grafting apples

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my grandmother had a really wonderful crabapple at the back of her garden in western NY. she died last year & now my aunt is thinking of selling the house. i want to know if i can get grafts of that tree & grow them on an old, non-producing apple tree here in NH. if that's possible, how much time do i have between cutting the scions & grafting them to my tree? what time of year is best? is it possible to just root cuttings from the crabapple? i probably have a year or so timeframe to get this done. lee
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Tough Question. Išd start now and do a few every month till no longer an option. Crabapples are tough so maybe they will excuse multiple mistakes. Time ...unless you winter them in the ground , I'd say the sooner the better. I do not know if apple wood can winter over buried but if last resort give it a try. Grape hard wood cuttings can.
Bill
Anyone know better practice ?
Just sticking my Bamboo Begonia in water works.
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wrote:

it's a 12 hour drive to get there. i don't get there too often, but i will try if i have to.

i think i'll try the rooting pots that Lee Valley sells on one branch, & take some cuttings to try to scion onto my apple. i'm even willing to buy a young apple tree if that might take a graft easier.

i've had that work with roses & willows (but willows will root in just about anything).i just haven't had much experience grafting or rooting apples.
lee
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I like Lee Valley a lot. Have a few of their Japanese Carpenter knives. Cheap and sharp.
Bill who thinks 12 hour drive with the the way gas is may ask for an overnight shipment from a relative close by the apple.
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wrote:

apples are commonly grafted though. i almost bought a orchard in upstate NY, where all the trees in one block had just been regrafted to the new popular varieties. what they do is cut off the entire crown & then quarter cut the trunk about an inch, putting in 4 grafts of the latest fad & covering the graft with beeswax. that way you have trees bearing full tilt in one year, rather than waiting 5 years for seedlings to get established... you can also graft 2 or more varieties on one trunk to save on space. (the reason i didn't buy was 15 acres was under high tension powerlines & 50+ acres just behind the orchard & right next to the spring that supplied the farm's water had been sold to a developer. looked like a headache in the making). at any rate, i know apples can be grafted as scions and can be bud grafted. i just don't know which is a better idea with the crabapple. my hopeful rootstock tree is not producing apples. it had a cedar tree right next to it (which the llamas kindly ate, stopping the cedar-apple rust issue) & hasn't been pruned in over 15 years. i'm working on getting it in some kind of reasonable health currently. lee
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ct.net.au:

generally much smaller & a lot more acid than eating apples. the tree i want to propagate has larger than usual fruit (2.5- 3") & some sweet with the acid. it is an excellent cider apple. but yeah, crabs are just apples that people don't appreciate ;)
lee
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wrote:

Cider?? How 'bout cider of the hard kind? ;-) Seriously, have you had or made crabapple hard cider?
My grandmother had large crabapple tree and she made the best jelly from them, gawd I'd like to have a jar of that again. IIRC, given I was small then, they were a large crab and were rather sweet along with the bite. I seem to remember they were rosish on the top fading to light yellow on the bottom. Maybe not. Hadn't though of them in years. It was a large tree, if there is such a thing as a standard crab. Made darn good projectiles for us neighborhood kids in a crabapple fight.

What? You calling Billy an apple? Crabby Appleton!! (remember him?) But Billy definitely isn't "rotten to the core".
Charlie
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Charlie wrote in

of course. :) and peary (pear cider). not all crabapples though. it's the sugars in the apples that convert to alcohol, so a blend tends to be best.

that sounds a lot like this tree. all the old trees were standards, unpruned apples can get over 40'. my grandmother made the jelly, & sweet pickled crabapple rings. remember those?

yup, i remember. nah, Billy's not a crabapple. lee
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wrote:

Do you have a recomendation for a reputable online source of yeasts? I woould have to drive nearly 100 to buy from a store and I like word of mouth recommendations.

Indeed I do, though Grandmother sweet pickled them whole. I remember thinking the whole cloves were pretty cool looking. Foreign looking things with good taste to a kid. Reminded me of pulled teeth. I also remember the cracks and splits in them and the semi-tough skins and soft flesh.
Sigh.......this has been a good day for memory lane.

I know.
Charlie
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Hah! Yeah!! Next fall! Here! After Apple Squeezin' Time!
Local producer, unpasteurized, fresh from the press cider.
It's on, Buddy!
Charlie
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Charlie wrote in

we get brewing supplies from a few places. here's some online sources we've had good luck with:
Mt. Washingtom Homebrew Supply (same state, but 3+ hour drive) http://www.brewbyyou.com /
Northern Brewer: http://www.northernbrewer.com /
yeasts do add different tastes, so try a few & see which you like. lee
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wrote:

Thanks Lee. Your recommendation is good enough for me. :-)
Charlie
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Lol....I stand corrected.
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enigma wrote:

I grafted one branch of one of my apple trees with a scion of Chestnut Crab. I had tasted one before and knew they were real good to eat. Now that it has been producing for a few years, it is the best tasting apple I grow, and I grow quite a few varieties. Last spring, I grafted more of it on 2 other trees. I want more of those little apples! I also have a tree of "Rescue apple crab". It's only half crab. It not bad either but it's even smaller than the Chestnut. About 3 bites. Also, it's a real early apple and it goes from perfect ripeness to over ripe in about a day and a half. OK,maybe more like a week and a half but that's it. Chestnut is late and good for a while but they all get eaten right off the tree so I don't know how long they could last.
Steve
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enigma wrote:

Apples are best done with a whip and tongue, cleft graft, etc. in the Spring time. Bud grafting is commonly done on things like stone fruits in the Summer time.

Just for the record, it is not Cedar trees which give apple cedar rust, but Junipers. The Eastern Red-Cedars are miss-named , because they are really in the Juniper family (Juniperus virginiana). Keep all Junipers away from your apple trees.
Sherwin

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enigma wrote:

You have to take the scion pieces off the crabapple before the tree goes out of dormancy. Take the new growth portion of the branches for best results. You then should wrap them in saran wrap and put them in a plastic sealed bag with a piece of damp toweling and place that in a cool dark place like your frig. Spring is the best time to do apple grafting. Keeping them for next year would probably reduce their viability quite a bit.

Your best time is to do it this Spring.

You may have better luck with a graft taking if you use a young vigoruous apple tree, rather than an older tree. Better yet, get a hold of a apple rootstock for this job. You can then prune off all the rootstock branches, so that you will direct all the roots energy into the scion you have grafted atop it.

Grafting is probably a preferable technique than rooting.
Sherwin

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enigma wrote:

I just read all the replies to see if you got any good advice. Sherwin speaks the truth. ;-) I have ordered scion wood from several states away to graft on my trees. I only have 4 apple trees but some of them now have several (up to 9 or 10) varieties grafted on different branches. Those scions come in a padded envelope by regular mail. They may be in the mail system for 3 or 4 days at various temperatures. I get them into the refrigerator as soon as they arrive and they are all fine. I don't know if it's too late in western NY to take scions now or not. If there is any green starting to show, it's too late. My trees are quite dormant here with snow still covering the roots of some of them. You want to graft a very dormant scion onto the new tree when it has just started to grow. The best scions come from last year's growth that has grown with vigor. A water sprout would be perfect. Lacking that, the most vigorous new growth tends to be at the top of the tree. I just collected 2 scions, today, from my neighbor's old Cortland apple. No water sprouts and I didn't have any way to reach the top so I finally found two twigs that had grown about 4 inches last year. Not much vigor there but I bet they will grow. The best place to graft a scion onto is also a strong vertical growing shoot. You need to get enough scions so that you can make AT LEAST a few grafts on various places on the tree at your place. If even one grows, you will then have you own source of scion wood in the future. Then you can make more grafts later or buy a small tree or rootstock and make a new tree. If you missed the scion collecting season this year, you could try some bud grafts later in the summer. I did some of those last summer. They are not as much fun because I will not know if they worked until next month when the tree wakes up. I have some scions from the same source ready as a back up if they failed. I have virtually 100% success with spring grafting of apples. I haven't done enough budding to keep score. If you don't get anything going this year, get someone to cut some scions next year about the beginning of March and put them in plastic so they don't dry out in shipping. Zip lock bag, bread bag, whatever. How much time do you have between cutting and grafting? The guy who showed me how to graft (I most commonly do a simple splice graft ... easy.) said he once kept some scions in the refrigerator for a year finally grafting them, with some success, about 14 months after collecting them. Not recommended! He dips the fresh scions in melted bee's wax before they go in the refrigerator. I do that too. No need to seal the new grafts that way. I just make the cuts, wrap masking tape around the graft and wrap an ordinary rubber band around the tape to keep the cut surfaces tight together. Get cambium of the scion in contact with cambium of the stock and it will grow. Oh, don't bother with cuttings. It's possible to do but it's not easy at all with apples.
Steve in the Adirondacks of northern NY (about half way between western NY and New Hampshire. ;-) )
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Steve wrote:

I thought bud grafting was not a good technique for apples. Are you getting any takes with your budding of apples?

You may not want to bother with wax, as some people do, but I think masking tape is also not a good alternative. It is not waterproof, and will allow the graft union to dry out. I have been using a relatively new product called Parafilm, originally designed for medical use as a bandage. It breathes by also acts as a water shield. Some people use teflon tape, but that doesn't breath. Of course, you can't argue with success, so if you are getting good grafting takes with masking tape, I can't argue with that.
Sherwin

I usually put the rubber band on first, and then cover with the tape. I think you can keep a better eye on the cambium allignment that way. Again, I cannot argue with your success rate.

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I'm sorting out only your last comments to make this less confusing:
sherwindu wrote:

Bud grafting was (and as far as I know, still is) the way most apple trees are propagated for sale by nurseries. That's why new young trees usually have that little crooked place at the graft union. The bud grows and they cut off the original top. I know at least one nursery that does Whip and tongue grafts for their trees. That would be St Lawrence Nurseries in Potsdam, NY. I have trees from there and they come with straight bus unions. Also I go there once in a while. One year Bill MacKentley took me to the basement of his house where he does the grafting. Another customer needed his attention but, before he went up, he gave me a bundle of rootstock and a bundle of scions. He showed me how he likes it done and said he would be back. I did about 100 grafts (it's a lot easier sitting in a comfortable chair compared to being on top of a ladder) when I realized he wasn't coming back as long as I was doing his work.

I like to give the scions a coat of bees wax because they store well. They don't dry out and they don't get moldy if they are too wet. Masking tape works just fine for me. The stock side can't dry out because it's part of a living tree. The scion doesn't dry out because of the wax coating. The union itself is pressed tight together and can't dry out either.

I think I would need 3 or 4 hands to put the rubber band on first. Oh, I suppose you start wrapping from the scion end and scoot you fingers back as you wind down over the union. I could try that this year. I think wrapping the rubber band over the tape gives the tape a real tight seal. The rubber band alone wouldn't be air tight and the tape wouldn't be that snug EXCEPT that if you use parafilm, it would be fine. I've been considering trying parafilm for years. Never did yet. Yeah, I don't have much incentive to change. Last spring I did about 10 grafts on my apple trees with 100% success. I did 6 pear grafts with 100% success. Even a few that were pushing buds through wax while still in the refrigerator managed to grow! I did about 20 plum grafts with 100% EXCEPT one single variety was 0% and I think they sent me a dead piece of scion wood. I did 10 apricot grafts with about 50% success. Apricots are more difficult. I hear they need heat to make the union connect. Grafting them out doors is a challenge and I didn't time the weather well at all. :-(
Steve
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Steve wrote:

That is certainly true of stone fruits, but all the apple trees I have received from Raintree, Bearcreek, etc. did not have that offset, so I assume they were done with some kind of whip and tongue, cleft graft, etc. I think there is some problem with the apple wood that makes it more difficult to do bud grafting. I will try and get more information, on that.

That's fine for preserving the scion, but I'm referring to sealing the graft. Wax was used more in the past, but with all these new tapes, people find it a lot easier to do without the mess and bother.

You cannot get a perfect match (at least I can't) at the graft union, so you need to take additional steps to keep the graft from drying out. The rootstock itself will also not guarantee the graft staying moist.

It's not all that difficult, once you get the hang of it. I lay the rubber band along the wood either above or below the graft and start my wraps with a light wrap over this to establish an anchor. Once this happens, you can wrap with greater force towards the graft union, and follow up with a a simple tie at the end.

Yes, the rubber band's function is to press the scion tightly to the rootstock, and is not intended to provide a moisture seal. You could conceivably do the tape first, but you can't really see what the rubber band is squeezing when it is under the tape. Hence, the advantage of doing the tape over the rubber band.

Can't argue with success. Wish I had such a good success ratio.

Pears are usually easier to graft than apples.

What rootstock were you using for the plums?

You should have been able to check for that if you saw no green cambium layer.

Never heard that.

Outdoors is a problem because the hot sun can dry out the grafts even with protective tape. You can try covering the outside grafts with a paper bag, or create a mini greenhouse with a plastic bag around the graft with a piece of damp toweling inside.
Sherwin

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