Grafting of trees with a bud, or oculation, in the middle lane is usually carried out in the first half of July, but in some cases this work can be postponed to the beginning of September (no later, otherwise the graft will not have time to settle on the rootstock before frost) – again, if autumn is supposed to be long and warm. We will demonstrate on the example of an apple tree how to carry out this manipulation step by step.
Apple tree grafting in autumn: step-by-step instructions
1. As a graft, we will need a mature shoot of this year as thick as a pencil. To make the material as fresh as possible, it is desirable to cut it in the morning.
2. With a pruner, remove all the leaves from the shoot. Cut each one not completely, but so that a part of the petiole about 1 cm long remains (it will be convenient to hold the kidney-graft for it, which it is undesirable to touch once again). In contrast to grafting with a stalk — the classic method of spring grafting — when oculating from one shoot, you can get several buds at once, that is, a lot of material for grafting.
3. It is necessary to graft on a young rootstock (in our case, on a low—growing rootstock of an apple tree ‘M9’), which was planted in the spring.
4. The basic rule is that the place of vaccination should be clean! Therefore, before making an incision on the rootstock, thoroughly wipe the trunk with a clean cloth.
5. Cut off the bud shield on the shoot with an eyepiece knife with a small layer of wood, as in the photo. The upper end of the flap can be made slightly longer — it will still need to be cut later.
6. Then unfold the shield with a cut to yourself and carefully remove the excess wood, leaving a very small layer of it.
7. The kidney in the lower part of the shield is visible as an island — you can not touch it with your fingers. A forked hole on the removed part of the tissue will indicate that the kidney, as expected, is located on a segment with the bark.
8. Now you need to make a T-shaped incision of the bark on the rootstock. You should start with a transverse incision 2-3 cm long .
9. Then make another 3-4 cm long longitudinal one down from it.
10. Carefully pry the bark in place of the T-shaped incision, as if opening the flaps (the bark is easier to lag behind if the plant is well watered the day before the procedure).
11. Insert a shield with a kidney cut to the trunk into the incision between the “leaves” of the bark. To make the contact as tight as possible, gently slide the kidney down, deeper into the incision.
12. After that, cut the upper protruding part of the flap level with the transverse incision on the rootstock and shorten the petiole of the cut leaf as much as possible.
13. At the end, wrap the vaccination site tightly with duct tape so that it does not dry out and moisture does not get on it (it is better to use a special film for oculation – it is elastic, the ends “do not diverge” (there are fasteners or an adhesive layer), does not pass moisture and at the same time “breathes”, besides, over time it decomposes, that is, it does not need to be removed).
14. The vaccination is ready. If the kidney gives a young shoot next spring, the “operation” was successful. In order for the plant to use all its strength for the growth of a new shoot, the rootstock must be cut over the place of inoculation. Also, do not forget from time to time to remove the wild growth growing from the base of the rootstock.
15. In the summer, that is, almost a year after vaccination, the apple tree will already acquire the appearance of a full-fledged tree. Lateral shoots that have formed in the lower part of the crown, it is desirable to cut off at the very base.
16. The central shoot should be tied to the support so that it grows even.