Grafting/Plastic Bag Questions

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Idacer, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Wow! The little buggers get addicted to those plastic bags.

    I grafted up several trees in late January, using the small plastic bags on individual scions. Over time, I've replaced most of the small bags with a larger bag that covers the entire tree. This way, there was a lot more room for the buds to push and unfurl. It seemed like a good idea to me and I haven't seen any negative effects. It's been relatively cool here and I don't have a greenhouse environment to baby them. Even so, most of the trees seem to be doing very well.

    Everything has been progressing nicely and I decided to remove the bag on one of my grafts this afternoon so that I could better admire his pretty new foliage. During the daytime, I keep them up on the patio in a relatively sheltered location with some filtered sunlight. The temp at noon today was in the mid 50's.

    Within 30 minutes of getting his "fresh air", the leaves on the scion looked like they had been frozen! They were dark and limp as noodles. I stuck the bag back on and when I got home from work this evening they were back in "normal" health.

    So, how does one wean the trees of these bags? Was it too cold? Should I wait until we get temps in the 70's? Do you uncover them at night and let them warm up to the idea the next morning?

    Bryan
     
  2. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Humidity

    Have you considered humidty? I would suspect that the relative humidty in the bagged environment would be near 100%?? A quick change in humidity by removing the bag would cause the leaves to wilt?

    I have not had to live through or consider your stiuation before, but there certainly will need to be some transition with regard to temperature and humidity. You will have less of a problem when the temperatures increase...you might have to wait.

    MJH
     
  3. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    Bag's Groove

    I like larger bags from the get-go. I obtain bags that are about 12" to 14" long and 3" wide, 2 ml to 3ml. If I want a smaller bag and one isn't handy I may cut the bag's length down to the desired size. When the graft has apparently taken I open it up at the bottom but leave it over the scion. A week or two seems to be sufficient. When I remove the bag completely I keep an eye on the plant and if it seems stressed or a sudden cold snap comes up I replace the bag loosely over the new graft. I need to build a small hoop house but I do more grafting in summer so it will wait.
     
  4. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Michael,

    You're suspicions about humidity look like they are on the mark. One of the reasons that it's so hard to see into the bags is that there is a water vapor film on them all the time. It's almost like peering into a sauna. I tried to take one of the trees into my office this afternoon and unveil it at room temperature. Same story. Fifteen minutes was all I could take. I'm not sure what the tree would have endured.

    Elmore,

    How do you determine "[w]hen the graft has apparently taken"? Are there visible signs that signal that the tree has reached this stage? Or, is it simply the passage of a certain amount of time? What happens if you take the bags off too soon? What happens if you leave them on too long?

    Thanks for your help,
    Bryan

    P.S. What's a "hoop house"?
     
  5. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    It's a take

    "How do you determine "[w]hen the graft has apparently taken"? Are there visible signs that signal that the tree has reached this stage? Or, is it simply the passage of a certain amount of time? What happens if you take the bags off too soon? What happens if you leave them on too long?"

    Well, since I do more grafting in summer the first signs of a "take" is the abscission of the petioles and next is new leaf growth. In winter grafting, it is primarily bud swell and/or leaf growth. Also the formation of callous at the union and the lack of apparent necrotic tissue. If you take the bag off too soon the tissues at the union will dry out and callous will cease continued formation. Same in the summer. If left on too long you risk fungus disease. It's best to leave bag on until good callous formation takes place and the wood on both the under stock and the scion are visibly healthy with buds swelling and new leaf production taking place. Once again, first open the bag up at the bottom but leave it on the scion. I leave it on for about two weeks or more before totally removing it. If I see signs of stress I replace the bag but do not cinch it up at the bottom. The key is to gradually acclimate your new grafts to the surrounding conditions.
    A hoop house is a structure used as a greenhouse or a season extender and is characterized by a half-round "hoop" shape. A hoop house differs from a greenhouse in that it is not heated. Although some minimal heating may be called for.
     
  6. grafting question

    Hi,
    I'm curious about a couple things on this thread. First of all, it sounds like someone on this thread could recommend a good book to learn how to graft maples. I would like to try this, can a "novice" learn to do this?

    Secondly, I was wondering when enclosing the maples in plastic bags could they be transistioned out of the high humidity using a draping of plastic cleaner bags?

    I don't know what I would do without my hoop house. I made one using PVC pipe, just bending it to form hoops and sticking about five of them in the ground three feet apart. I cover it with the floating row cover and it works great when I have to bring my Japanes maples out of the garage (since I live in zone 5, there are some that I don't put in the ground, but they always start to bud earlier and this helps me this time of year to give them some light, but not too much, keep them out of the wind and lower temps.).
    Kay Dye
     
  7. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Elmore,

    Thank you. I believe that since I have quite a few leaves on some of the scions I'm at the point where I can start the withdrawal process. I opened up the bottoms of bags on four or five trees a couple of days ago. So far, they seem to be just fine. Plus, we've had our first rains in over a month this weekend. That's probably helping the humidity situation.

    Kay,

    I can speak to this question from personal experience. Yes. I've never seen anyone graft any tree. In February last year, I tried a couple of JM grafts and one of them took. Buoyed by this success, I took a knife to 17 a couple of months ago. It's probably way to early to claim victory, but there's certainly positive indications for something like two-thirds to three-quarters of them. And, from what I understand, success rates go way up for grafts conducted in summer/early fall time frames.

    I'm sure there are a lot of good books out there, but I have to confess that most of what I've learned has come from the 'net -- particularly from forums like this one. Guys like Dale and Elmore are real jewels.

    I do have Vertrees' "Japanese Maples" 3rd ed. It speaks to some length on grafting JMs and I've woven this information into what I've learned elsewhere. I'd recommend this reference to anyone interested in Japanese Maples.

    Bryan
     
  8. Elmore

    Elmore Active Member 10 Years

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    Okay, what are we talking about here, rare stones or precious metals?
     
  9. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Rare Stones or Precious Metals

    Take your pick, Elmore. They're both extremely valuable!
     
  10. webwolf

    webwolf Active Member 10 Years

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    my way of grafting

    Hi everyone,
    Unfortunately, here on the southern hemisphere I have to wait another six month for my winter grafting but I thought I share my methode with you which is good if you do not want to waste the understock of grafts which did not take.
    I do only side grafts and cut the understock to the same height than the scion. Leaving the two top branches sticking out of the plastic bag which only keeps the graft moist. I use simple plastic bags from the papershop cutting them to size and sticking them together with masking tape. The masking tape will eventually dry out and air will get into the bag adjusting it to the outside world. Once the graft takes I remove the bag and cut the top bit of the understock off. If the graft does not take I cut the scion off and tape the graft up. Those can grow again over summer and will be grafted again in the next season a bit below the old cut.
    regards
    Wolfgang
     
  11. Dale B.

    Dale B. Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi everyone and thanks,

    I would not be sure that your winter grafts are ok until the first flush of growth has finished. The spring flush is very taxing on the new graft union. The scion doubles or triples in size and all of that energy must pass through the graft union. If your new graft wilts, it's because it can't get enough sap transported through the new graft union. The plastic bags help retain the moisture and require less sap to flow through the new union to sustain the growth. I make slits in the bags to slowly allow the new graft to grow accustom to ambient conditions. I have lost more grafts by taking the bags off early than by keeping them on too long.

    Hoop houses are great, but you must watch the temperatures. It's easy for the temperature to rise to over 100 degrees F. on a sunny day even in late winter and cook everything inside. Use shade cloth or pull the plastic back on sunny days. Or, hook up an attic ventilation fan with a thermostat on one end and louvers on the other end. Set the power vent to come on at 85 degrees.

    I built my hoop house using 1/2" electrical conduit. Conduit comes in 10' lengths. I cut a length in half and use a coupler on one end of each. These form the uprights and the top hoop is a 10' piece that I bent with a conduit bender to form a half circle. I attached the uprights to a board that runs the length of each side of the structure placed 8' apart. The uprights are placed 4' apart on the boards with the top hoop ends placed in the uprights using the couplers. The plastic cover comes in 20' widths and covers with no waste. Use 2X4's to build the ends and frame the door with the louvers on both sides down low and the power vent placed high on the other end. The power vent and the louvers can be purchased at most any big box home center. The door can be built using 2x4's to frame it or you can use a screen door. Cover the ends and the door with plastic. Fasten the plastic using wood lath strips and a staple gun. I have gotten 3 years use before I need to replace the plastic. Mine is 8' wide and 26' long, but you can make it as long as you need. I attached plastic covered metal closet shelving to the uprights inside to provide shelves for flats and small pots and covered the floor with pine bark. I put small electric heaters inside during the winters if I need to keep the temperature from dropping too low. It works great at starting the rootstock and seed trays early in the winter and works well in the summer for cuttings.

    It also is nice to be able to work on the plants during bad weather without having to drag them into the kitchen and work on breakfast table (I don't think that I am the only one that has done that, am I).

    Dale
     
  12. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi Dale!

    8' wide by 26' long? You don't do much of anything on a small scale, do you? :)

    I'm continuing to be very cautious. The trees that I have loosened at the bottom are all looking good, and it's been about a week now. There's lots of room inside the bags, there is still condensation indicating high humidity inside the bags, and I continue to move the trees into the garage on colder nights. I'm not in any hurry to take the bags completely off.

    Certain cultivars appear to be doing much better than others. The Seiryus all look really good and it looks like I've got a couple of fine dissectum specimens with multiple grafts taking on each. It's still quite cool here and none of the trees seem to be in any big hurry. Neither am I.

    I have had a couple of trees "go down" on me. The leaves start wilting and I can't seem to turn them around. It's the entire plant, not just the new scion. One of my reasons for wanting to get the bags loosened up was that I feared the plants might be too hot inside the bag. But, opening the bag hasn't made any difference on the affected trees. I'm now thinking it might be a graft cut that was too deep (can't support the scion or the foliage above it), rootstock that wasn't large enough or healthy enough to support a graft, or some sort of pathogen.

    Bryan
     
  13. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Summer/Fall Grafting Questions

    I grafted a few A.P. specimens late this summer (mid-August) and some of them have failed to push new leaves. The scions look ok (good color) but the buds are seemingly dormant.

    Is there some probability that these grafted scions will go ahead and push next spring?

    If the answer to the above question is "yes", should I leave the scions encased in their protective plastic bags through the winter or should I go ahead and remove the bags?

    Bryan
     
  14. Acer palmatum 'Crazy'

    Acer palmatum 'Crazy' Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: Summer/Fall Grafting Questions

    Yes there is a chance they will push next spring. As long as they are healthy and not drying up and black, i would say you have a good chance.

    As for the bags, i would remove them. They are to help hold moisture under the hotter conditions of spring and summer. The scions either have gratfed by now or not. So i would look at them as dormant grafts waiting to push in the spring. I find if i keep the bags on to long, they are a good source of mildew.

    Mike
     
  15. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: Summer/Fall Grafting Questions

    Thanks Mike. I thought this was probably what I should do.
     
  16. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Summer/Fall Grafting Questions

    Idacer,

    Don't forget to update us in the spring! And take pics.

    Layne
     
  17. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Re: Summer/Fall Grafting Questions

    Pictures? That's probably a good idea, now that you mention it. Most of my trees have already dropped their leaves and all my potted ones are now in the garage. But, I looked this morning and a couple of trees that I grafted this summer still have their leaves. So, I decided to take some shots of them now. Maybe a comparison of how they look now versus how they look next summer will be interesting.

    These two trees are grafts of an unknown acer palmatum dwarf specimen. I stuck a pencil in the pot so that you can see just how thin the scions are. The one in the red pot was grafted on July 27th. You can see that the lower of the two grafts has obviously failed -- it's turned black, dried out, and snapped. But, the upper graft managed to push four new leaves out of one of its buds this fall.

    The tree in the black pot was grafted on August 28th. If you look carefully, you can see two leaves that have pushed out of the bottom of the lower scion. The upper scion has plump little buds and looks healthy in all other respects, but has not pushed any leaves at all.

    It will be interesting to see how these two specimens turn out.

    Bryan
     

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  18. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    The same two trees this spring.
     

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