Trying an approach graft

Joe Dupre'

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Never tried this before. This tree is my "test mule". It had a rocky start. I collected it last spring and I let it flush out like normal. The customer changed his mind on it so I just brought it back to where I collected it and heeled it into the soft , slushy swamp bottom. I went back a month later and it had fallen over with the rising swamp and had sprouted more branches from the top side.......like a raft. I kinda felt sorry for it and took it back home. This year I chopped it way back to about 10" tall. It didn't throw any shoots in the top 3 inches or so , sooo I'm trying an approach graft with the most vigorous of the shoots. I removed a 1" long by 1/4" wide section of bark and stapled the shoot into it. After the pic, I wrapped the junction with a strip of plastic sheeting. We'll see how it goes.

unnamed - 2021-05-13T213120.005.jpg
 

Crawforde

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Cool idea.
but why not just chop down to the branch?
 

Joe Dupre'

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I chopped it down as low as I thought would give me a gradual taper in a shorter time. The tree is about 3" in diameter where the branch emerges. It would take a long time to achieve taper from that point. Anyway, she's a test mule, so I'm going for broke. LOL.
 

Joe Dupre'

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Well, at this point the project is a bust. The leader really grew and the graft looked like it was going to take but a blue jay did me it. You know how birds like to land on the tallest object in an area? Yep, the cypress leader. I came out one morning to the leader leaning over almost horizontal. It wasn't broken so I put it back up into position and wrapped a wire loosely around it to hold it against the trunk. The leader above the graft began to swell to about 50% bigger than the the part below the graft. I carefully took off the wire to check and there was just a little sign of grafting. E verything had just about healed over. Oh well, I am encouraged that it at least started to grow together. I'll try again in the future.
 

0soyoung

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You might have been odds of success if next time you carve a groove deeper into the trunk so that the approach stem fits into the groove. My thinking is that the depth of the groove needs to be at least the radius of the a[[roach stem. Then as the stem thickens it 'locks' itself into the groove. Think about how the process would work if the groove was as deep and wide as the stem's diameter might make it easier to understand what I'm trying to describe.

If you've still got branches to use as approaches, you could start grafts anew right now.
 
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That looks like a really interesting concept, I can't believe I haven't heard of it before! I can do nothing but agree with what's already been said - a deeper notch in the main trunk would probably give better results as it would better force the leader to attach due to the surface area as well as the holding pressure put on it
 

Dav4

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You might have been odds of success if next time you carve a groove deeper into the trunk so that the approach stem fits into the groove. My thinking is that the depth of the groove needs to be at least the radius of the a[[roach stem. Then as the stem thickens it 'locks' itself into the groove. Think about how the process would work if the groove was as deep and wide as the stem's diameter might make it easier to understand what I'm trying to describe.

If you've still got branches to use as approaches, you could start grafts anew right now.
Oso, wouldn't the fact that their is no foliage above the graft sight negate any real chance the graft union will take? From my experience with grafting, this had a chance of working before the chop, but not after.
 

0soyoung

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Indeed, @Dav4. I was/am lost in space! :eek:

At the time I was thinking of conifers like Douglas fir, thuja plicata, and pines that take several years to die back. I also see sawn stumps that have a lip grown well above the level of the cut, also indicating that cambium life lasted more than a year after 'chopping'/logging.

It has been a long time since I had a bald cypress.

Regardless, no foliage above the graft site is not good.
 
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Ohmy222

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I don't know if this approach graft would work or not but people do cleft grafts on trees with no foliage at all above. Below is a picture I ripped off google. I definitely recall an article of a Zelkova broom being done this way. I do agree it would be a race to get the graft to take before die back down the trunk.

1627058904536.png
 

Dav4

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I don't know if this approach graft would work or not but people do cleft grafts on trees with no foliage at all above. Below is a picture I ripped off google. I definitely recall an article of a Zelkova broom being done this way. I do agree it would be a race to get the graft to take before die back down the trunk.

View attachment 387804
I know it can be done with good success with certain trees in the apple family but I've never seen it done on anything else. I'm merely assuming the odds of success are significantly improved if the cambium involved on both sides of the graft are actively growing.
 

Ohmy222

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I know it can be done with good success with certain trees in the apple family but I've never seen it done on anything else. I'm merely assuming the odds of success are significantly improved if the cambium involved on both sides of the graft are actively growing.
yes, proper timing of the graft is important :)
 

Joe Dupre'

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All points taken. Thanks for the input. Basically, this was a last ditch, salvage operation. I really think it would have been successfull if the offfending blue jay wouldn't have sabotaged it. Yesterday, I cut the trunk back to the growing branch heights all around. Since it's a test mule, I'll see what that works out to be. I can get another cypress very easily where I live. Drive there, look around, collect, drive back home , potted up, and everything cleaned up in about an hour and a half. I can LITERALLY fill a pick up with bald cypress 7 miles from home. The hard part is finding trees with the right root flair and taper.
 
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