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Grafting in the Winter

English: Photo of a recently grafted cherry ro...

English: Photo of a recently grafted cherry root stock and scion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are planning to do some grafting this winter or next spring, December –February is the time to collect scion wood, from fully dormant trees. You need the previous seasons’ healthy vegetative growth for the scion (the shoot you cut from a desired variety that is used to propagate a new tree). Water sprout wood (the vigorous vertical growing shoots you normally remove from the center of the tree when you prune), or the terminal end of major growth at the top of the tree and the south side of the tree, will be most likely to have the flat pointed vegetative buds you need, instead of the plump fruit buds you don’t need. The wood needs to be about pencil diameter, and 8-12” long. Clean the wood with a mild bleach solution (1 tsp bleach/ 1 quart of water), dry, and place it in a plastic bag. Put a barely moist (completely wrung out) paper towel in the bag to provide humidity, seal, and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to graft. Scion wood, properly cleaned and not too wet or dry, can be stored 3-6 months; scion wood from early spring blooming plants will only store about 3 months. See the rootstock page in our catalog for more information on collecting and storing, and to select the rootstocks you will need to graft on

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About Theresa Knutsen

Theresa Knutsen is a horticulturist and writes the Raintree Nursery newsletter "Growing Tips." Email: theresa@raintreenursery.com.

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