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I have a peach tree that I want to save - it's almost completely dead because of borers. There are some healthy branches on it still, and I'm wondering about the possibility of grafting some of this stock onto another peach tree I have. Where can I find out how to do this?

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A

Success in grafting depends on tissue compatibility, good technique, appropriate timing, and luck. You need luck for the elements out of your control - the weather is one example.

Scion wood - the cuttings of the tree you want to save - should be taken from the tree during dormancy. Although you could take cuttings as early as December, it's usually better to wait until about February (unless we have had an unusually mild late winter and tree buds are already swelling). The longer you wait to take the cuttings, the shorter time the cuttings will need to be stored. Storage opens opportunities for mold, rot, desiccation, and other accidental damage. Graft the scion onto the new tree in spring when bark just starts to "slip" - this is when the tree is coming out of dormancy.  Usually, this is around late March, but every year is different. Staggering some of your grafts time-wise may help you catch the "just right" time and weather conditions.  This spring would have been challenging for grafting, because of the early heat, late frost, and subsequent heat again. When weather is mild, there is a better chance that the graft will "take" since there will be less stress on the tree.

Here are some links to good online publications or downloadable publications about grafting:

 

http://www.ext.nodak.edu/county/cass/horticulture/fruit/graft.htm

 

http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho39/ho39.pdf

 

http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho39/ho39.pdf

 

 

 

Posted on 3 Aug 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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