickly.  In some attempts, I am not seeing any visible callus, even though the scion can remain green for a long while.  Should I just try to re-graft those after some X weeks, or is the scion going to be too spent anyways?  In some that I have broken open, I can see there is no real connection inside, so just trying to see if I can catch them early enough to retry.

2) Some grafts show callus, but then at some point the callus either stops expanding or starts drying out.  Not sure which happened by the time I unwrapped to take a peek.  Scions are still green or greenish, but not very healthy looking.  In one case, a bud had pushed, but stalled.  Are these grafts failures or doomed to fail, and/or can these scions be re-grafted?

Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on January 22, 2021, 03:13:22 AM
With the onset of blooming season, I thought I'd recap the past year's efforts.  Waiting for the final tally, since there are a number of laggards, but it's much better than my rookie season.  Still learning some lessons the hard way though.

12 takes (at least 1 flush) and currently starting a new flush:
Juicy Peach
Sweet Tart
Fruit Punch
Seacrest x2
Orange Sherbet x2
Sugarloaf (regraft)
M-4 (regraft)

14 pending
3 that have not yet flushed, but swelling buds now, so looking hopeful that they will ultimately take.
5 fall grafts, just waiting...
3 stalled on a poorly chosen sluggish rootstock.
3 remaining questionable:
Cecilove (weaker scion - had pushed in transit but tried it anyways)
M-4 x2 (difficult variety? also least healthy of the scions)

13 failures
2 partial unions that ended up separating from the top.  More wrapping needed!  Keep on longer.
1 tried to push, twice via different buds, but ultimately failed to take for unknown reasons.
2 regraft attempts with scions that were just too weakened
2 from sap fouling - 1 definitely slipped out, the other may have gotten out of alignment and/or was inhibited from healing. So, that's why they say not to water! Keep rootstock on the drier side before and right after grafting, or pin the grafts?
6 straight failures, but I suspect at least 4 were from improper blade cleaning. Realized later that I wasn't cleaning all the oil off new Schick/box blades well enough. Note to self - clean the full blade before inserting it, since you're going to flip it at some point and then fail to thoroughly clean the other half.

So depending on the laggards, I'll fall somwhere between 33% - 66% on the year, with a fair chunk of the failures from avoidable mistakes.

This year, I plan on just making backups where I can.
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on January 22, 2021, 03:27:06 AM
Of the questionable grafts, in one case, the rootstock callus seems to be overgrowing the scion. Is this poor little scion doomed, waiting to get swallowed up at some point?
( (
Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: simon_grow on January 22, 2021, 12:20:48 PM
You are well on your way to becoming a master grafter. I like how you are examining your failures as well as your successful grafts. Thatís where you will learn a lot. Timing of your grafting is also critical and if your rootstock is healthy, vigorous and pushing or getting ready to push new vegetative growth, that will be an ideal time to graft.

I try to shoot for 1-2 inch cuts for my cleft grafts, the more contact you have, the better.

In your last picture, the callous is growing thick. If you want to save the scion, assuming the graft has taken, you may want to consider removing the branch to the left in order to direct energy to the grafted scion.

Donít do this if the branch to the left is something you really want to keep.

Title: Re: First time grafting jitters
Post by: mbmango on January 22, 2021, 04:15:03 PM
Thanks for the encouragement!  Yeah, that branch will be axed once the next veg flush queues up.