Grafting 101

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What can I do in order to improve my grafts and their chance at success? I've just half-bareroot-repotted a large JBP into Boon Mix. It wasn't terribly healthy when I got it, but it seems like its budding well this spring. I plan on leaving it alone this year (except sun, fertilizer, and water), so in the spring (2018) I won't have scion material that was decandled the previous summer. Should I wait until spring of 2019?
So let it grow this season andThen evaluate next spring - you may have suitable buds by then. It's important to start with healthy material and the buds should be strong, but not too strong.
Is this viable material for scions?
 

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markyscott

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Scott- is there a reason seedlings, as opposed to rooted cuttings, are used to graft on new roots?
Hi Vic N. You can use rooted cuttings, no problem. I use the seedlings because they are super inexpensive to buy bare root in bulk from Matt Ouwinga. So thats just an easy way to go for me.

S
 

markyscott

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And how important is it that the scion come from the tree it's grafted onto?
It does not have to come from the same tree (or even from the same species - especially for conifers). But take care - there are variations in leaf color and texture among trees in the same species. Also, buds emerge at slightly different times and leaves can turn different colors at different times in the fall. There can be differences in bark texture and color. The trees can grow at different rates.

So, although it does not HAVE to come from the same tree, I often cut scions from the same tree I’m using as understock to ensure that the grafted scions are genetically identical to the tree being grafted.

S
 
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Is this viable material for scions?
I have been working on improving my grafting for four or five years now. One of the keys is selecting appropriate scions. This has been emphasized by each professional i have taken grafting intensives with. For pines i now use the following guidelines.
Only use those scions from decandling the previous spring.
Select medium strength bud. Approximately 1/2 inch length bud, not the smaller weak ones, not the longer strong ones. I like the scion material to be about 1/4 inch in diameter and three to four inches long to begin with.
I use scion material from the same tree whenever possible unless changing clothes. Ie: JBP on Ponderosa. In that case i still take the scion material from one source to ensure needles and bark remain consistent.
Timing is important. Practise so you can complete the graft correctly and quickly. Prepare materials ahead of time. Do things in the proper order so the scion is placed and secured immediately after being cut. Then sealed immediately .
From my observation of your pictures, the buds shown do not seem like ones i would choose for the best results. But that does not mean they are not viable. When i graft, i am doing it on a tree i expect to take to a higher level, possibly show quality. Therefore the details are important. One has to practise grafting to learn how. I reccomend working on practise tree's and trying lots to get the hang of it. If you can, take a grafting class from an experienced person. The best is if you can take a tree to the teacher and do it with them. I was unable to do that due to border issues taking my pines from Canada to California;)
The guidelines that @markeyscott has provided are excellent.
When you gain experience and success then you can take it a step further and begin selecting scions for particular placement on the tree.
For example; stronger bud for a weaker branch, particular shaped scion for angle the branch should come out at. Double scion for help in building an apex or multiple options in design. The devil is in the details.
My first scion graft was a JBP scion on a Austrian black pine. The difference in the foliage is very obvious as well as the bark. It gives me a chuckle whenever i look at it and makes a great teaching tool.
 
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Were these decandled last year?

S
Yes, but this tree hasn't been managed well/regularly in the past.

Riversedgebonsai" said:
Only use those scions from decandling the previous spring.
This one was decandled last summer, but it hadn't been managed previously for several years.
Select medium strength bud. Approximately 1/2 inch length bud, not the smaller weak ones, not the longer strong ones. I like the scion material to be about 1/4 inch in diameter and three to four inches long to begin with.
Could you post a few pictures of the scions you prefer?
From my observation of your pictures, the buds shown do not seem like ones i would choose for the best results. But that does not mean they are not viable. When i graft, i am doing it on a tree i expect to take to a higher level, possibly show quality. Therefore the details are important. One has to practise grafting to learn how. I reccomend working on practise tree's and trying lots to get the hang of it. If you can, take a grafting class from an experienced person. The best is if you can take a tree to the teacher and do it with them. I was unable to do that due to border issues taking my pines from Canada to California;)
The guidelines that @markeyscott has provided are excellent.
I don't presently have a vehicle large enough for the tree in question. It's not much right now, but it has a really nice base I'd like to make a smaller tree from. Hence the appeal of grafting. I've grafted a few branches on jbp successfully (though my percentages aren't much to brag about), but I'd really like to get this one (or half-dozen) right so I can start to drastically reduce this tree.

Thanks everyone. I'll go read back through this thread now.
 

markyscott

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...This one was decandled last summer, but it hadn't been managed previously for several years...
They might work, but they don’t look ideal. Please have a look at the discussion here for guidelines.

https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/grafting-101.26456/#post-429134

Let me know if that helps.

...but it has a really nice base I'd like to make a smaller tree from...
Are you planning on trunk grafting? That can be a bit tricky.

S
 
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Yes, but this tree hasn't been managed well/regularly in the past.


This one was decandled last summer, but it hadn't been managed previously for several years.

Could you post a few pictures of the scions you prefer?

I don't presently have a vehicle large enough for the tree in question. It's not much right now, but it has a really nice base I'd like to make a smaller tree from. Hence the appeal of grafting. I've grafted a few branches on jbp successfully (though my percentages aren't much to brag about), but I'd really like to get this one (or half-dozen) right so I can start to drastically reduce this tree.

Thanks everyone. I'll go read back through this thread now.
There is a great picture of a healthy pine scion on page one of this thread posted by @markeyscott for reference.
 
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markyscott

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Yeah, I should've looked back thru before asking if these would work. Would you suggest approach grafting seedling(s) for the trunk?
I don’t think I would. There is a fair amount of genetic variability among black pines. I had a JBP once in which one branch had clearly been grafted and it stood out as obviously different than the rest of the tree. I’ve trunk grafted before and it takes a bit of a touch if you haven’t done it before. The bark can get quite thick on old wood and lining up the cambium is tricky. Here’s an article on bonsai tonight - Jonas does a great job explaining the procedure.

https://bonsaitonight.com/2010/03/02/trunk-grafting-black-pine/

Hope that helps, but let me know if I can help further.

Scott
 
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As above, practice, after receiving some hands on instruction from a successful grafter;). Do the same thing time after time will only net the same result. If you do not know what you are doing wrong then you cannot correct it. An observant teacher will pick up on your mistakes and guide you through the process. Watch one, do one, do it again, do it again, repeat. :cool: My favourite saying: the devil is in the details.
 
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Awesome post, excellent information.

When trunk grafting, does such a small scion have to be used or can a more established branch be successfully grafted? Or would a larger branch require to much water and nutrients to sustain it before it adhered? I understand that if you are grafting onto a smaller branch then a small scion is ideal, but why not larger on a trunk graft?
 

markyscott

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Awesome post, excellent information.

When trunk grafting, does such a small scion have to be used or can a more established branch be successfully grafted? Or would a larger branch require to much water and nutrients to sustain it before it adhered? I understand that if you are grafting onto a smaller branch then a small scion is ideal, but why not larger on a trunk graft?
I’ve been told that when you cut a scion from more than two year old wood, your success rate will be zero, but I’ve never tried. Of course, you could approach graft if you have a long enough shoot to bend around.

S
 
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Awesome post, excellent information.

When trunk grafting, does such a small scion have to be used or can a more established branch be successfully grafted? Or would a larger branch require to much water and nutrients to sustain it before it adhered? I understand that if you are grafting onto a smaller branch then a small scion is ideal, but why not larger on a trunk graft?
I agree with Scott. There are other considerations when thinking of a larger branch and approach graft. What will the final result look like even if the graft is successful? Can a larger approach graft be aligned correctly for design considerations? Will the union site be aesthetically pleasing and heal remaining strong over time? I have found the smaller scion approach proves to be more effective over the long term.
 

0soyoung

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I’ve been told that when you cut a scion from more than two year old wood, your success rate will be zero,
Thank you! Now I have an excuse for my grafting failures!! :rolleyes:

Actually, I would like to know the reason(s)/explanation.

I can think only of ones that are basically aesthetic; nothing physiological.