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  • Success rate with various grafting techniques

    I'm curious what rate of success people experience with different grafting techniques. Ross reported about 33% success using bud grafting in one of his videos. This would yield about 1 new fig from a 3 bud cutting, but bud cuttings take longer to grow. How about banana grafting, cleft grafting, whip and tongue grafting ? What rate of success can be expected with these ?

    Would it make sense to make three banana, or whip-tongue grafts from a long 3 bud cutting, rather than 3 bud grafts ? Or better to use the entire 3 bud cutting as the scion ?
    Northern Arizona, zone 8a (micro-zone 9)

  • #2
    Also consider the saddle graft, kind of an upsidedown cleft but it gives the scion wood more contact than a standard cleft, plus when you wrap it the graft remains very strong due to the overlapping sides of the scione onto the rootstock.
    WV Harpers Ferry Zone 6b

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    • #3
      Following, thanks Rico!
      Stockbridge, GA zone 8a | WL: Green Greek, Vasilika Syka

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      • #4
        Depends on what time of year I'm grafting, but generally speaking, I get around 90% from banana grafts and probably 80-90 from cleft grafts. I prefer banana grafts because of the high success rate and I find them more stable and physically stronger.

        As far a what buds to use from a scion, you need buds with a good bit of wood below them to banana- more than cleft. Buds with little or no wood below them can be chip or T-bud grafted, but as mentioned above, chip bud grafts have a lower percentage of success and seem to grow slower.
        North Central Florida, Zone 9a.

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        • #5
          You can get 90+ % with all of them if you do your grafting at the right time of year and know what you're doing. All bud grafts take more management than anything that decapitates the growing tip of a branch and replaces it (e.g., whip and tongue, whip, cleft, banana), but allow more grafts to be made from a single scion. My go-to when I have approximately equal diameter scion and rootstock is whip and tongue. It is very strong and seamless within a short period of time, but does take a bit more practice than the others mentioned.
          Mark -- living in the CA banana belt, growing bananas, figs, and most any fruit I can fit in my tiny yard.
          Wish List: Rubado, Saint Martin

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          • #6
            Chip bud grows slow for me. Might just be a bad graft but the ones I did only grew about 4”. Whip and tongue is my go to as everyone I done has taken and is a strong graft. If done properly you’ll be hard pressed to even see the graft once healed. Banana I’m going to try again this season. I’ll probably incorporate blue Malibu’s trick of putting a rod to help hold and provide strength. I find it hard to hold and wrap the rubber bands while trying to keep the cutting from falling off. It’s a tricky process the time I tried it. But any graft will have a high rate of success if done properly.
            Fallbrook,ca hater of melon figs

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            • #7
              I did a saddle graft and a few bud grafts to try. I think like everything else it comes down to the quality of your wood. So far the saddle graft is working well, even though the fit and cut weren’t perfect. One of the bud grafts I did is working but the others haven’t moved yet.
              Willamette Valley Oregon, zone 8b. WL: zaffiro, Black Tuscan, rodgrod, campaniere, CLBC, de la Gloria, thermalito, del sen juame gran, Sangue dolce, St Martin, Jack Lily, vincenzo, verdolino, hmadi, Syrian dark, raasti

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              • #8
                Thanks all.
                I'm practicing on some Tea Olive bush cuttings. Tricky, but I'm getting the hang of it.
                Northern Arizona, zone 8a (micro-zone 9)

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                • #9
                  Very dependent on many factors.
                  For grafting in fall/winter onto actively growing rootstock that fills a 1 gallon pot, I’m at 2 successes out of 5 total attempts so far.
                  Mike, MA Zone 6b
                  wishlist: The skill to successfully grow all the sticks I’ve picked up!

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                  • #10
                    When I have a special scion. I only use z grafts (whip and tongue). Had like 99.99% success rate. I also end up eating figs from it the same year as well. It is as important to select a proper root stock to start with. Just my 2 cents
                    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Zone 12 (Desert Climate)
                    Wish List: Cooler Summers

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                    • venturabananas
                      venturabananas commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Agreed, whip and tongue is the gold standard. It is strong and has so many possible contact points for the cambium to match up that now I'm surprised when I don't get a take. And yes, done at the start of the growing season, you will often get fruit that season.

                    • DerekWatts
                      DerekWatts commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I can't recommend z grafting enough. It's very easy and you can get near-perfect contact on all kinds of mismatched wood.

                  • #11
                    A bit of advice.....a non perfect graft done FAST is far better in terms of success rate than a perfectly matched graft done slowly. If the tongue of a whip and tongue gives you trouble just dont use it. The whip is all that is needed and just reinforce the whip for an extra month. I never do the tongue and have yet to have one fail even in our hurricanes. I have had grafted mother trees, the root stock tree knocked to the ground laying flat after the hurricanes that I would have to stand back up and stake while the roots healed and regrew not a one had the grafts on those root stock trees snap. Just keep the union joint wrapped in survey tape for an extra month or two and it is rock solid.
                    Cutting sales will continue until approx February 15th.

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                    • BC BYRON
                      BC BYRON commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I was thinking of doing just that. Also the longer thd cut the better? Also nice to see you on here again

                  • #12
                    I'm sure it is better to graft a valuable scion to a rooted tree, but would it be advisable to graft a valuable cutting to another more vigorous and easy to root bare cutting ?
                    Northern Arizona, zone 8a (micro-zone 9)

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                    • #13
                      Good grafting video I just watched
                      https://youtu.be/NBV9OIfQlaY
                      Actively seeking any and all varieties
                      #Sharing is caring
                      Courtenay, BC 🇨🇦 zone 8a

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                      • Dig
                        Dig commented
                        Editing a comment
                        yes, Jsacadura is an artful grafter and has a number of helpful videos.

                      • Figbert
                        Figbert commented
                        Editing a comment
                        One thing I noticed after watching a bunch of grafting videos - don't just watch the blades, watch how they are holding the knives. A lot of these grafters are pulling/pushing the blade right towards a finger or thumb. But the way they are holding the knife and the wood means that even if the blade slips the knife would stop when finger meets finger or finger meets handle - not when blade hits finger.

                        The others ... just learned not to slip?

                      • Bellefleurs
                        Bellefleurs commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I have watched so many of these and I’m amazed that the blade doesn’t skip.
                        I’m still afraid of my grafting knife. I grafted two cuttings tonight but I wore gloves and I held my breath.

                    • #14
                      I will be giving the Z graft a try early Spring this year. Here is a video that shows it in detail on Citrus.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...ture=emb_title

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                      • #15
                        The type of graft generally depends on what caliper your Scion is compared to your root stock. The caliper of a cutting can be 3 or 4 times that of my root stock at times. My go to for figs is cleft and whip/tongue if I have a choice.

                        Here is my current batch of grafts from after Thanksgiving.
                        Click image for larger version

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                        Brooklyn, Washington. zone 8b, rainy winter, mild arid summer
                        Wishing for: Tashkent, LSU DC 4, 6, I-258/GN AF, De la Reina, Becane, Tx-BA1, Gris de St. Jean, Adam

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                        • BriarPiperTx
                          BriarPiperTx commented
                          Editing a comment
                          So, what are you doing when your scion is larger than your rootstock ? A Saddle graft ?

                        • KMH
                          KMH commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Scion bigger than Rootstock - z graft!

                        • Enscribe
                          Enscribe commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Not sure if it has a name. Basically I do a whip/tongue but the larger Scion is only cut deep enough to match the same size of cambium exposure on the smaller root stock. I'll take a pic and post it here.

                      • #16
                        Like this
                        Click image for larger version

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                        Brooklyn, Washington. zone 8b, rainy winter, mild arid summer
                        Wishing for: Tashkent, LSU DC 4, 6, I-258/GN AF, De la Reina, Becane, Tx-BA1, Gris de St. Jean, Adam

                        Comment


                        • venturabananas
                          venturabananas commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Right. That is better (stronger) than the z-graft as demonstrated in the citrus video, which is a very weak graft that will need a lot of support. Don't use the z-graft as shown if you can do this modified whip and tongue pictured above. Better yet, just match the size of the rootstock and scion and do a traditional whip and tongue to maximize graft strength and cambium contact.

                        • Enscribe
                          Enscribe commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I would agree that the z is weak. too much cutting, not enough support. I would also add that if you use very small stock, the plant will take it's time growing a thicker stem to try and feed the beast that you've grafted onto it. It will delay the development significantly as you can see from the two in the fore ground pictured above. All the grafts were done within 3 days of each other.
                          Last edited by Enscribe; 01-14-2020, 11:50 AM. Reason: added to an incomplete thought.

                        • Fruitgrower
                          Fruitgrower commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Modified whip and tongue graft there, excellent choice for mismatched scion. If you have larger stock, say over soda can you can use a bark graft. These two, as well as the standard whip and tongue are my preferred grafting techniques.

                      • #17
                        Last year, first time grafting using cleft graft is 1 out of 4.
                        Chris N.
                        Growing figs Espalier in San Jose, CA (Zone 9B)

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                        • #18
                          Graft method in my opinion is the least important factor in graft success as long as proper technique is used -- sharp knife, straight cut, good seal, cambium match or cross etc, tie in tightly etc.

                          Some factors that actually influence grafting success.
                          1. Freshness and quality of budwood. If buds are not tight, the graft will likely fail
                          2. Temperature. Neither too hot nor too cold.
                          3. Whether rootstock is actively growing or not
                          4. Post operative care. How well you seal the graft union from moisture loss and protect from external moisture. Protect from alighting birds etc.


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                          • DerekWatts
                            DerekWatts commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Can you elaborate on what you mean by 'tight' when it comes to buds?

                          • ramv
                            ramv commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Sometimes buds can already be sprouted. This happens a lot with peach/nectarine budwood which has a tendency to open even when stored at low temperatures. Figs usually have several dormant buds and I've had good grafting success even with soft green wood so this is less of a problem.

                        • #19
                          I'm not an expert grafter myself, but I have watched a number of expert grafters doing their stuff...
                          It seems to me that the easiest and quickest type of graft is the cleft graft, as demonstrated in Harvey C's video here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnkgc2Gs1ZA

                          However, I have a question regarding this method:

                          It will be very rare for the rootstock and scion to be exactly the same diameter, and therefore only one side of the cambium is normally lined up.

                          One of the experts I have watched, though, gets almost 100% success by using a slightly different method:

                          He cuts the 'wedge' in the scion as Harvey does, then places it flat on the rootstock so that both the outer edges align with the rootstock (usually some way off center). At this point he makes the downward crosscut in the rootstock, after which he inserts the scion in the normal manner.

                          Using this method, the rootstock and scion theoretically make contact on both sides of the cambium, not just one, and thus the chances of the cutting taking should be greater.

                          I know this method works, as I have seen it in practice, so why is this not the norm?

                          Click image for larger version

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                          Don, Danmark

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                          • venturabananas
                            venturabananas commented
                            Editing a comment
                            That's a good variant on a cleft graft. I suspect it gets used less because it is slightly less strong and requires a bit more thought and skill to get the cut in the rootstock perfectly matched. Also, the "regular" cleft with a smaller scion, which has cambium contact on only one side works remarkably well and is very easy.

                        • #20
                          Originally posted by dondan View Post
                          I'm not an expert grafter myself, but I have watched a number of expert grafters doing their stuff...
                          It seems to me that the easiest and quickest type of graft is the cleft graft, as demonstrated in Harvey C's video here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bnkgc2Gs1ZA

                          However, I have a question regarding this method:

                          It will be very rare for the rootstock and scion to be exactly the same diameter, and therefore only one side of the cambium is normally lined up.



                          Using this method, the rootstock and scion theoretically make contact on both sides of the cambium, not just one, and thus the chances of the cutting taking should be greater.

                          I know this method works, as I have seen it in practice, so why is this not the norm?

                          Click image for larger version

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                          I regularly graft scionwood of different diameters. As long as scionwood and stock cambium cross at one position, the grafts will take. Just tilt the scion wood
                          There is no need for maximal cambial contact.

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                          • ramv
                            ramv commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Crossing will almost certainly give some cambium contact. Trying for excellent contact might lead to none. The cambium is basically a few cells in thickness and very hard to get a perfect match with.
                            In this case ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good enough.
                            Last edited by ramv; 01-17-2020, 05:27 PM.

                          • venturabananas
                            venturabananas commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I agree with Ram that all you need is one cross of the cambium, but I also think a cross on two sides will heal faster. It's when you try to get perfect contact with two parallel lines of contact and fail to get any cambium contact that Ram is warning of.

                          • dondan
                            dondan commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Well, you're the expert, ramv , not me.
                            All I know is that the guy who uses this technique and has grafted thousands of trees has almost 100% success. He demonstrated it for me and it took two minutes.
                            Maybe he has a special, delicate touch, or maybe he's just lucky.

                        • #21
                          venturabananas And I can attest to getting a strong 0% at the -wrong- time of year and also not knowing what I was doing ... poor pomegranates.
                          This year will be better
                          Simon - Far Northern California - Zone 9b

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                          • greenfig
                            greenfig commented
                            Editing a comment
                            My pomegranate grafts done in May last year took nicely. They are quite forgiving.

                          • venturabananas
                            venturabananas commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Timing is way more important than technique!

                        • #22
                          greenfig I think I tried waaaaay to early for my location, was it January?. I guess I assumed they were a little too forgiving, Hah!
                          Simon - Far Northern California - Zone 9b

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                          • #23
                            Interesting thread. I've never grafted anything, but I'd to try some fig grafts this year. We'll see how it goes.

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                            • venturabananas
                              venturabananas commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Try it. You’ll like it!
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