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  • Let’s all do “Banana Grafting” Woohoo!

    Hello Everyone, Id like to take a few minutes to discuss my new summer time grafting obsession, “Banana grafts!” Im finding them SOOO easy to do & the best part is that they seem to take pretty quickly.. which is awesome for people who lack patience for these things (like yours truly😉). I’ve even had one starting to show sign of life in just over 1 week’s time 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼 Super excited about that!

    Now as some of you may remember (hopefully not hehe!), a couple years back I committed horrible act against several of my small extra Celeste trees & accidentally murdered them all while trying to learn how to graft on them. I tried methods such as whip & tongue, cleft graft etc, but none worked for me at that time. I’ve since managed to get a couple cleft grafts to work, but this banana grafting technique is just plain easy peezy for me! Also, this is the time to be doing Banana grafts (at least in the northern hemisphere) because during the high growth months of July & August, the bark is now “slipping”. By slipping I mean there is enough sap flow that the bark can be carefully peeled back (much like you peel the skin on a banana). Another easy summer grafting technique done at this time is called T-budding, but thats a whole different post 😉

    Anyway, without further rambling, let me show you what I mean by banana grafting in picture form! Hopefully that will cut down on my words, as Ive been told I write the same way I speak (TOO MUCH lol 😉)

    I chose to graft a few branches on my Desert King, in hopes of getting “more bang for my buck” so to speak. I like DK’s early brebas however I just don’t get enough figs to warrant the space it takes up.. The irony is (for this particular branch) that I chose a leftover Tauro cutting to graft onto it (which I am now hearing it may also be a San Pedro type! 😂). From my understanding (remember Im no expert at grafting of any kind) you want to choose a scion that is around the same diameter or slightly larger than the rootstock you are grafting onto. I have only used dormant leftover scion so far, but I do believe you can do this with actively growing as well. Don’t quote me on that! Lol

    So make a clean cut, then wrap a small in tact rubber band around your rootstock branch several times and roll it down & out of the way for now. (Dont mind my messy garage, its Joe’s fault 😉)

    Like this:
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    Once you have done this, take your grafting knife & make a + sign on the clean cut top of your rootstock branch. This will serve as your guidelines to make 4 slits around the circumference of your branch. All you need to do is place the edge of your grafting knife up against the bark and apply some light pressure until you feel a “pop” Don’t press too hard, you are only trying to go through the cambium & stop at the wood. You’ll see, don’t worry 😊
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    After you make all 4 slits, you will carefully peel back each of the 4 sections, like a banana 🍌 to reveal the wood inside:
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    Now carefully cut the wood inside out, this is where you will place your scion. I forgot to mention you want to choose a piece of scion that has 2-3 buds on it, no more. I like to wrap the portion of my scion that will be above the flaps in parafilm first. It just makes it easier for me. Place your scion on top of the cut portion of your rootstock & eyeball about how high the flap will come up onto yourscion. Below that point you need to scratch the scion to reveal the cambium there as well. This is where the graft will take.

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    Now place your scion on the rootstock and cinch the flaps up around it. Now roll your little trusty rubber band up to hold the scion in place. Here you will want to have your cut fat elastic band & parafilm ready to go! Carefully and securely wrap your fat rubber band around your scion, ensuring the flaps are making good contact with the scraped portion of your scion.

    Like this:
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    Then you carefully wrap the whole thing up in parafilm to try to seal out any water. Then there you have it! Your finished “Banana graft!” Just DONT forget to mark your grafted variety, chances are you will forget in time if you don’t do it right away!

    Easy peezy right??
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    😊 Any thoughts? I would love to see pics if any one else tries this method, or get tips from anyone who has done it before👍🏼👍🏼
    Attached Files
    WL: Fico Salam/Salame, Moro Di Caneva, Cosme Manyo, D’en Jaume Punta, Fracazanno Multicolore, Dels Ermitans, a nice spread somewhere in California that has the wasp! 😉
    My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY
    Cuttings Available 2019/20: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...ifj96TTnQNCahc

  • #2
    Rewton
    Btw here is a neat video on this technique that was shared with me by one of our awesome members Steve “Rewton” which I think is pretty cool. This guy uses duct tape & glue instead of the fat grafting rubber band and parafilm.. check it out, I think its super helpful & far better a demonstration than mine above 😊

    https://youtu.be/zWUaQ1Cj1cM

    Here is a pic of another banana graft I did about 10 days ago & already showing some positive signs (swelling buds). This is Galicia Negra grafted on to Beall rootstock:

    Click image for larger version

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    WL: Fico Salam/Salame, Moro Di Caneva, Cosme Manyo, D’en Jaume Punta, Fracazanno Multicolore, Dels Ermitans, a nice spread somewhere in California that has the wasp! 😉
    My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY
    Cuttings Available 2019/20: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...ifj96TTnQNCahc

    Comment


    • Bellefleurs
      Bellefleurs commented
      Editing a comment
      Jamie, Thank you for the great thread on banana grafts. How can you tell when a tree is ready to be a host? I have a few in the ground that I’d like to try and a few are just starting to “wake up”.

  • #3
    Jamie, thank you for showing us the details.

    I have seen another demo of banana grafting by doing 4 long cuts/slices along the bottom of the scion but leaving tiny strips of bark/cambium in between the 4 cuts. I think yours is better but perhaps needs to remove enough bark on the scion so that it is not bumping against the rootstock's cambium when wrapping. That way, it would ensure maximum contact between the two cambium especially on scion with bumps.

    I see the big advantage of this technique is super big contact area and very secured union. I used to think banana graft takes much longer than a graft like cleft or whip & tongue and requires size matching but the result graft is gotta be super strong and possibly grow faster than a traditional graft with limited cambium contacts and less than stable joint.
    Moved from 10b to 7a

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      You are so welcome, Ive really been enjoying myself with this technique, so much so that almost no tree is safe from potential grafting! Lol! I just looked around outside and so many of these banana grafts are beginning to grow!
      Edwin I like your suggestion about removing enough bark on the scion to ensure there is enough contact with rootstock cambium. I see exactly what you mean & that would probably ensure for a stronger graft union as the end result. It just goes to show you how forgiving this method is though bc I pretty much did all of them that way & so far they are still taking. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t bite me in the butt later, but from now on I will take that suggestion 👍🏼

  • #4
    Thanks going to give it a try.
    In remembrance of wolfy 5/4/06-3/23/20

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      Awesome! I would love to see your graft when its finished & hear whether you liked this method or felt it wasn’t so hot 👍🏼

  • #5
    Thanks - I will definitely try this too. It's nice to have a method that will work in the summer because I find the Spring is so hectic that it's hard to find the time to do things like grafting. Jamie, after you complete a banana graft do you keep the tree in the shade, of mixed sun/shade, for a few weeks until the graft takes? Or just cover with Al foil and put back out into the sun?
    Steve
    D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
    WL: Zaffiro, Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      Steve that is also very true, spring time is often hectic trying to get your root pruning done or up-potting, uncovering trees etc, so summer time grafting can be very relaxing since at this point. As far as where I keep the tree with new graft, Ive been trying to keep them so that the graft is not getting direct sun all day. Besides that the biggest worry is making sure I wrapped the parafilm sufficiently so that rain doesn’t seep in, but so far they all look pretty good, even with the buckets of rain we keep getting.. so I guess I’ll just keep my fingers crossed that everything keeps going well. 😊

  • #6
    Jamie, thanks for posting! I read about this method being used by walnut and pecan growers as it is supposedly very difficult to graft Walnut or pecan successfully.

    Don't you still need dormant scionwood in the fridge this late in the season to be able to do this? I'm afraid I exhausted all of mine way back in April/May.

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      Honestly Ram I don’t think it requires the scion to be dormant, as long as your sap is really flowing I think using a more lignified piece of an actively growing scion should still work & perhaps might even take more quickly than a dormant scion. I’m thinking that if you don’t leave too much wood above the rootstock flaps and seal it well with parafilm it shouldn’t be a problem. I feel it should be similar tbud grafting in that way in that the active rootstock works with an actively growing scion. I believe the one “no no” with grafting is putting an actively growing scion on a dormant rootstock, but again Im very new to grafting. Are you going to give it a try? I would love to hear your results if you do. I think Im going to try it on actively growing scion next 😉

    • ramv
      ramv commented
      Editing a comment
      I found some scionwood in the fridge that still appears good and viable. Even better, some are varieties that died while rooting or are desirable for trades. I’ve got my weekend project lined up!!

    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      Yayyyy!! I want to see pics when you are done 👍🏼👍🏼

  • #7
    Hold the phone!! Okay I am a dumb dumb, I did already graft actively growing scion to the DK & this particular graft from my Victoria MP is probably the most advanced one of the bunch Ive done, it’s already budded out in 2 places & this one was also done about 10 days ago.. I don’t know how I missed it. Actually thats a lie, I totally know how.. its called doing at least 50 grafts in the last 10 days lol! So it appears that grafting actively growing scion works well with this grafting method 👍🏼👍🏼

    Victoria MP Banana Graft:

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    WL: Fico Salam/Salame, Moro Di Caneva, Cosme Manyo, D’en Jaume Punta, Fracazanno Multicolore, Dels Ermitans, a nice spread somewhere in California that has the wasp! 😉
    My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY
    Cuttings Available 2019/20: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...ifj96TTnQNCahc

    Comment


    • #8
      Jamie that is awesome! I have been wanting to try grafting and your quick results and excitement with banana grafting have convinced me that the time to start is now! Thanks for sharing😊
      Chris - Zone 6b

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        You gotta go for it Chris! I’m telling ya this is so much fun! The only problem is my whole collection could potentially be frankenfigged by the end of the week if I keep this up haha! 😂

      • Cguitar
        Cguitar commented
        Editing a comment
        Then for every 100 trees you have you can have 500 varieties! 🤗

      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Now this is my kinda math Chris! Hehe! 😉

    • #9
      Now it get it. When I read the title I thought "she's growing bananas?"

      Nice work Jamie. Looks like this method provides a huge amount of cambium contact which I would expect provides a very high success rate.
      Conrad, SoCal zone 10
      Wish List: More Land

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Lol Conrad! Ya know I probably would have thought the same thing from the title now that I think about it 😂

    • #10
      Jamie.....Might you consider doing a video down the road of this technique? I've never grafted anything before, so to see it on video would really help. THANKS MUCH!!
      Zone 9b, San Joaquin Valley, CA

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Exquisitebee I might consider doing a video, but maybe I can get our friend ross to make a video for us 👍🏼 It’s definitely a great way to start out grafting at least IMHO 😉

      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Also check out this video, it has the main concept with different grafting materials:
        😊

        https://youtu.be/zWUaQ1Cj1cM

    • #11
      Banana grafting is very good for Pecan grafting, too

      Comment


    • #12
      This is great, thank you! I already had cuttings on the way from Brian M., was going to try my hand at grafting and have never done any yet. The method looks so. . . foolproof! (Dare I say that? What if I fail?)
      Also my Desert King has been a big, fat dud so far, and could be used for grafting, so away I go once the package gets here!
      Will post results here!
      SE MI, zone 6a Current wish list: Fewer gnats, more roots this winter.

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        That is awesome to hear Annie & I can’t wait to see your results! I think you will do great with it, trust me after all the heinous crimes against innocent fig rootstock that I committed on my quest to learn how to graft, I can truly say this one is really almost fail-proof. I didn’t make an even scrape on the bottom portion of the scion cambium, some I did leave out in direct sun, I definitely handled the flaps too much with my fumbling fingers, and THEY ARE STILL TAKING lol! You can definitely do this girl, I have all the faith in ya 😉

    • #13
      Great method. Probably will work better than your standard cleft. I need to learn a whip and tongue and this one. I can see them both being better. What is better than them all is a bud graft. Truly very easy, very fast, you need less material and you have more freedom to create your frankenfig the way you want.
      Zone 7A - Philadelphia
      Flavor Profiles & Variety List / Facebook / YouTube / Blog

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        I have really enjoyed T-bud grafting as well. It seems to me there is 2 types of “bud” grafting, one that is “chip budding” & the other “t-budding” Which one are you guys talking about? Im using actively growing budwood, then separating the backing & taking only the bud & cambium & placing it inside a t-shaped slice made into the bark of the rootstock. This seems to be taking pretty quickly, but not as quickly as the banana graft. Now when I take a “chip” off of the dormont scion to place into the rootstock, it doesn’t seem to be doing much as of yet. I did all of them within the last 7-12 days. Just wondering which budding technique you guys are talking about?

      • cjccmc
        cjccmc commented
        Editing a comment
        My bud grafts this year (on figs) were all chip buds. These are very quick and easy to make. One thing I have not seen discussed on the technique for it whether or not to "angle" the chip to make sure cambiums cross and contact at least at one point. I did mine like I saw others do which is to just make a cut in the rootstock same size as the scion chip. Another thing is to remove all rootstock buds above it so it becomes the dominant bud.

      • FigsforRomeo
        FigsforRomeo commented
        Editing a comment
        You're right on Ross. I need to work on my bud graft

    • #14
      I am inexperienced in this. I have done a few bud graft, including some on unrooted cuttings and just rooted cuttings. It is easy and versatile and quick. You almost don't need to match the size. However, bud graft seems to grow slower than standard graft like cleft or whip and tongue. Not sure if it has to do with the minimal material or lack of reserve on the bud. Someone more experienced like Jsacadura should be able to weigh in on the pros and cons.
      Moved from 10b to 7a

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Come on out Jaime!!! We need the master grafter’s opinion on this one 👍🏼

    • #15
      As everyone else has said, this looks like a really fun and amazing grafting technique to use! Thanks so much for sharing. I don't have any fig trees yet (I will be getting one tree soon ) but maybe I'll try this with my citrus. I saw your comment about pecan and walnut growers using this graft successfully so this will be a really exciting graft for me and others who've never grafted before!
      Nyc zone 7b Wish List: For everyone’s cuttings to root!

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        That sounds really cool trying it out on citrus! Im pretty sure it would work well, Ive heard this method works well on mango trees and quite a few others (like you mentioned so I dont see why it wouldn’t work on citrus too. Would love to see pics if you try it 👍🏼

      • fettuccine
        fettuccine commented
        Editing a comment
        I would love to try it out on my citrus but I just acquired them this spring so I should wait until next year before doing any grafting experiments on them. So it'll be awhile before I even get to try but when I do I'll post them here as a nice community record for banana grafting!

      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Sounds like a good plan! I don’t blame you for waiting it sounds like the smart thing to do if your citrus trees are on the younger side.

    • #16
      I did my first half dozen banana grafts this evening.
      Seemed much easier than it looked. With the extraordinary amount of cambial contact and how easy it is, I am surprised it isn’t more popular.

      THanks Jamie!

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Sooo cool!!! & So easy right?? You really did a great job Ram, I love it! Now be sure to keep us posted on the results 👍🏼👍🏼

    • #17
      I gave this a try yesterday. I put 2 Black Mission banana grafts on my large TC Desert King, and 2 White Adriatic on my giant TC White Marseilles. It might the only way I get some figs off of these non-productive-so-far trees! Plus they are the only 2 large trees that I have that made it through the winter completely unscathed, so my grafting choices were limited to them.
      The process itself was pretty smooth, considering that I've never grafted anything before. The picture shows the 2 finished Black Mission grafts.
      SE MI, zone 6a Current wish list: Fewer gnats, more roots this winter.

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        They look awesome Ann! Im so glad to see people trying this method out, it really is kinda fun/addictive to do & pretty cool to be able to salvage a “non-producer” or increase the rent on a “low producer” They gotta earn their place right? This is one way for even the most novice grafter to find success, if I did it, anyone can! 😉

      • ramv
        ramv commented
        Editing a comment
        Funny how white Marseilles (Lattarula) and Desert King are by far the biggest producing figs here. There are giant 50 year old trees all over town producing 1000s of figs. Most owners are happy to give away their fruit to anyone who stops by.

      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Ram there must be something about that oceanic northwest climate that DK & lattarula just love.. My DK just doesn’t want to produce more than a half dozen brebas every season & it is huge by the time I pack it away for the winter

    • #18
      Awe shucks!!!! Look out trees!!! ill be doing 100 of these tomorrow!! THANKS for the demo!!!!
      Joe

      Comment


      • joe73
        joe73 commented
        Editing a comment
        Ficus_Vitae exactly, even I can do it!!!!

      • joe73
        joe73 commented
        Editing a comment
        Jamie0507 I have a bunch of great cuttings if you want to make a frankinfig!!! I don’t have a big inventory of rootstock unfortunately 😞. I’ll bring some for sure!! Just in case😉😉

      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Sounds like a plan joe73! Ive got some leftover scion wood as well & Ive started grafting some of my less than optimal producers, just a branch or 2.. I can’t stop myself! Lol! 😉

    • #19
      I know ZERO about grafting, so I have lots of questions. For now, can grafting be used to grow a variety that isn't hardy in my area? Like a scion of a non-hardy variety to a hardy one? Also, how about a full-sized variety to a dwarf? Will it get huge or stay small?

      Comment


      • ginamcd
        ginamcd commented
        Editing a comment
        I have no tree grafting experience, but I do graft all my tomato plants onto resistant rootstock due to soil diseases. Essentially the rootstock is the support system for the scion, but the scion maintains all its own genetic properties. I'm assuming that's also true with tree grafting...?

      • Fygmalion
        Fygmalion commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, grafting a FMV prone variety to a FMV resistant variety generally results in the scion being healthier.... Grafting onto dwarf stock will result in the scion wood that was grafted to the dwarf stock being similarly constrained in size.. I have grafted BM, FP and IB onto LSU Purple rootstock which usually has awesome root growth and the results have been nothing short of spectacular... The second year IB grafts continue to show great FMV resistance while my 100% IB grown plants are showing increasing FMV in their second leaf year...

    • #20
      Also, I see your cuts going straight across. Do you think having angled cuts might improve stability? Thanks! Great tutorial!

      Comment


      • greenfig
        greenfig commented
        Editing a comment
        I was thinking about the whip and tongue technique to join two sticks too

      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        I have done a few with a slanted cut & it did feel a bit more stable, I think you could easily make modifications that will work very well & add to the stability of the graft. Of course we always need to be gentle with any graft afterwards 👍🏼

    • #21
      This is not a criticism of the banana grafting method, but a whip and tongue is way faster for me, allows use of somewhat different diameter scions (from the rootstock), and is close to 100% successful when done when the rootstock is actively growing.
      Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my tiny yard.
      Wish List: more space to grow fruit

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi venturebananas, it may well be but unfortunately for me and my fumbling fingers I have not been able to do the whip & tongue method to save my life lol! Ahh someday 😉

    • #22
      Thanks for sharing the technique, I will give it a try.

      Comment


      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        Would love to see your results 👍🏼

    • #23
      This looks so much easier then the debacle I went through 2 weeks ago
      Ike

      Wish list: oh lets face it Ill take any variety I dont have!!

      Comment


      • Drfig
        Drfig commented
        Editing a comment
        I had some special scions to graft and looks like they failed. This banana method look so much easier

      • Jamie0507
        Jamie0507 commented
        Editing a comment
        That totally stinks Ike! What method did you try 2 weeks ago out of curiosity? I’ve have the worst time with the whip & tongue graft, which stinks bc it seems to result in a very strong graft union (when not done by me that is lol😉). You should give this banana graft a try, it is sooo forgiving IMHO, it even worked for me! 😂

      • ramv
        ramv commented
        Editing a comment
        W/T produces a graft union that looks seamless within the first season.
        Unfortunately my success rate this year with fig grafts was only around 60-65% after several months. I really hope it is better with the banana graft.

    • #24
      I did my first banana grafts today! Very simple. Lots of fun. I'm confident they'll take.
      Im just messing around and probably did too much to this one graft but I wanted to try a few grafts on the same root stock so I started with a banana graft of MBVS onto my root stock and then I did a couple bud grafts below that to see if I can get a nice branched look right off. Fingers crossed. And thank you for the MBVS cuttings! I also have some rooting so I'll have some for sure!!
      ​​​​​​​
      Attached Files
      Eric - Santa Barbara, CA Zone 10a

      Comment


      • #25
        Very interesting and easy. Thanks Jamie... I will give it a try.
        Romeo
        Zone 6B. Lehigh Valley, PA

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