Topworking trees and healing over

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
I was walking in my tree planting yesterday and took a few pictures of the graft unions of some trees that I topworked over the last 3 years. Most of them have healed over well and already closed the gaps. Below are a few examples:

This first one is where I converted a Callery Pear to a Hunter's Choice Pear. This tree has produced good crops the last two years.
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The second one is a native male persimmon that I did a sex change operation on. You can still see a little swell at the graft union, but it is healed over completely. This tree had a bumper crop last year.
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This is an interesting one. The original tree was a huge crabapple (with tiny apples) that I felt was too big to topwork. I don't think it could have ever healed over. I sawed the tree off at the groundline, and put a cage around the stump. When shoots started coming from around the stump, I cut all of them off but one and nurtured it to make a new small tree. Then I topworked it to a desirable variety. I'm expecting fruit from this one maybe next year.
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This is another persimmon that I was worried about, because it was so big when topworked, I was afraid that it might not heal over well. However, it is now completely healed over and making big persimmon crops.
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This is a non productive apple that has now been converted over to a Yates. I'm expecting a crop this year.
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Here is another apple that lacks some time completely healing over. However, it isn't far away and may close the gap this growing season.
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Here we see the agony of defeat, where my grafts failed to take on a persimmon tree. I really don't know why I failed on this one, but it obviously did. New limbs below my failed grafts have shot out now. I will let this tree grow another year and go back and try again.
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This last one is where I ordered what was supposed to be a productive crabapple variety from a nursery, but it turned out to be an ornamental crab. I topworked it to a nice Dolgo variety that drops heavily in November, so in a couple of years, we should be good to go.
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Just say no to non productive trees - topwork them and get what you need......
 

VTer

5 year old buck +
Native,
This pics are so helpful. I topped work a number of apple trees last year and had good success. On all of them I grafted 2 scions to increase the chances of success. Two of the trees have vigorous growth from both scions. I was told it was important to remove one of the scions to avoid bad crotch angles. It looks like on some you did limit it to 1 scion and some you didnt. Any reasoning or thoughts.
Thank you.
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
Native,
This pics are so helpful. I topped work a number of apple trees last year and had good success. On all of them I grafted 2 scions to increase the chances of success. Two of the trees have vigorous growth from both scions. I was told it was important to remove one of the scions to avoid bad crotch angles. It looks like on some you did limit it to 1 scion and some you didnt. Any reasoning or thoughts.
Thank you.
It depends on what it looks like after the first year. If I think a tree can easily be trained to a central leader style, I will usually do that. However, there is nothing wrong with an open center style - especially with apples. That’s how lots of apples are trained in the UK.

Pears will take on a vertical growth habit regardless of how you train them. Persimmons will too but it takes longer.

You can also bend some of those extra shoots down and force them to become limbs. I’ve done that before too. Good luck.
 

Prof.Kent

5 year old buck +
Sometimes we're lazy and hope for a miracle.
USUALLY it is best to remove one grafted scion or most of both scions, depending on the direction of the buds. If one bud from each scion is pointing it opposite directions you could keep them both and have a good crotch angle (and remove all other growing buds). This is the only time I keep both scions. Also realize that by removing one scion the other gets all the energy and will grow faster. Thus it is best to remove the weeker or less-optimally growing graft. Condsider the health of the graft uniom, vigor of growth, and direction of growth. The lesser graft should be remove when new growth is about 6 inches long in order to give the better graft as much of the tree's energy as it can get the first year before it hardens off in the Fall.
 

Bill Loser

5 year old buck +
What some of you guys can do with trees is astonishing to me. Im happy if I can just get a bareroot sapling to live, you guys are producing frankentrees! Awesome work!
Someday I will learn all this and try it.

Someone mentioned something about bad crotch angles. Can you expand on that?
 

Prof.Kent

5 year old buck +
The angle a branch makes with the central leader is best to be at 70 degrees or greater for greater strength. Very acute angles tend to break under heavy loads of fruit.
 

Native Hunter

5 year old buck +
A few more things to add:

1. I will not remove extra scions on a big cut until the wound is completely healed over. I think healing over as fast as possible is important to keep from getting a decay pocket inside the tree. That's why I use lots of scions on big cuts - because the space fills in faster. If the tree is small, that's a different story and easy to deal with, because healing happens quickly. I did 2 pears on 3/4 - 1 inch diameter trees with single scions last year, and both completely healed over the first season. They are both nice, central leader trees now.

2. I prefer a central leader, but when topworking a really big tree I think it is sometimes better to train it to an open center design. In fact, I sometimes cut my scions with that in mind. I will cut scions with an arch and turn the tips outward when grafting them. That way they point away from each other, and this creates an arching outward effect for a perfect open center design (and helps the crotch angle situation). This ends up mimicking the design that I see at one of the most successful apple orchards in our area (run by true professionals).

3. Bracing against wind the first year is important where I live. I've had scions to grow over 7 feet long the first season, and without bracing, a strong wind will get them. I use cane (native bamboo) sticks and duct tape to do this. This generally works, but last year I had a topworked mulberry to grow so big that it ripped the duct tape and crashed my scaffolding. I was topworking a Morus Alba to an Illinois Everbearing. I will let the tree grow back a couple of years and do it again.

4. Removing extra scions too quickly can be bad, and I am hesitant to do it. I once killed a tree that was off to a great start by removing scions too quickly. A topworked tree is healing, and the extra leaves catching more sunlight is a good thing up to a point. Some of my trees shown above will get some pruning, but it will be when I think it's right and in a way that accomplishes my goals.

5. As for the references to "lazy" and "miracles," I don't recommend that for grafting. You should only ask for miracles when it's really important, and I don't know what the word lazy means...... Best wishes.
 
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Knehrke

5 year old buck +
And that, friends, is an argument between gentlemen!

Great pics and suggestions all. I will take my first stab at grafting some of the unproductive, younger wild trees that I've identified - we have 54 at last count that I've released, some being absolute gems and others spitters. The later will be test subjects for learning a new skill. Thank you for sharing the wisdom.
 
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