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  • Ischia Black (USDA Davis version) and grafting

    Editing to add comments that were somehow lost when I inserted photos... grrrr

    Over the years many folks have wondered why nobody seemingly had their order requests for Ischia Black with USDA filled. I spent the day at Wolfskill with Jon and Dennis on August 19, 2014 and decided to check out the Ischia Black specimens. One was completely missing and the second and only one remaining was in very bad shape with maybe 15" of growth for the season on the best shoot (see first photo below). I mentioned it to Howard (the general orchard and fig manager) and he said that he had some others in pots that he planned to plant in the new block (should be planted by now), but I doubt they are doing great as this accession is heavily infected with FMV and grows slowly.

    I got a couple of plants in 2014 and they have grown slowly and I have not been able to take cuttings off of them yet. But I decided to buy some cuttings from Herman (Vasile) who had originally obtained his from USDA about 15 years ago. I grafted these onto Brown Turkey rootstock on November 20, 2015 and today up-potted some of them. The best ones have about 15" or so of growth in just over 3 months (see second photo below). The rootstock were very rootbound and I expect growth rates to be better now that they are in larger pots.

    I encourage everyone to give grafting a try for such difficult varieties.


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    Thanks for looking!
    Last edited by HarveyC; 02-27-2016, 04:02 PM.
    My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

  • #2
    Do you think that the cuttings from the grafted ischia black trees will be difficult to root and/or slow growers?

    One would think they would revert to how they were with the original tree, right?
    Kevin (Eastern MA - Zone 5b/6a)

    Comment


    • HarveyC
      HarveyC commented
      Editing a comment
      Most likely though, perhaps, the increased vigor of the rootstock can result in greater energy reserves in the cuttings and give better rooting results. Still, without getting rid of the FMV entirely, I think that this strain is probably better off being grafted.

  • #3
    Looks good 😀

    I wonder how WillsC's FMV free Ischia Black compares to the UCD version.

    It would be interesting to see if the root stock affects the fruiting any too. Flavor, ripening time, etc.
    Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Zaffiro, Moro de Caneva, Nerucciolo d'Elba, Bordissot Blanca Negra, Rubado

    Comment


    • HarveyC
      HarveyC commented
      Editing a comment
      To my eye, that appears to be a different fig (though no judge on fruit quality until I get to taste it! LOL)

      I have a grafted Black Madeira and I notice no difference in the fruit quality or timing from the non-grafted one growing right next to it, just more of it.

  • #4
    Perhaps it's time to grow some BT rootstock and give fig grafting a try.
    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

    Comment


    • #5
      Harvey, totally agreed! I have killed two Black Madeira / Figo Preto's trying to root them. Such a frustrating waste. However I have grafted two other scions of Black Madeira and Figo Preto onto Black Mission and Panache respectively and they have take and are pushing new growth!

      Any time I get a prized / rare variety I do (at a minimum) at least one chip bud onto one of my main trees just in case it fails to root. It is a cheap but very effective insurance policy!
      Location: USDA Zone 9b / Sunset 13. Chandler, AZ

      Comment


      • #6
        Has anyone tried any approach grafts with figs, where both trees stay rooted and are joined at an intersecting graft? These little trees are so expensive, it seems the safest way to graft and not lose your original stock.
        http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/p.../approach.html

        Some of us have a black thumb when it comes to grafting. I’m told it takes a lot of practice to get it right. I’ve tried grafting apples, citrus, apricots, peaches, and plums; bud, whip, cleft, veneer grafts. I have several books on grafting, a DVD, and have taken several workshops with CRFG. The only success I’ve had is with apples.
        Mara, Southern California,
        Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

        Comment


        • HarveyC
          HarveyC commented
          Editing a comment
          I've not seen that done but it sounds worth trying for the reasons you've stated. I've found figs to be quite easy to graft and I have gotten to the point that I don't worry too much about getting alignment of cambium layers perfect, etc.

          Some guidelines that I suggest:
          1. Graft with dormant scions and rootstock with moderate growth rate (high growth may result in heavy sap flow the interferes with cambium contact)
          2. I almost always make partial circular cuts/scores around rootstock an inch or two below the planned grafting location to relieve pressure of sap flow. If I see almost no sap flow when I cut off the top of rootstock, I may skip this step.
          3. If scion and rootstock are about the same diameter, use a whip and tongue graft. If scion is slightly smaller than rootstock, just make cut in rootstock so that width between two sides of cambium are the same as the scion.
          4. If scion is maybe 3/4 or less than the diameter of the rootstock, use cleft graft. I using cleft graft I prefer scion to not be more than 1/2 the diameter of the rootstock (less splitting of rootsotck), so consider going lower on rootstock to get thicker area.
          5. Conserve scionwood for expensive or precious varieties, using only 1 or 2 buds is fine.
          6. I prefer wrapping scion with Parafilm prior to placing the scion so that I'm not moving it around after it's already in place. Stretch the Parafilm a lot when placing over scion (and union area also, but less important) as this creates a better seal and makes it easier for buds to push through.
          7. I know some people put Parafilm on over union before placing rubber band but I always place rubber band on first and then cover union area with Parafilm. This results in less chance of scion moving and the Parafilm can also help keep the rubber band held in place a little bit better.
          8. Ask Hershell for further advice, he is a pro!

          I've bought various gadgets for grafting and yesterday did more grafting and resorted to my old Tina grafting knife, my favorite. I have 3 of them so I always have one that is very sharp. My eyesight is getting more difficult even with glasses (reflections, etc.) and I often use a magnifying lens (I have one that is worn as a hood on my head) to help align cambium layers.

          Practice a lot with cheap stuff!

        • Altadena Mara
          Altadena Mara commented
          Editing a comment
          Wow! Thanks for all the detailed info, Harvey. All my trees are pushing out green leaves so I guess it's too late to practice this year. Maybe next year.

        • HarveyC
          HarveyC commented
          Editing a comment
          Glad to help, Mara. I also have some photos of grafting on my Figaholics Facebook page (not great quality, but adequate).

          My trees are pushing leaves also and don't think it's too late to graft, I just would avoid when there is very vigorous growth like in late April and May or male do heavier scoring and then wait a day before grafting.

      • #7
        Harvey,

        Thanks for sharing the Ischia Black and Grafting info.
        I've had Zero success at my attempts at fig grafting, but will try it again this season, will have to order some Parafilm
        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

        Comment


        • Taverna78
          Taverna78 commented
          Editing a comment
          Pete. I just bought roll Parafilm (M) tape in 2 inch. Was like $20. Is great stuff. I think I should got 1 inch because is difficult to wrap smaller cuttings. But is 250 ft roll very nice stuff. I buy tis other stuff long time ago for same reason but turns out it's parafilm Grafting tape. Is much thicker than parafilm m and much cheaper but I think the parafilm M is worth the money.

        • AscPete
          AscPete commented
          Editing a comment
          Mike,
          Thanks for the info...

        • Taverna78
          Taverna78 commented
          Editing a comment
          Prego Amico

      • #8
        That look great, I tried a couple grafts but they didn't take. I need to practice more.
        Ryan- CenLa, zone 8a/b

        Comment


        • #9
          Two days ago I up-potted the 4 largest trees from 5 gallon pots (in which they were potted on February 27th as shown in the original post) into 15 gallon pots. This is the largest of the 4 and it has grown 45" since being grafted 5 months and 20 days earlier. They are now out of the greenhouse and receiving full sun in the morning and late afternoon. This particular tree has fruit forming at every leaf about 2' or so.

          Last week I attended the annual meeting of the California Fig Institute's annual meeting in Fresno. This is part of the California Fig Board which focuses on the dried fig industry (there is a sister organization for fresh figs and many members are involved in both). The meeting mostly involved various research projects going on and proposals for new research. A rootstock research project has been proposed but not yet approved.
          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


          • #10
            Way to go Harvey! Now go stick that tree in Davis. Lol

            Comment


            • #11
              Originally posted by don_sanders View Post
              I wonder how WillsC's FMV free Ischia Black compares to the UCD version.
              I just moved my WillsC's FMV free Ischia Black up to a five gallon pot from last year's one gallon pot. It is a very slow, compact grower but seems to be very healthy. It was almost root bound in its one gallon pot but no roots were coming out the bottom to shout "move me". It will be interesting to see how its two figs develop and what they look like.


              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 2 photos.
              Mara, Southern California,
              Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

              Comment


              • jmaler
                jmaler commented
                Editing a comment
                It will like its new home. I did the same for mine a month ago and it has taken off.

            • #12
              I always look forward to hearing anything Harvey has to report
              Looks really nice Mara. Good luck with this challanging species
              Last edited by Coop; 05-12-2016, 03:14 PM.

              Comment


              • #13
                Brian, regarding planting one at Davis - I shared my grafting experiences with this particular variety with both John Preece and Howard Gorrison at USDA back in February and both were impressed. Howard said he might give it a try. However, it does not appear that they are interested in growing grafted fig trees. At the Fig Growers Institute meeting last Wednesday John made a presentation about the growth rate of selected varieties in their new block of figs. Since we quickly switched from mild weather in November to some frosty weather they had quite a few young trees that were in a vigorous growth stage that had pretty serious freeze damage with some dying down to ground level. Even though I don't think they'd encounter anything as serious as that in more mature trees he commented that because of the potential for freeze damage to figs that they won't plant grafted fig trees. I don't agree with that reasoning, though maybe I'd plant the grafted trees so that the unions are 1-2' below surface level (even of the top rooted into the soil, I believe the more vigorous rootstock roots would be the prevailing support for the grafted trees).

                Mara, nice looking tree. I believe that the FMV Free Black Ischia is a different fig than what we've know from Davis as Ischia Black/Black Ischia. As I understand it, the FMV variety originated in Europe (England or something like that) and it seems that people in Europe have given the name Black Ischia to something different than what Condit collected. The leaves of USDA's Ischia Black don't have as deep of lobes (though my more vigorous tree still has some significant lobes) and the petioles have a red tinge to them (ranging from slight to significant). See attached photo I just took. This is not to say one is better than the other but only that they do not appear to be the same variety.

                By the way, for the fun of it the other day I used Google street maps to tour around the island of Ischia just to see what I could find of fig trees. Dang, they have narrow streets!!! Took me a while but I found a section of street with some fig trees, though time of year seems before fruit formed. https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7217...8i6656!6m1!1e1
                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


                • #14
                  I was curious about that. Would they let a grafted tree take the place of a sickly slow grower. I guess they aren't interested.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    They may not be interested in planting a grafted tree but they could start off with a potted grafted tree and "air layer" off a full grown "scion" after a year or two to get a much healthier older transplant.
                    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                    Comment


                    • Brian M
                      Brian M commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Good thinking

                  • #16
                    Originally posted by AscPete View Post
                    They may not be interested in planting a grafted tree but they could start off with a potted grafted tree and "air layer" off a full grown "scion" after a year or two to get a much healthier older transplant.
                    ​I don't know how much they'd gain with that approach since they have those mites that spread the viruses.

                    However, I'm sure it would take time to get as bad as the original plant was.
                    Last edited by Harborseal; 05-13-2016, 01:56 PM.
                    Bob C.
                    Kansas City, MO Z6

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                    • #17
                      I don't believe anybody really understands how much the growth of something like Ischia Black is slowed from the presence of FMV vs. a less vigorous root system due to genetics or other issues.

                      I've rooted many figs and notice that some produce big fat roots pretty quickly while others produce roots that are slower and thinner. Even on healthier trees of Black Madeira they seen to have smaller roots.

                      People have contacted me about cuttings of Ischia Black. I'm not sure of my exact plans at this time but me leaning towards the idea of selling grafted trees next year.

                      Duarte Nursery, the Fig Growers Board, a USDA researcher in Kearney (near Fresno), and a retired farm advisor still conducting fig research were all given links to my web site and Facebook photos last week in case they would like to try anything I'm growing. Within a year or two I'll probaby provide USDA Davis with cuttings or trees of anything they want from my collection.
                      My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

                      Comment


                      • #18
                        The Ischia Black appears to be a good candidate for Tissue culture in addition to grafting, at least to clean / remove some of the viral infection(s), to create healthier specimen trees.
                        Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

                        Comment


                        • #19
                          Originally posted by don_sanders View Post
                          Looks good 😀

                          I wonder how WillsC's FMV free Ischia Black compares to the UCD version.

                          It would be interesting to see if the root stock affects the fruiting any too. Flavor, ripening time, etc.


                          I don't think The FMV free BI is the one from UC Davis either........... Tried cuttings of the UCDavis tree 3 times and they grow horribly and eventually lost all 3. Harvey was kind enough to gift me one of his grafted ones and it is doing quite well.
                          Cutting sales start Nov 1 at 9PM eastern time as always at willsfigs.com

                          Comment


                          • HarveyC
                            HarveyC commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Glad it's growing well for you!

                          • WillsC
                            WillsC commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I will post a picture.

                        • #20
                          Originally posted by WillsC View Post



                          I don't think The FMV free BI is the one from UC Davis either........... Tried cuttings of the UCDavis tree 3 times and they grow horribly and eventually lost all 3. Harvey was kind enough to gift me one of his grafted ones and it is doing quite well.
                          Wills, I bought one of your FMV free BI last year and it is growing like a weed, seriously.

                          Now, has anyone out there grown these two side by side and compared the leaves and the figs? How does the quality of the fruit compare?
                          Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b

                          Comment


                          • #21
                            Jerry, I have not had Wills FMV free to taste and compare, but the taste of the USDA version is top notch. I agree with Harvey, the leaves look different from the pics I've seen of the FMV free version. My tree, though pretty healthy, is very slow growing. It was the last of all my varieties to leaf out this Spring.
                            Click image for larger version

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                            Gary USDA 9A
                            Sebastopol, CA

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                            • #22
                              Originally posted by jmaler View Post
                              Now, has anyone out there grown these two side by side and compared the leaves and the figs? How does the quality of the fruit compare?
                              Ischia Black AD (virus free) when compared to Ischia Black USDA Davis is said to taste a lot like Violette de Bordeaux to the point where someone thought it might be a VdB mislabeled or closely related. Another person thought it grew better and tasted much better than VdB.
                              I’m not sure if I should mention people’s names and “handles” from other boards or how much I should quote directly. I have taken extensive notes from several fig boards on all the trees I grow, but didn’t always write down who said what and where. Does anyone know what the "Internet etiquette" on this is?
                              Last edited by Altadena Mara; 05-17-2016, 10:30 AM.
                              Mara, Southern California,
                              Climate Zone: 1990=9b 2012= 10a 2020=?

                              Comment


                              • #23
                                Harvey,

                                Here is your grafted BI. The new leaves have gotten a LOT bigger since I transplanted it and like you said it was root bound badly. It is still horribly affected by FMV but will work on getting it healthier.

                                Click image for larger version

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                                Cutting sales start Nov 1 at 9PM eastern time as always at willsfigs.com

                                Comment


                                • quackmaster
                                  quackmaster commented
                                  Editing a comment
                                  Looks good Wills, put me down for an airlayer if it grows enough, please!

                              • #24
                                Looking good, should speed up more and more. My largest one is much fatter up top than the first 2 feet above the graft.
                                My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

                                Comment


                                • #25
                                  I was just thinking, when you graft a hard to grow variety onto a good rootstock, it is said to help with growth, then what if you air layer the harder to grow type above the graft, does this put it back at square one? I guess since since it's taken off the good rootstock that it goes back to normal, right? Does this make since and am I thinking correctly?
                                  Ryan- CenLa, zone 8a/b

                                  Comment


                                  • HarveyC
                                    HarveyC commented
                                    Editing a comment
                                    I'm not really sure but I have some &quot;thoughts&quot; that maybe a more vigorous growing plant may be able to fight itself off from other diseases that may be plaguing it besides FMV and the stronger branch may send out stronger roots. Some of the cuttings from my grafted Black Madeira have been pretty strong growers.
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