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  • Propagation of valuable cuttings...Question

    I was wondering.....in my limited experience with growing figs, i've been able to do 6 "V" grafts onto various trees ( 3 onto 1 plant....and a couple onto others because i'm scared to lose the variety of cuttings) and i was able to do 3 air layers all at 100% success rates. The grafts took about 6 weeks to take hold and air layers i did this past summer took about 6 weeks also. I know my experience is very limited still but i wonder if you had a really rare cutting ( i saw Galicia Negra on ebay for over $200!!!), why wouldnt you graft it first to make sure it will 100% live......then air layer it and have it root at its own pace....all taking about 2-3 months time. When rooting cuttings you always run the risk of mold or rot....then when it roots you run the risk of transplant shock from cutting to cup to pot....then adjusting humidity and sun to acclimate it to being outside.... Just something to think about.... I've grafted and air layered separately but not combined.....has anybody done the combo?
    Quy
    SoCal, Zone 9b

  • #2
    I can only say for me, I don't know how to graft and rooting a cutting via the traditional methods is the only way for now. I hope to get into grafting since I have a fig tree that survived 2013/2014 winter outside in a pot. It died back but was able to push growth from the roots.
    Von, Northern VA 7a

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    • #3
      Here are my grafts....they range between 6-8 weeks old ( each cutting put on at different times depending on when i got them off ebay) not sure if i want to air layer them or keep them the way they are....
      Last edited by Q*; 02-24-2015, 04:46 PM.
      Quy
      SoCal, Zone 9b

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      • #4
        I would love to try grafting, problem in colder zones is that summer is so short, we can't even ripen all our figs, let alone conduct grafting. Technicaly, yes, there is enough time, but there is an attraction to having a rooted winter cutting seg├╝e right into late-spring sunshine.
        Rafael
        Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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        • #5
          Let them grow. Just my opinion. Grafting is a fine thing. And airlayering is a fine thing. But as a "combined strategy" (as you described), I'd say let them grow. If you graft a cutting onto a mother tree, and then you want to make an airlayer right away (?) I'd say instead why not let it grow for a while first? Best case: You don't really gain anything compared with just cutting your initial cutting in half, and rooting one of them and grafting the other. But as for the question of "will it work?", I'd say not so quickly as you describe. The airlayer won't work until you've got good leaves outboard from the point where you place the airlayer. So you'd still have to do the graft, let it take, get some green growth out on the end so you've got enough leaves, then do the airlayer and get that to make roots. The airlayer process requires energy from the more distal leaves in order to make roots. (Presumably the airlayer would be at some outboard point from the graft, otherwise what is the point at all?). Think about energy transfer and flow. All of the growth requires energy. There's only so much potential energy stored in a cutting. So when you airlayer, the whole reason you're perceiving greater success rates is because with live green leaves that are distal from the point of the airlayer, you've got energy flowing back downward, and because it can't reach the roots (from your disruption of the cambium), that energy is used to make the new roots. Try doing it without leaves out there and you'll see lower success rates than from just rooting your cuttings.

          I think you'd be better off getting good at rooting cuttings, and if you want to increase your odds then cut the cutting in half, root one of them and graft the other.
          Mike -- central NY state, zone 5a -- pauca sed matura

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          • Q*
            Q* commented
            Editing a comment
            The way you're describing it Mike....you're totally right. I guess being new at the fig game and losing cuttings by trying to root...you grow a fear of losing them...... i'm always looking at the sure shot way and you're right about it taking longer. Just because it takes 6 weeks to do an air layer and 6 weeks to graft....it doesnt equate to a total of 12 weeks because of energy loss in the cutting and the energy requirement to root.

        • #6
          It totally slipped my mind that everybody lives in different weather climates. ........i must sound really silly talking about grafting and air layering right now because the other half of the US is covered in snow. This is my first winter in AZ and its been very mild.(very similar to Southern California)
          Quy
          SoCal, Zone 9b

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          • #7
            I've tried about 6 grafts and none have taken but I'm pretty good a rooting cuttings - about 90% rate with good quality cuttings. So for me it's a no brainer. There's another issue to consider. You might end up mixing fmv strains from the scion and rootstock and thus end up with a less healthy variety than if you had rooted the cutting.
            Steve
            D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
            WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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            • #8
              I say do what works for you. The goal is to get plants started from cuttings. I"m also pretty good at rooting, so that is my method. But I also am unwilling to pay very much for something special. I've successfully done some grafting in the past, but not on figs and would not trust myself with something rare. Though with grafting, I suspect cuttings cut in half would need fewer buds to have success.

              As Rewton says, I'd also be worried about fmv contamination across the graft union. I've read in the past that grafting might have been part of the reason there is such a bad fmv @@@@tail in some UCD cuttings..
              SoCal, zone 10.
              www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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              • #9
                I've only been on this forum for a couple days and i love it. All the different view points and experiences/expertise on the topic of growing, rooting, diseases, and pests. I'm a pretty well educated guy when it comes to plant science.....but i've realized that growing figs is like riding a bike........you can read up all you want on "how to ride a bike" but you still wont know how to...unless you actually try it! Just like growing figs....i'm glad there are a lot of people on this forum that can "ride a bike" REALLY well! So.... Thanks for all the input guys!
                Quy
                SoCal, Zone 9b

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                • #10
                  Great stuff guys. Q , nice work with the grafts. I also grafted a couple of Shirley s DK cuttings and As Italian from Gary onto two of the Celeste inground trees! I have the grafts protected with some insulation and covered with plastic. I checked them yesterday and they look alive and well. Let's see how they turn out. My question is as follows ! If you have an extremely cold Hardy parent tree with some exotic varieties grafted on it,would it be feasible to winter protect just the grafted branches ? Your thoughts please and thanks in advance!

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                  • strudeldog
                    strudeldog commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Chris you are in ATL area right? I think you are grafting too early for our area. I normally want to be close starting active growth on the stock tree and fear your scion will dry out before taking and exposing to cold that you could avoid later. I don't graft many figs as it doesn't fit with my plans as I lose to many to ground level, but I graft alot of other fruit trees.

                  • Chrisk
                    Chrisk commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I was suspecting the same ,about being too early. The thing down here is that you can't realy tell what turn the weather will take. It's in the twenties over night and runs up to the sixties during the day . I have the grafts protected from frost and heat ( wrapped in rubber pipe insulation with a plastic bag over to water proof and a paper bag over that to protect from overheating the plastic bag during the day). Only time will tell. I only tried a couple for now and saved the the rest of the cuttings for when the weather gets warmer. Thanks very much for your advice.

                • #11
                  Q* we are certainly glad to have you here and that you are enjoying yourself. You could not have said it better with your riding a bike analogy.
                  newnandawg 7b Newnan, GA

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                  • #12
                    P.S. I do agree with Gina. Do what works for you. If you're good at grafting and have good success, do that. If you're good at rooting, do that. If you're good at airlayering, do that too. (IMO airlayering is easiest of the three, at least for me). But my comments above were about trying to do the graft plus the airlayer too quickly, or too close together in time. IMO that strategy will work best if you let some green growth occur after you've successfully grafted, before you start the airlayer. It takes longer that way, but... well, we're into trees around here, right? So patience is something we're probably all used to. :-)

                    Glad to see you're enjoying the forum.
                    Mike -- central NY state, zone 5a -- pauca sed matura

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                    • #13
                      Also, if you are grafting a cutting onto a rootstock, and when that has taken satisfactorily, you would have to make sure the airlayer was totally above the graft union lest some of the rootstock tissue still be at the bottom of the airlayer. I could see if the plant resulting from the air layer might sprout some branches from the original rootstock over time, especially if you live in a cold area. Just as some roses will send shoots from below the graft.
                      SoCal, zone 10.
                      www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends.

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