For those Breckland Master Gardeners and Norfolk Master Composters who attended the grafter’s course in February, can you let me know how things are progressing? It seems that quite a few of you have been successful; however it might be a good idea to go over the finishing points just in case you missed them on the course.
– Rub out any growth on the rootstock below the join, as this only weakens the objective of getting the scion (top bit) to take and grow away, for it needs all the resources being directed to it to maximise the new tree.
– In doing the graft, for ease of use, the scion was not cut back as it’s far easier to hold and work with when it’s in its full length. Its only when this fiddly bit has been completed that the scion should be cut back to three buds (this gives two insurance policies), some go for two buds giving only a second chance.
– When the graft has taken you are now in a position to choose which bud you want to grow on into the tree, and its best to choose only one. This means that the others should be removed, if going for the top rub out the shoots below. If going for another lower down prune above with a slanting cut, and rub out any below.
It might seem that you are putting all your eggs in one basket, but it is best, for the objective is a solid trunk which you start to form into the tree shape that you require after it’s got away so to speak for the first year.
If you have not been successful and the graft has not taken all is definitely not lost, for the rootstock should still grow on, and as in most things there’s always a second bite of the cherry, with a different grafting technique in the summer, so let me know if yours didn’t take.
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