GRAFTING AND SEED COLLECTING TIPS
FOR CONIFERS ©
Dax Herbst, Illinois USA
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Information for Conifer and Deciduous
Grafting as well as Seed Collection dates for North America
and recommended under stock selections
(Notes taken from Bob Finchams Grafting Video. You can also visit his website for step-by-step photos detailing grafting procedures at www.coenosium.com) Bob Fincham is worldly known in the conifer community and also sells his conifers through Coenosium Gardens yearly catalog: Catalog of Rare Plants For the Discriminating Person.)
Same as for conifers with only a few exceptions:
When 1/3 of a block of seedlings is showing signs of growth up ABOVE the entire block is ready to graft.
Scionwood is taken the same way. Typically use wood having at least 3 sets of buds on it. 2 is quite possible 1 set of buds is pretty much youre kidding yourself
Do your cuts the same way and insert your scions into your understock just as you would do for a conifer graft. Be sure your buds are facing up (very important).
Attach your budding strip
deciduous material does not need to be tented. The
fresh grafts are simply kept in the heated greenhouse uncovered or
A few more things to know:
*After you bring your potted seedlings into the greenhouse it will take approximately 2-3 weeks for them to show signs of growth at which time theyre ready to be grafted.
*When white root tips show at the bottom of any pot (Even if the plant isnt actively growing above) it can be grafted.
*A graft can be done anywhere on your understock. Typically weeping forms are done higher-up, which of course will provide you with a taller plant to start with. Knowing they can be grafted anywhere will provide you with the necessary information for doing less-common grafts such as standards or topiary grafts.
AFTERCARE FOR YOUR CONIFER GRAFTS
Theyve already been grafted and placed under poly in the greenhouse. There are numerous ways to tent a few examples include: (1) simply resting the poly on top of your understock (the grafts are below on the plant and will not get damaged) or (2) you can build some sort of wooden frame that allows you to drape the poly around your plants. A good example of this would be to construct raised beds of sand about 6 inches high and to build a frame above these beds so you can simply raise and lower the poly as needed. Also, Ill just mention is you have raised beds you can lean your grafts sideways so the scions are facing up therefore less preparation is needed to thin the branches of your understock.
Keep them watered of course so they dont ever dry out (The poly tenting will raise the humidity)
When the scions begin growing (if you did proper care out of 1000 grafted plants it is possible for 1000 of them to knit) you need to remove the poly and place them elsewhere in the greenhouse.
After the scions have exhibited decent growth you need to go in with a pair of pruners and remove 1/3 of the new-growth on your understocks! This will once again open up the plant so more light can get to the scion.
Then when the weather warms up and is safe for the plants to be taken outdoors, then they can be potted up into 1-gallon containers and at this time the budding strips must be removed.
Leave the understocks on for one-year then remove them and allow for the scion to be the only thing left growing.
*Just a note The understocks can be removed at the time of potting into 1-gallon containers but overall its best to leave them on for a year so the understock can continue feeding the scion. If you choose however to remove the understock at the time of potting..it does not mean it will kill the plant. Some growers do remove the understock at the time of potting up.
CARE FOR DECIDUOUS MATERIAL
As soon as the scion begins growing all of the understock must be removed to allow for the scion to grow on its own. This is where a deciduous graft differs from a conifer graft.
The budding strip is removed at the time of potting up.
Seed Collection of Conifers (cone ripening dates)
Larix: All Larix are compatible as under stock
Fall September-December (decidua) Old cones stay on tree indefinitely
Picea: All Picea are compatible as under stock
Fall September-November (abies) ***under stock***
Fall August-September (engelmannii)
Fall Mid-August (glauca)
Fall September (mariana)
Fall Mid-SeptemberEarly October (pungens)
Abies: All Abies are compatible for under stock
Fall September-October (concolor)
Fall September-Mid-October (fraserii) Blue-green cones change to brown ***a second choice to nordmanniana as an under stock***
Fall September-October (nordmanniana) ***under stock***
Fall September-early October (veitchii) Bluish-purple cones change to brown
Pinus: Fall August-October (cembra)
Fall August-October (contorta var. latifolia)
Fall August-September (flexillis)
Fall September (koraiensis) ***under stock option*** (5-needled Pines)
Fall October (mugo)
Fall September-November (nigra)
Fall September (parviflora)
Fall August-October (resinosa) ***under stock*** (3-needled Pines)
Fall August-September (strobus) ***under stock*** (5-needled Pines)
Fall September-October (sylvestris)
Fall September-November (virginiana)
Chamaecyparis: September (nootkatensis, lawsoniana, thyoides)
Mature nootkatensis cones are yellow-brown in color.
Note: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis is now known as: Xanthocyparis nootkatensis.
Xanthocyparis nootkatensis (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis) can be grafted onto either Juniperus x media Hetzii or onto Thuja orientalis Biota. Both of which have a deep tap root and prevent Wobbling. For hardiness reasons, Juniperus x media Hetzii is the better of the two choices.
Juniperus: August-September (second to third year) (communis). Plants need to be 20 years old.
Mid-September-Mid December (scopulorum) persists 2-3 years. Plants need to be 10-20 years old.
September-November (virginiania). Plants need to be 10 years old.
NOTE: All junipers are compatible as rootstocks. Juniperus x media Hetzii and Juniperus scopulorum are most commonly used. Also, for most practical reasons, most all junipers strike from cuttings.
Tsuga: September-October (Canadensis).
Metasequoia glyptostroboides: seed usually isnt viable. Cones collected when the scales are not opened must be pried open by hand. Cones collected when the scales naturally begin opening will open within 1-2 weeks at room temperature. No stratification is required. Seeds should be sown and mulched with fine sand and begin germinating in 5 days. Seeds should be sown in a greenhouse with high humidity. In hot climates the seedlings should be shaded during the first growing season.
Fagus: Fall October-November (usually mid-September) (sylvatica) Seed is chestnut-brown,
shining, thin-shelled nuts and drops after first frost 42 days of chilling followed by
warmer temps for 28 days (68 degrees is optimal). Seed
begins germinating at end of cold cycle.
that Strike from Cuttings (Root):
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana (some) most are grafted onto C.l. understocks.
Juniperus (scopulorum cultivars can de somewhat difficult)
most practical reasons your cuttings should be done when the plant has been dormant for at
least a full month. December is a good time
in North America to do the work. A rooting
hormone is definitely recommended. Dip
and Grow and Hormex # 8 are good choices for conifers. Also, these cuttings need a humid environment such
as a greenhouse. For homeowners or hobbyists
without a greenhouse results can be achieved by sealing your cuttings in a Ziploc Freezer
Bag to which a little water has been added to the bottom of the bag and by placing them
under artificial lights. Cuttings can be
placed in plastic cups, Styrofoam cups, etc
however, plastic cups allow the grower
to see when the roots have formed.
stock Compatibility of Conifers Previously Not Mentioned:
Cedrus: All are grafted onto Cedrus deodora even the hardier forms such as Cedrus libani var. stenocoma or Cedrus libani Purdue Hardy.
2 and 3-needled Pines. Use: Pinus contorta latifolia or Pinus banksiana. Some field growers think the banksiana has a better root system. Ive heard of some growers using Pinus strobus for 3-needled pines.
Pines (bonsai). For all general
purposes use Pinus strobus. Pinus thunbergiana however works just as well and is TOLERANT
of salt. Being perfect for bonsai
or for plants exposed to salty conditions. Pinus
thunbergiana however is known to die out quicker than strobus. In cases of very old bonsai trees of Pinus
parviflora it has been learned that the thunbergiana grafted ones die earlier and break
much easier than those that were grafted onto strobus.
Dax Herbst, Illinois USA
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