The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Dismantling a failed graft

Preparing for budding

Grafting plums using dormant scionwood and rootstock is not usually recommended, so I was much heartened when two of my five grafts took immediately and sent vigorous shoots up from the scionwood. Of the other three rootstock/scionwood combinations, I was willing to give one plant a little more time to make up its mind since the scionwood looked good Plum graftsand there were no sprouts yet from the rootstock either. But I assumed that the grafts on the last two plants had failed. After all, the plants in question were growing from the rootstock and the scionwood didn't look particularly promising.

You may recall that the purpose of this experiment was to save two plum trees who were flattened by snow falling off the barn roof last winter. Of those trees, one perished...but luckily the deceased was the same variety as one of my successful grafts! The second tree is alive (although not thriving), so I decided to try budding active growth from that variety onto two of my failed rootstocks.

Healing graft

But imagine my surprise when I removed the parafilm from one of the "failed" grafts and saw the above. That green stuff growing between rootstock and scionwood...could that be cambium beginning to join the two pieces of wood together? I'm not positive, but decided it wouldn't hurt to give the tree a little more time to get its act together. So I rewrapped the graft, plucked off the rootstock sprout (to give the plant notice that it needed to sprout from the scionwood) and set it back in the low light of our living room.

Failed graft

The second failed graft, though, was truly failed. The scionwood came right out and there appears to be no life (green) left in the wood. Time to try again with tomorrow's post!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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