Thread grafting during growing season?

Lars Grimm

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I have a large japanese maple that will need thread grafting of primary branches. Based on the positioning of the graft and the future branch position, I don't think approach grafts are a good idea in order to get the angle of the branch correctly positioned.

I have had good experience approach grafting in the growing season and thread grafting in the early spring before bud push, but I have never tried thread grafting during the growing season. Andrea Meriggoli's book talks about thread grafting in the growing season by first defoliating the future graft 2 weeks prior to the procedure. My understanding is that this is meant to mimic the experience of early spring, with small replacement buds on the graft.

Does anyone have any experience with this technique?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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The obvious challenge is to end up with some viable buds on the exit side. If you can accomplish this, I don’t see any reason it wouldn’t work. My established JM are basically finished growing for the year, but those in training will continue to respond to pruning with more growth.

The defoliation step does make some sense; as you’ll have to defoliate the threaded branch to get it through the trunk. But you wouldn’t want to stunt it more than the rest of the tree, so you may want to defoliate the entire tree if it’s really strong.
 

LanceMac10

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.....yes, I would worry the tree would just abandon the branch if the rest of the tree was allowed to grow on.....why mess with your success?:)
 

MACH5

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I have not tried this. The main issue I see is that you’re setting the process back quite a bit. First it needs to leaf out after a few weeks time and then get it to grow vigorously again. I like to conclude the process within a season. Doing it with a defoliated whip I don’t know if it will take by end of year or even cause more issues for yourself than necessary? I personally rather wait until the following spring. In any case let us know how it does Lars. Certainly doable but in my opinion not ideal.
 

Lars Grimm

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Thanks all. This is a very rough stock tree in a growing box that is very vigorous. There are several apical shoots that are all shooting out which can be targets. I think I might try it with one or two branches. Worst case scenario I just redo it next year in spring. There were actually no shoots long enough in spring to even try it this year. I'll probably wire down a couple other shoots this year as well in preparation for next year. I'm also hoping that these grafts will help to heal up some larger scars.
 

sorce

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I would worry the hole constricts the scion if the whole tree is left strong. It almost happened to my ficus.

Depending on the situation, I would try cutting all but the middle lobe off and tuck it thru the graft too, leaving some... leaving.

Sorce
 

Lars Grimm

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I would worry the hole constricts the scion if the whole tree is left strong. It almost happened to my ficus.

Depending on the situation, I would try cutting all but the middle lobe off and tuck it thru the graft too, leaving some... leaving.

Sorce
Hmm, I could get creative and just partially defoliate the scion and then use grafting tape to get it thin enough to thread.
 

Paulpash

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@Lars Grimm I was thinking about doing this today - keep us updated - success or failure it will be educational.
 
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I have not tried this. The main issue I see is that you’re setting the process back quite a bit. First it needs to leaf out after a few weeks time and then get it to grow vigorously again. I like to conclude the process within a season. Doing it with a defoliated whip I don’t know if it will take by end of year or even cause more issues for yourself than necessary? I personally rather wait until the following spring. In any case let us know how it does Lars. Certainly doable but in my opinion not ideal.
Would keeping the whip potted negate this issue and speed the bond? Very interested in this topic Mach and Brian thank you for your replies.
 

MACH5

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Would keeping the whip potted negate this issue and speed the bond? Very interested in this topic Mach and Brian thank you for your replies.

Keeping the whip potted? Sorry, not sure I follow here since the whip used is from the same tree being grafted.
 
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Keeping the whip potted? Sorry, not sure I follow here since the whip used is from the same tree being grafted.
Sorry I misunderstood Lars grins post with yours.
I mean if a donor scion was defoliated prior to thread grafting, would that help or hurt the speed of the bond if it remains potted late in the season?
I got confused reading the link from Lars and my lack of knowledge.
I would like to thread graft in late March and continue grafting through June.
Trying to figure when the scale of success fail rate changes to not worth it.
It's not for a specimen bonsai just for experience.
The biggest goal is to find out how many passes I can make in one tree with potted scions in one year. Thanks for your reply, sorry for the confusion.
They will most likely be Acer.
 

0soyoung

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The issue with making thread grafts is that one wants the hole to be as close to the size of the thread (stem) so that it doesn't have to thicken so much to affect the graft. Hence one wants to do this when the buds on the thread are small.

In spring, this means BEFORE buds swell. Not only do buds become more easily knocked off, the more they swell, the bigger the difference between the thread thickness and the hole and the longer the graft will take to complete.

The axillary buds are usually small after the leaves have emerged and hardened. One could defoliate, but this leaves the problem of removing the petioles which risks damaging these buds. But, assuming it can be done, there would be no reason why it couldn't be done during the growing season. Of course, this would mean some portion of the season's thickening would be lost in the process. Somewhere between half and two-thirds of the season's thickening occurs after the summer solstice, however.

Thread grafts could be put in place immediately after leaf drop, in fall - buds are small then. The hole will likely cause some die back below it on the stem (being grafted), yet it might be of little or no consequence because the thread is wedged up against the top of the hole.

There are other unobvious problems that can arise. Bending a. palmatum stems to position them as threads can lead to death of the scion in spring, for example. So it seems to be common practice to bend the stems and bind them in place in the fall and then drill the hole and thread the scion in early spring. I don't know why I've done this and never thought about just getting the deed done immediately after leaf drop - I'll just have to try it and find out.
 
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MACH5

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Sorry I misunderstood Lars grins post with yours.
I mean if a donor scion was defoliated prior to thread grafting, would that help or hurt the speed of the bond if it remains potted late in the season?
I got confused reading the link from Lars and my lack of knowledge.
I would like to thread graft in late March and continue grafting through June.
Trying to figure when the scale of success fail rate changes to not worth it.
It's not for a specimen bonsai just for experience.
The biggest goal is to find out how many passes I can make in one tree with potted scions in one year. Thanks for your reply, sorry for the confusion.
They will most likely be Acer.

No worries! 👍Be mindful that when doing thread grafts one must do them taking a whip(s) from the same tree. If not, then you'll end up with a tree with slightly different leaf shapes and sizes and quite possibly different coloration. This is not aesthetically ideal for a high quality bonsai.

When fall arrives, I take the long whips and tie them together against the trunk so that the following spring they'll be nicely bent into shape to ease the thread grafting process.
 

0soyoung

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Be mindful that when doing thread grafts one must do them taking a whip(s) from the same tree. If not, then you'll end up with a tree with slightly different leaf shapes and sizes and quite possibly different coloration. This is not aesthetically ideal for a high quality bonsai.
Of course, it could also be a rooted cutting from the tree. :)

It pays to root cuttings from ones trees, from time to time IMHO. Then one has scions for grafts, be they branches or roots. :D



Then again it is just another bunch of stuff to attend to in one's garden. 😒
 

MACH5

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Of course, it could also be a rooted cutting from the tree. :)

It pays to root cuttings from ones trees, from time to time IMHO. Then one has scions for grafts, be they branches or roots. :D



Then again it is just another bunch of stuff to attend to in one's garden. 😒

Indeed and very true! This year I air layered a branch from my Sharp's pygmy to use as stock for future grafts on that same tree.

So again, the take away is that how ever the thread or approach grafts are made, they always should be sourced from the parent tree. The only exception is for root grafts but that's another story.
 
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MACH5

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Also note on the photo I posted, that the whip used for thread grafting, had all of its foliage removed along the entire section prior to passing through the entry point. This is to force all of the energy to be concentrated along the exit portion on the whip for faster development of the graft.
 

TN_Jim

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Also note on the photo I posted, that the whip used for thread grafting, had all of its foliage removed along the entire section prior to passing through the entry point. This is to force all of the energy to be concentrated along the exit portion on the whip for faster development of the graft.
...is there a species regarding a thread graft where the leaves remain intact?...or thread?
 

MACH5

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...is there a species regarding a thread graft where the leaves remain intact?...or thread?

Elms have very small leaves but even then, the hole you must make would be relatively large to pass through the leaves. It will take that much longer for the opening to close and fuse with the whip. I would highly recommend to do thread grafts in late winter/early spring before bud swell. You will maximize your chances for a successful graft.
 

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