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First Grafting Effort - Bucket List Item Done

bigbendmarine

5 year old buck +
Much appreciate that many on the forum have done tons of grafting, but I never had so added it to my bucket list at the start of the year.

Living in Florida I was able to try it with a fruit tree I love, and one that is known for being easy to graft -- loquat.

I had two peach trees growing right in front of my home somewhat as accent trees... but quickly found them to require more maintenance than I care to offer, and with foliage that drops in the winter not to be beautiful year-round anyway. To the contrary loquats I've planted here in North Florida quickly thrived with very little care, hold dark pretty foliage year-round, and produce fruit in early spring at a time when other fruits are just thinking about beginning to bud.

So having grown three loquats from seeds (came from fruit picked / consumed at a local park) I was able to grow healthy trees over the past year or so in a corner of my yard... but with loquats grown from seed having tremendously differing/ random flavor profiles I decided to buy two known grafted varieties and use cuttings from the known varieties to graft on my wild saplings. I planted the known varities (Champagne and Christmas) in front of my home where the peach trees had been (actually dug them up and relocated them just to see if they live / won't cry if they don't) and then used a few branches as grafts for the trees growing in the corner of my yard.

Pictures below show promising success as well as my grafting effort.

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So I *think* the efforts are now confirmed as likely to succeed?! But it leads me to a couple of follow-up questions...

1) Once I saw the tip pushing budding leaves I removed the tape at least enough for the leaves to start expanding. But can anyone tell me if it's safe to unwrap at least back to the grafting junction?

2) Should the grafting junction be left wrapped longer / for a bit more healing time and support?

3) I picked branches at a height that they could grow to become the central leader by cutting the growth above them back. I suspect the loquats are hearty enough to survive lopping off the growth above the grafts, but not having grafted before don't know if I should cut small portions at a time or go in heavy one time... and also wonder how much growth I should let the grafted branch have before removing growth above it? For reference sake the trees I grafted branches onto are about 5' tall and with the existing central leaders about thumb-width in diameter, whereas the branches I actually grafted onto were growing out at about the 2' height level and are just a tad larger than pencil-sized in diameter.

Not sure anyone will have grafted loquats, but hoping the methodologies / concerns are similar enough between fruits that the same practices hold. MUCH appreciate any insight those of you with lots of grafting experience can offer!
 
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Chainsaw

5 year old buck +
I don't have a clue about loquat, had never even heard the word before your post. My grafting experience is limited but as you did I would have opened the tape to let the leaves unfurl. After that we just forget about the tape and let it decay or unravel on its own schedule. If it looked to be molding under the tape I might open it up, otherwise not. Congratulations on your successful grafting adventure.
 

chickenlittle

5 year old buck +
About the tape, don't mess with it until it is well healed. You risk damaging the cells that have bridged between the two and cause it to fail. Leave it be. Maybe after a month, take a razor blade and slit the tape down a bit toward the graft.
 

cavey

5 year old buck +
About the tape, don't mess with it until it is well healed. You risk damaging the cells that have bridged between the two and cause it to fail. Leave it be. Maybe after a month, take a razor blade and slit the tape down a bit toward the graft.
" What he said :emoji_point_up_2:, congrats on the first grafts and you didnt even bleed!
 

bigbendmarine

5 year old buck +
I don't have a clue about loquat, had never even heard the word before your post. .
Can't say enough about how much I love loquats, though their range is from zones 7 or 8 (seen both listed as their northern range) down to zone 10. The trees can take freezes without too much problem but fruit production is supposedly affected with heavy freezes as the flowers appear during the winter and it also is necessary to have pollinators around during the winter to perform pollination. Despite having a half-dozen or so frosts in North Florida this "winter" (all things being relative, lol) I still am seeing fruit production on my trees that are old enough to produce. Grafted varities take only 2 or 3 years to fruit whereas supposedly it takes more like 5 to 7 if grown from seed. That shared I dug up a wild sapling that looked to only be one or two a few years back and it produced the winter after I planted it. Here it is today, two years since I relocated it and it does have tiny fruits forming on it though can't see them in the picture -- about the size of marbles and greeen right now but will grow to be about ping-pong sized and turn yellowish-orange in about a month.

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Really can make a great "accent" tree in that it can be pruned to shape fairly easy, and I've some really older ones with central leaders take the shape of a 30' Christmas tree while I've also seen some older ones with densely-leaved umbrella-shaped form making it much easier to reach / pick fruit. The fruit is very mild and tasty... more like a super mild / maybe even better described as muted tasting peach. Seeds grow easily / readily without much care.

Here's the mother tree to the saplings I grew from seed -- from fruit I picked and ate off of a tree growing in a local park.

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Also share a few video links that speak to loquats -- the first gives a very general overview. Runs some sort of ad info for about the first 15 seconds but then does show and speak well to loquats.


This one speaks to grafting / is what I watched before making my first effort. When I say it's easy to graft, I think the video shows just how much as I'm guessing many other fruit species can't handle some of the radical size differences that this guy shows! And on Cavey's bleeding note, the guy doing the grafting even tells a "thumb-grafting" story! :emoji_smile:

 
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Chainsaw

5 year old buck +
The Loquat pictured is a beautiful tree; if I ever choose to buy a second home in Florida it is one I would want to grow for sure. The tree has a very pleasing shape, reminds me of one of my favorite tree shapes- the white dogwood. The grafting demonstration was interesting; The grafter was very skilled with his knife; it was surprising though that he didn't wear no-cut gloves. I could not make it without them. Maybe I'm simply not as coordinated as a thirty year old anymore. I liked how the grafter showed to stretch the tape right from the start-made sense; will try that.
Sometimes we vacation in Vero Beach so I checked out the Loquat festival coming up in March which was mentioned on the video to see if it was close to Vero. It looked 2 1/2 hours away which isn't too far if it were a large festival but looked a little small, still ok if it was closer to Vero, just small.
 
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