Grafting Problems


Active Member
I had a horrible success rate grafting this year. I grafted onto young rootstock as well as field grafted onto trees I had planted years ago. I had about 30% success on the field grafts (persimmon), which I did in early March, and I had almost zero percent success on the rootstock grafts (pear, apple) I did in mid April. Now, I attribute my failure to either grafting too late in the season (I'm live in southwest Louisiana near the coast and my farm is in southwest Mississippi near the MS River) or me mishandling the scions in some way. I had many grafted scions that perked up after grafting and then proceeded to die off. My success rate (or lack thereof) is pretty demoralizing for me because I did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people, and watched a lot of examples before I tried, and although I didn't expect perfect success, I figured I would have at least 50% or more.

I collected my scions in early February (our deer season ends Jan 30). I sealed the ends with wax and stored them in the fridge in separate freezer bags, and I checked regularly for mold. I purchased the rootstock for pears and apples from Cummins in March, I potted them until I was ready to graft. I kept them water and waited until they had sprouted before I grafted. On my grafts, I tried to have clean, even cuts, I sealed the grafts with grafting sealant, wax tape, and electrical tape. On some of the grafts I used a grafting tool so my cuts were exact. Many perked up and then proceeded to die off. I kept them in partial shade, but I suppose the constant winds in my area could have dried them out even though I sealed them well.

Would anyone like to shed some light on this for me? I really thought I was doing everything correctly. Would I be better off grafting earlier while the rootstock and scion are still dormant? I live in the very Deep South so it's a possibility I need to move my timeline way up compared to yalls. Hopefully I can get some more of the guys on here to send me more scions next season so I can try again (thanks again to Fish and dogdoc for the persimmons, a few of them took).
I cant speak to persimmons as I have zero experience with them. Only thing that caught my eye was where you said,
Would I be better off grafting earlier while the rootstock and scion are still dormant? Maybe that isnt what you meant, but if your scions had broken bud before you grafted them the success is going to be very poor. Scions should be completely dormant when grafting them. Otherwise what you described is that the scion used what little energy it had stored in it (initial growth) and then died because the graft union did not "heal".
I also graft my rootstocks while they are still dormant. I don't know if it makes a lot of difference but I have good success grafting dormant scion to a dormant rootstock when grafting apples and pears.