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  • Fig grafting questions

    I know most of you do not graft figs, but I have a couple varieties with one cutting left that have been giving me trouble. I'm going to try grafting them onto my potted brown turkey and air layer them.

    I'm not sure what the best timing or graft method would be. The Brown Turkey is starting to bud out and now, and in keeping with other fruit trees, this would be a pretty good time to do it. I figured I would do a whip and tongue since I'm getting fairly handy with that and it provide a lot of cambial contact.
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

  • #2
    Which varieties are giving you trouble?
    Johnny
    Stuff I grow: Google Doc

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    • Kelby
      Kelby commented
      Editing a comment
      Desert King, Filacciano Bianco and Fioroni di Ruvo. I also have a few leftovers that I might graft for the heck of it.

  • #3
    I would love to see pictures of the graft cuts,if you get any, just grafted my first apple tree today and my figs are too small to try

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    • #4
      I've only tried two types of grafts. Cleft grafts and one chip bud graft. I've gotten them all to take. Ive grafted battaglia, black madeira, black jack, RDB, JH adriatic, and a couple unknowns.(wasnt good at rooting and didnt want to lose the variety) All were done in the past 4 months...the last one being a month ago. I made sure the cambium matched and tightened it up with green plant tape then wrapped with parafilm. (unwrapped after a month) I'm sure you can graft it anytime the scion and rootstock is active. So now till a month before they go dormant.
      You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 6 photos.
      Quy
      SoCal, Zone 9b

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      • #5
        I've done both cleft grafts and whip and tongue grafts with pretty good success. For instance, I grafted 16 BT to Black Madeira about 3 weeks ago and it looks like at least 13 of them have taken thus far (may still go up as a week ago it was 10 out of 16).

        The biggest problem is heavy latex sap flow which can drown out the graft or make formation of a union difficult, I believe. A short distance below where I plan to graft I cut the rootstock/stock with horizontal cuts about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way around the circumferance in several places to eventually interrupt the sap flow around the entire circumference These wounds heal quickly but by then the graft union should already be formed.
        My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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        • #6
          I went ahead and did a bunch of whip and toungue grafts. Interesting about the sap, Harvey. The BT was very sappy, I may have to make those extra cuts.

          Hopefully some take!
          https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
          SE PA
          Zone 6

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          • #7
            I did my first fig graft about 10 days ago, Figo Preto onto (Southern?)Brown Turkey. The 2 year BT had been chilling in the basement and was pretty dormant. Figo Preto was a variety that had rooted for me, but hadn't shown much vigor since- Franks reviews convinced me to try this one, and I wanted to try at least one graft this season. I did a whip and tongue graft, wrapped the union and scion in parafilm and then put a budding rubber over the graft for a little extra insurance that the union was good and tight. Not much sap, probably since the BT was still 'sleepin'.

            Now-success! The Preto is now budding out, and I hope that the healthy rootstock will give it the boost it needs.
            Jesse in western Maine, zone 4/5
            Wishlist- Figues Juane, Demos unk, Nantes Maroc, Thermalito

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            • Kelby
              Kelby commented
              Editing a comment
              Nice! No life from mine yet but it's been cool out. Easier to whip and tounge figs than apples and pears!

          • #8
            Here are the 16 Black Madeira grafts I made a few weeks ago. 14 are growing so far.
            You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
            My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

            Comment


            • Kelby
              Kelby commented
              Editing a comment
              Were those rooted cuttings you then grafted onto?

            • Q*
              Q* commented
              Editing a comment
              Those look beautiful Harvey! How old were the rooted cuttings you grafted onto?

            • HarveyC
              HarveyC commented
              Editing a comment
              Kelby, I didn't have any rooted BT cuttings around so I bought some "Improved Brown Turkey" plants from Dave Wilson to graft to. If I was going to do this again I would start some myself a year beforehand.

          • #9
            Very nice work Harvey. You have convinces me to graft figs but it will be next year.
            Nothing in the world takes the place of growing citrus till figs come along. Ray City, Ga. Zone 8 b.

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            • #10
              I tried 2 cleft grafts on one of my mature tree this year. One was successful and one wasn't. The branch that I grafted to was about the diameter of a quarter. The scion was the size of a sharpie pen about 6 inches long. I sawed off the branch and split it in the middle. I inserted the scion that had been cut on both sides in a V-shape and inserted it and lined it up on one side of the branch. I wrapped the split area with green floral wrap and put grafting wax all around the graft area. I did the graft about 2 or 3 weeks before the tree budded out and used a dormant cutting for the scion. The 2 buds from the cutting are about 10 inches long now.

              Jennings, Southwest Louisiana, Zone 9a

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              • #11
                Nice grafts! I think my BM graft mostly failed. It was a terminal end scion, which started growing too quickly and I think the graft got flooded as well. Live and learn. I still haven't unwrapped it, it isn't desiccated, and it maybe kinda-sorta looks like another lower bud is starting to swell. So, we'll see.
                Maybe next time I do a whip and tongue I'll leave it in the garage for a few weeks instead of taking it out and putting in the sun room or make some cuts on the trunk or maybe not use a terminal end scion. Looks like I could have done a few things different.
                Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
                Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

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                • #12
                  How about this as a method?:
                  http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox....afting-6052305

                  It looks so cool and obvious, but I'm just a bit narked that it doesn't have a 100% success rate. Then again, I doubt that any method is foolproof. Am I right, or am I right?

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                  • Kelby
                    Kelby commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Glad to see you here!

                    Thats a good one too, but I prefer whip n tounge when possible since it holds the union together.

                • #13
                  I was thinking about trying a few grafts this year too. I was planning to then just bury them deep in the hopes that the scion would eventually root out as well. I think I'll plan on a rootstock with not just great vigor, but also with leaves very different from the scion in case the rootstock ever sends up some shoots.
                  Greg, Maine, zone 5. Wish List: Green Michurinska

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                  • Kelby
                    Kelby commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm intending on air layering successful grafts.

                • #14
                  Anyone ever try bark grafting with figs? I do that with citrus and it takes really well....that and you can use fairly small diameter scions.
                  Greg, Maine, zone 5. Wish List: Green Michurinska

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                  • #15
                    How come I didn't get any e-mail alerts about the replies? What did I do wrong?

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                    • Kelby
                      Kelby commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Might have to adjust settings, sometimes there is a lag too.

                  • #16
                    I am interested in learning to graft fig cuttings. I have been googling grafting supplies and tools. There are tools that make the cuts rather than having to make cuts with a knife.

                    Have any of you used one of these tools?
                    Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b

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                    • Kelby
                      Kelby commented
                      Editing a comment
                      A lot of 'experienced' grafters (I'm not one) don't like those tools (Omega tool is a well known brand) because they only work with certain sizes and the pieces have to be similar in size. Might work fine though. I just use a sharp knife (single edge bevel is ideal) and some grafting tape, never tried those devices though.

                    • drphil69
                      drphil69 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I have plum and pear as my first grafts ever using one of those tools... so far so good, I see buds starting to swell. Time will tell, but it was real easy for a complete newbie like me. Like Kelby said, mine worked well on pencil sized scion, not well for smaller than that.

                      P.S. Do you know how long it takes to mix up your grafts? About 30 seconds... Had labels hung on the graft branch, went to get something... got back in about 30- seconds and 3 labels on the ground... 3 different varieties.. LOL. Lesson - secure you label as soon as you are done with the graft.

                  • #17
                    @ Kelby Thanks for the tip - I haven't been into settings yet, so that could well be the answer.

                    @ jmaler - Actually, that sounds like a great idea. A tool that does the job for you would presumably result in a cut that gives you an exact fit, so eliminating all that measuring, guesswork, constant fine 'adjustments', etc. I'd be surprised if such tools did not exist. Flagged for future investigation.

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                    • #18
                      I am new on this website, and have been paging through search results on grafting figs. This feels a good time of year to learn the reading parts, so by the time one sets forth in the garden late winter or early spring, the reading and preparation are done. Maybe it's too early to think about, but the reading keeps me somewhat sane.

                      I am fairly experienced grafter for apples, pears, plums. Not a great expert but successes with maybe 50 attempts, close to 100% success. Mostly whip-and-tongue, and a few T-buds. With more difficult fruits like cherries, I am only about 20% successful. All T-buds. Peaches and Lilacs, 0%, both methods.

                      I haven't made a good attempt with figs. I have a couple of small, established, trees I would like to rework with a variety I will lose when I move permanently to what previously was a weekend house that I am remodeling to retire to.

                      If I can summarize some benefits for grafting as applies to figs -

                      + Create a multigraft, when space is a limitation.
                      + Rework an existing tree, so maybe there is better bearing, sooner than there would be from a cutting. Good for an old guy who doesn't want to wait many years.
                      + The trunk and roots can be already established.
                      + If the rootstock is vigorous, a less vigorous variety might benefit from grafting onto the vigorous roots. My petite negri is very slow to establish, so that would be good.
                      + If the rootstock is not vigorous, it could keep a too-vigorous variety more in bounds.

                      That's what I can think off, off hand.

                      Some negative aspects-
                      - There seems to be less information available about how to do it.
                      - More mixing of virus. If the rootstock has 2 viruses and the scion has 3 viruses, the tree will have 5 viruses.
                      - If the rootstock is not hardy but the scion is hardy, a bad winter could kill a potentially otherwise hardy tree.

                      Questions that I have about grafting figs -
                      ? From readings on this and other websites, it looks like whip-and-tongue, cleft grafting, and bud grafting would work for figs. So just about any standard method works?
                      ? Latex oozing seems like a challenge, which might be less of a challenge with scoring the stock below the graft - info from this thread. Probably depends on time of year. If oozing fast, should it be washed off with water? Or just ignore the sap and place the graft and secure it as for other trees.
                      ? I'm not clear on time of year. For dormant grafting, late winter before bud-break?

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                      • #19
                        Jerry,

                        I have an omega grafting tool, as Kelby pointed out it does require larger scionwood and they need to be similar in size. Sometimes I eyeball it, sometimes I use a micrometer. I also do a great deal of grafting with a razor knife with great results. They key is proper alignment and a tight seal to keep the graft site and the scion from drying out.
                        Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

                        “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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