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  • Banana Grafting Part Deux! Use your easy to root cuttings as Rootstock!

    Let’s get busy with Banana Grafting to beat back the winter blues everyone! Break out your easy to root cuttings for this one that are fresh outta the rooting box 😊

    Edit: Here is the link to the first thread I started on banana grafting a while back:
    https://www.ourfigs.com/forum/figs-h...ting”-woohoo

    So it was requested by Figs4All that I describe the way I use the Banana graft method on newly rooting cuttings in further detail. I thought to myself that this is the perfect time for a new pictorial to help anyone who wants to give it a try. I would suggest practicing on 2 different varieties that aren’t super expensive first until you get the hang of it. It is super easy, so you won’t need much practice before you become a banana grafting king or queen!

    *You’ll need to click on the photos to see all 19 of them

    1. Now to banana graft you’ll need your rootstock (cutting in this case) to be at least beginning to wake up. If you already have this part, skip to step 4. Everyone else, Get yourself a Sterilite Bin/shoe box and fill it about half way with coir that has already been pre-moistened. It is important that the coir is evenly moist but barely moist. So in other words you should not be able to squeeze any water out of it. Using a thermostat controlled heatmat underneath is helpful but not necessary. I like it set to 73 degrees F. You can also use the top of your fridge in place of the heatmat if you’d like. I have a few pictured that I picked up at Sams or at the dollar store.


    2. Choose your rootstock scion. It’s best to choose scion that is known to easily root for you and to be a vigorous grower. At this point keep in mind the caliper size of the scion you are going to be grafting. It is ideal when the rootstock cutting is either close to the same caliper size as the scion you wish to graft up to 50% larger than the rootstock caliper. I have been successful in grafting a smaller caliper scion to to larger caliper rootstock, but my success rate goes down. I like to use Lyndhurst White, Unk Black Greek or Atreano because they root easily, grow ferociously and I have plenty of them.

    3. Place the cuttings you wish to use as rootstock in your coir box, secure the lid, and place it on the heatmat or above the fridge. A little bottom heat really speeds the process of waking the cutting up so that the bark starts to slip, which is critical to do this method. Now walk away and check back ever 2-3 days to let some fresh air in and observe your cuttings.


    4. After 7-10 days of being nice and toasty your cuttings should be starting to wake up. I like to wait until I see the emergence of at least a few root nubs, but I more often than not wait for the roots to grow at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Keep in mind you need to observe the cuttings you are rooting to look for specific tell-tale signs. If you see buds are starting to really green up along with the beginnings of small roots, your rootstock is likely active enough at this point for the bark to be slipping. There are a couple examples below & in the pictorial.
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    5. Now choose the dormant scion you want to graft to the rootstock cutting. You’ll need 1-2 nodes, but I’ve done this with 3or 4 nodes without issue. You need to have some wood below the first node to use this technique. See the example
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    My scion in this case is 2 nodes of Parajital Rimada and Im grafting to Lyndhurst White. I like to wrap the scion with Parafilm beforehand covering the 2 nodes that will sit above the graft, but you need to leave the wood below unwrapped. See pic

    6. Now it’s time to prep your area. Make sure your grafting knife and pruners are clean, I use alcohol to do this. I also take the 2 strips of parafilm that I will be using and cut the rubber band so I won’t have to do this later.


    7. Now comes the fun part! Lets start prepping the cutting we will use for rootstock! If you have any green buds swelling on the lower nodes of the cutting, remove them now. This will help to keep the energy in your cutting moving towards buds on the scion chose. Then you will want to make a clean cut just below the top node, see pic
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    8. Now you want to make your 4 slits around the cutting at the 9o’clock, 12, 3, and 6 o’clock positions. You can do this by simply placing the knife along the side of the cutting and pressing carefully (not too hard) until you feel the knife pop through outer bark down to the inner wood. See pic
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    9. Repeat this 3 more times until you have all 4 done, and you can then start my favorite part! Banana peeling each of the 4 sides! Now if your cutting is not in the process of waking up, you will not be able to do this. I like to use the edge of my nail, but you can also use your grafting knife to start lifting the edge of the bark up. See pic
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    10. Once you begin peeling, you will reveal the creamy colored inner bark. Be careful not to handle the inside of the bark. I’ve heard the oils in your fingers are not well appreciated by the cambium layer. Repeat this for all 4 sides until your cutting looks like the picture.
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    11. Now you want to take your pruners and carefully snip out the inner wood to make room for your scion placement. Take care to cut the inner wood out at an angle to match the angle on your scion.


    12. At this point I will sometimes begin wrapping some parafilm just below the slits, so I can use it later to more easily wrap the scion into place. I don’t use the little elastic band anymore for this because.. well.. it annoys me lol! But you can do it either way.
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    13. Now I put the scion in to get a good idea of how far up the flaps will go for the next step.
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    14. Now I make the 4 clean slices around the bottom portion of the wood below the first node of the scion (that I left unwrapped) to match where the flaps will meet. I’ve done clean slices like in the picture or I just lightly scraped to reveal the green cambium and both have worked equally well.
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    15. Now its time to place your scion and wrap it in place very securely with your trusty parafilm. Make sure its snug, but not strangling!
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    16. Now its time to wrap your elastic band around the graft. Begin at the top of the graft union and work your way down. I’ve found if you start at the bottom and wrap just a little too snugly, you can cause your scion to be pushed out of place pretty easily. That’s no bueno so don’t do that
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    17. Now wrap again with your 2nd piece of trusty parafilm. You want to cover the elastic band completely and also make sure no bare wood is exposed above the graft union.
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    18. Now don’t forget to label the cup you are placing this awesome banana grafted cutting into! I like to label the with scion variety, rootstock variety, and the date you performed your banana graft work of art surgery on, see pic
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    19. Now carefully cup your masterpiece into a nice light, and well draining medium that is pre-moistened! Ensure the graft union is above the soil line and that’s it! Easy Peazy right?
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    20. Now pat yourself on the back as you gaze at your new beautiful creation!

    After this you want to treat it like any other newly rooted cutting, carefully and not too much love/water! You want to carefully remove any growth that comes up from below the soil line of course since that is whatever variety your rootstock is. The good news is, there likely isn’t that many nodes below the soil line, and by removing any swelling buds beforehand you’ve lowered the chances of that happening early on. Just be very careful when you up-pot down the road, as you don’t want to mess up your glorious graft that you will admire forever and ever! Standard graft care applies and it will heal up nicely over it’s first season.

    So what do you guys think? Any suggestions to make it easier are always welcome. Remember I am by no means an expert, in fact I’m quite the novice grafter. This is why I love this method so much! If I can do it, anyone can!

    Now get to banana grafting your cuttings everyone! I’d love to see pics of your banana grafts if you decide to try this, so please share with us all!
    Last edited by Jamie0507; 01-26-2020, 10:36 AM. Reason: Added the link to my initial thread on the subject
    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
    Jaime, this is amazing, thank you!!

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      You are so welcome Bluebell! I hope you’ll consider giving it a try sometime 👍🏼

  • #3
    This is An excellent thank you so much. I wish you post more about different kinds of grafting

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      I’m so glad you like it and hope you find it helpful 😊 I’m definitely not an expert grafter by any stretch, but I do a few different modifications/variations of the banana graft that I could make a thread on in the future 👍🏼

  • #4
    Nice idea and write up..!! How about this variation as a way to prepare the rootstock. Put the rootstock into a fig pop. After 10-30 days use the rootstock for a banana graft. You could wait until roots have formed enough that the pop is hardy enough to handle. I think doing the graft would be fairly easy as long as enough rootstock is exposed.

    I'd put a rubber band wrapped several times onto the rootstock before preparing the flaps. After insertion of the scion roll the rubber band up over the union to hold it for further wrapping. Did you say you didn't like this approach?
    Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7
    http://growingfruit.org/

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      That is a great idea to use this on fig pops! Much easier to handle a fig pop when trying to graft to it versus say a newly rooted cutting in a cup. I tried this graft on a decently rooted cutting in a regular 16oz solo cup but it moved the cutting in the cup around too much and was causing it to twist/break the young roots. With a fig pop the cutting held tighter with a rubber band wrapped around the bag and you can move the whole thing around much easier when your doing the different steps.. Great idea Steve!

      Yes I use to use the rubber band wrapped around several times and placed onto the rootstock before making the flaps, but I found it would often push the scion up out of place when I rolled it upwards. That is the original method and I’ve seen most people do it that way with no issue. I personally manage to screw it up that way lol, so I found this alternate method works better for me. 😉

    • DerekWatts
      DerekWatts commented
      Editing a comment
      Some variety of the fig pop approach should be better if you were planning to pre-root the cuttings before the graft. I pre-rooted a couple grafted cuttings last year and broke off several roots, despite my best efforts to be careful. I'd be curious to explore coir pellets for this benefit, just based on personal discomfort with fig pops.

    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      DerekWatts coir pellets is another potentially even more secure way to do this graft with less risk to breaking the roots! This is just one more reason to love the ourfigs community, you guys are awesome!

  • #5
    Fantastic walkthrough, with the pictures of every step it’s crystal clear. I’m inspired to go home and get some root stock going right now
    Mike, MA Zone 6b
    wishlist: The skill to successfully grow all the sticks I’ve picked up!

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      YES!!! That’s what I want to hear! Lol! Be sure to post pics and tell me how you liked the method once you try it 👍🏼

  • #6
    Wow!!! This totally exceeded my expectations. I never expected this awesome detail and pictures when I asked for a little more information. I am so excited to try this and you made it so easy to follow. As you mentioned, no tree may be safe now! I can't wait to start my frankenfiggin journey. Thank you Jamie0507 for this pictorial!
    Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      I’m so glad it was helpful! Yah I can get a little crazy with my pictorials.. its what happens when I get stuck inside all winter.. well.. to be honest I do things overboard all year round when it comes to figs lol! The fig fever is real and its all consuming! Hehe 😂

  • #7
    Very nice write up Jamie! Should help a lot of members.
    Romeo
    Zone 6B. Lehigh Valley, PA

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      I hope so Romeo! I know I tried other methods before this earlier on and had dismal results earlier on. I’ve since honed my grafting skills a bit but the banana graft is still my go to method for sure 👍🏼

  • #8
    Nice job Jamie 👍. What's the shortest length of contact u have had success with? And what's the average length u would like to have say an inch or two?
    JLB zone 8b south Mississippi. Wish list really good figs thay don't split with all this dang humidity

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey JLB 😊 So I have really pushed the line on the amount of wood below the first node that needs to be in contact with the cambium and Ive got away with as little as a just under a half an inch. That’s not exactly ideal, but its worked in the past. If there is a bud at the bottom of your scion piece (which can happen), I try to position it so its in between 2 of the flaps so it could potentially make its way out unobstructed in time. Im not sure if that’s a good idea or not, but so far it hasn’t been a problem 🤞. I think ideally between an inch or two would make for the strongest graft though since there is just more cambium on cambium contact

    • JLB
      JLB commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Jamie. I like the idea of letting that lower bud slip thru the flaps. I have a few cuttings with only a half inch or so beneath the bottom bud to try this technique with👍. Few other questions. Has anyone u know about tried a little fast drying wood glue at the connection? How long do u leave the parafilm and rubber band on? Any other bracing needed?

    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      JLB sorry I missed your questions at first. Actually Ive never tried glue with this graft before and I don’t know of anyone who has. Maybe you can give it a try just to experiment? I usually just let the parafilm and rubber band fall off by itself. That usually happens in a couple months (outside conditions), but I’ll pay closer attention to the time frame on this years banana grafts 👍🏼 As for bracing, while inside over the winter I have not used any sort of bracing, but if you do this technique over the summer it definitely helps. The wind knocked a banana grafted tree over last season which broke the graft on me, and on top worked trees you’d want to place a bird perch up higher to prevent pesky birds from landing on a quick growing grafted branch as well early on. On cuttings though, your graft line should be very low to the soil line which may help with stability down the road 😊
      Last edited by Jamie0507; 01-28-2020, 07:42 AM.

  • #9
    This is AWESOME! I am going to try the figpop rootstock variation discussed above, then follow the rest of your procedure. really great stuff. Thanks
    Zone 7A
    Wishlist: Smith, CLBC, UC 187-25, Yellow Long Neck, CC

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      Awesome! I would love to see your end product once you do it. I really think that could work like a charm with this grafting method 👍🏼

  • #10
    Great write up!! I’m attempting the same but using a whip and tongue graft if a dormant scion to a dormant cutting. My hope is that they wake up together. I tried chip budding to a dormant cutting last season, but I think the sizes of each were too dissimilar and it didn’t work. Fingers crossed and keep us posted on your results.
    Wish list. White Baca, Rigato de Salento PB, Iranian Candy, Nerucciolo D’Elba, Saint Martin

    Comment


    • Dtownfigs
      Dtownfigs commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Jamie, to add another layer it’s actually a frankencutting. The HC rootstock had a nice little fork so I stuck Paratjal Rim on one side and Moscatel Preto on the other!!

    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      That’s even COOLER! Lol! Especially with my fav Moscatel Preto & the gorgeous Paraj. Rim grafted to it! I would love to see a pic when it starts growing for you 👍🏼👍🏼

    • Dtownfigs
      Dtownfigs commented
      Editing a comment
      You got it! I’m also rooting Kesariani! So have a couple of your favorites going! Told myself I’d add just a few this season and you know how that goes. I’ve noticed that my wish list has been similar to yours, you’ve got great taste!!!! 😉

  • #11
    That is a write up even I can follow, wow. Thank you so much Jaime for taking the time to share with all of us.
    Central Florida zone 9b
    Wish List CdD Mutante, Rubado, Campaniere

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      You got it Stella! I know you will be a master banana grafter in no time 😉 Give it a try, Id love to see a bunch of pics from people who give it a go 👍🏼

  • #12
    I have never tried banana grafting before but will definitely give it a try after your great pictorial writeup thanks!

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      You are very welcome, it really is so much fun to do and super easy! Of course Im a big fig nerd so maybe my idea of fun is a little skewed lol 😉

  • #13
    How long does it take to heal to the point that it's durable? I would be interested to see how this heals together in a couple months. I like to break apart a graft now and then to see what/how the graft took and healed. Thanks for sharing in such detail.
    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


    • BC BYRON
      BC BYRON commented
      Editing a comment
      I was actually throwing around the idea of drilling out the pith and inserting a stainless rod to strengthen the graft till it heals. Maybe cut the head off stainless nail

    • Enscribe
      Enscribe commented
      Editing a comment
      BC BYRON -Have you tried this before with anything? The pith is the nutrient transport mechanism so not sure how blocking it would turn out. Maybe it could re-route and heal? I've got plenty of 100 year old BL Maples with fence wire and all manner of things embedded withing their wood that grow just fine.

    • BC BYRON
      BC BYRON commented
      Editing a comment
      Enscribe no I have not. Didn't realize anything was transported up the pith

  • #14
    Great write up and photos. But every time I see banana grafting done or described and I can't help but think, "boy, a standard whip-and-tongue would have been faster and stronger." And equally successful. And better looking when healed.

    But I wouldn't want to discourage folks from using the graft they are comfortable with.

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by venturabananas; 01-26-2020, 07:21 AM.
    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 Mark, I do remember you suggested the whip & tongue graft the first time I posted about banana grafting. I wish I could get the hang of the whip & tongue method but for the life of me I can’t seem to do it right. I would love to learn though! Maybe I can convince you to make a pictorial of your technique? Ive watched many youtube videos on it, but they never really get in close enough so I can follow it. It probably just takes more practice.

    • venturabananas
      venturabananas commented
      Editing a comment
      Hi Jamie, I think the key is practice and comfort with the knife. Get a pile of prunings that aren't precious to you and are going to get thrown in the green waste or compost pile anyway and make dozens or hundreds of cuts. And accept that many of your actual grafts won't look as pretty as the best you have seen or could do under perfect conditions, but in my experience, when done at the right time (rootstock pushing), they will pretty much all take anyway. I know I couldn't show how to do a whip and tongue any better than Jsacadura has. His videos are fantastic in illustrating how to do all kinds of grafts. But ultimately, do the style of graft that works for you. There is no single, "right way".

  • #15
    Originally posted by venturabananas View Post
    Great write up and photos. But every time I see banana grafting done or described and I can't help but think, "boy, a standard whip-and-tongue would have been faster and stronger." And equally successful. And better looking when healed.

    But I wouldn't want to discourage folks from using the graft they are comfortable with.
    Hey Mark:

    That may be true if the scion and stock are the same caliper and shape. But the banana graft is much more forgiving on caliper and shape differences. And I think easier to do where you can't apply much pressure to the stock or it's roots. I've done a lot of W&T and think they are difficult under the best of conditions esp if wood is hard and knife not as sharp as needed.
    Alpine, Texas 4500ft elevation Zone 7
    http://growingfruit.org/

    Comment


    • Evdurtschi
      Evdurtschi commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree. I LOVE a good W&T but I have had lots where the diameters were off enough that it didn’t make sense and banana grafts have worked perfectly. Not only that but they seem to take faster than other grafts as well because there is so much cambium contact.
      Nothing beats the beautiful healed union of the W&T though. :-)

    • venturabananas
      venturabananas commented
      Editing a comment
      Steve, that's good food for thought. Especially the part about pressure put on the stock/roots. I had also assumed you need almost perfectly matched diameters of scion and rootstock for a banana graft. Whip and tongue is very forgiving with smaller scions, even much smaller, but I doubt it would be with bigger scions, though I haven't tried that combination. In topworking, I can always avoid that combination.

  • #16
    Jamie, this is a great tutorial. Thank you for taking the time to put it together. Banana grafting is excellent for beginners or advanced people and is so forgiving. My very first grafts ever we’re banana after seeing your earlier post and I got LOTS of amazing ripe figs this year from those grafts. I was 100% on them last fall.

    Thank you!!
    Eric - Santa Barbara, CA Zone 10a

    Comment


    • Jamie0507
      Jamie0507 commented
      Editing a comment
      Eric that makes me so happy to hear! Seriously when I find out my pictorial from last year (or this one) was helpful to my fellow fig peeps & ultimately allowed them to eat MORE figs SOONER, I get some serious warm & fuzzies over it! Lol! I think the banana graft method really can help you to build confidence in trying other methods too. Since learning this method Ive also succeeded with cleft grafts and modified rind bark grafts.. but that W&T graft I just can’t get! Grrr I’ll get it eventually though dang it!

  • #17
    Thanks for sharing!! Super neat!!
    Menifee, CA. Zone 9a. MotherofDragons on Fig Database/FigBid. WL: VdB, Burgan Unk.

    Comment


    • #18
      Very helpful for someone like me who is new to grafting. Thank you.

      Comment


      • #19
        I am waking up so excuse me if this has been said. First Awesome job with that. My question is, Wouldn't it be easier to banana graft onto an already established root-stock? Like i plan on doing to a year old Brown Turkey or Celeste.
        Rossville,Ga.
        Wishlist Cravens Craven

        Comment


        • Cguitar
          Cguitar commented
          Editing a comment
          Listen to Jamie she beat me to this and knows best lol

        • Jamie0507
          Jamie0507 commented
          Editing a comment
          Hey Chris! Thanks for posting that link, I definitely should have put that in my initial posting.. the “part deux” would have made more sense lol!

        • WVMJack
          WVMJack commented
          Editing a comment
          You dont have to wait until the rooted rootstck wakes up in the spring, just bring them inside under lights and they will start right up. Start watering right away with Gnatrol just to be careful

      • #20
        Hi Jamie0507 . i put your pictorial to good use and it looks like I may have two successful banana grafts. I have one bud breaking on each fig graft. I am hoping this is a sure sign all is well with these grafts. I am waiting patiently for a third to show signs. I have more cuttings waiting in the fridge and will get busy with more grafts in the coming weeks. Thank you Jamie!

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        Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

        Comment


        • Jamie0507
          Jamie0507 commented
          Editing a comment
          This is SOOOO AWESOME!! Thank you for sharing the pics of your finished product, they look great! Isn’t it crazy how fast those buds begin to swell?? It puts a big smile on my face every time I see new one begin to show signs of a successful take no matter how many times I do it lol 😊 Im so glad the pictorial inspired you to give it a try.. just be aware.. this too can become addictive & you might find yourself banana grafting everything in sight.. just because you can! Hehe! 😉

      • #21
        Well I do think I am hooked on grafting. I am already looking at cuttings in a way that cuts them up into the most grafts. This is making the grey winter more fun. Thank you for your inspiration!
        Northern VA, zone 7a/7b

        Comment


        • #22
          This is dope. I think I’ll try a banana graft this year at some point.
          Willamette Valley Oregon, zone 8b. WL: zaffiro, Black Tuscan, rodgrod, campaniere, CLBC, de la Gloria, thermalito, del sen juame gran, Sangue dolce, Black ischia, Jack Lily, vincenzo, verdolino, Syrian dark, rubado

          Comment


          • #23
            Jamie, I'm starting to think I'm just too clumsy for banana grafts. Or maybe just poor hand eye coordination in my twilight years, I don't know, but I've tried about 6 now and have had to abort all but one try, and that's this one,but it was so sloppy I doubt anything will come of it. Maybe I've been trying it on branches that are too thin we'll see come the warm weather. Click image for larger version

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            Tony. Pickens county, SC zone 7b
            WL: Angelo's Dark; Atreano; Azores Dark; Brooklyn White; Dominick; Florea; Golden Riverside; LSU Early Improved Celeste; some Maltese or Italians; Napolitana:

            Comment


            • JLB
              JLB commented
              Editing a comment
              Ottis my first attempt wasn't pretty either. The bark was tough to peal it took several tries. Hopefully it will produce.

            • Otis
              Otis commented
              Editing a comment
              Boy, this is such a positive forum. Thank You.

            • Jamie0507
              Jamie0507 commented
              Editing a comment
              Hey Otis! Don’t you beat yourself up, it does take a little practice and getting the feel for how to hold the scion in place when wrapping with parafilm & the rubber band as well. I do think its possible that the branch on the rootstock may have been just a bit thin, but if its holding up keep your fingers crossed 🤞 It just might hold for you 👍🏼 I do think this method becomes more difficult on rootstock that is much thinner than Pencil thick, but don’t give up! You are making progress for sure 👍🏼👍🏼😊

          • #24
            Jamie,

            The squeal is as good as the original, if not better 👍
            Now, I just need to find myself a tree to graft.. 🌳
            Moved from 10b to 7a

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            • #25
              Originally posted by Otis View Post
              You're kind, Belle, but that plant is awake and even bled a bit. I'm afraid I'm just an oaf. But I'll keep practicing.
              You are definitely not an oaf and these grafts appear to be fairly forgiving.
              Piney Point Village, Zone 8b

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