I'm looking for fruit tree scion wood, in other words cuttings I can use to graft my own fruit trees with.
I've just started grafting fruit trees in the past few years. This year I set out to place a small order of rootstocks for grafting, discovered the cheapest place to buy them was a wholesale nursery, and so ended up with more than I can really use myself.
I'm particularly interested in UK heritage varieties. I'm not so interested in something purchased from a garden centre, particularly if you don't know the name. I would consider varieties you think are good tasting, but don't know anything about.
Is anyone here growing fruit trees like this and willing to send some cuttings from your tree?
I could pay reasonable postage and packing costs. I could also trade rootstock and/or freshly grafted trees I make with scion wood other people send me, so-called 'bench grafts'.
My rootstock is the semi-dwarfing type, mostly yielding trees about 3 metres high that need about 3-4 metre spacing in the garden. It's compatible with fruits like apples, pears, cherries, plums, damsons, quinces, nectarines, peaches, gages and maybe others. I have lots of rootstock for apples.
Nice idea. Wouldn't mind doing a swap of scion wood for something interesting, as I fancy having a go at grafting this year.
I inherited a couple of trees on my allotment that I didn't know what they were, but I took them along to the Apple Day event at RHS Harlow Carr last year and the Northern Fruit Group reckoned they were probably Belle de Boskoop. OK they're not English heritage but they are very nice. More on what the apples and looks like here:
As you can see the tree needs a good pruning. Can you send scion wood through the post without it drying out?
Sounds good. I should have some extra scion wood I could send. I'll have a better idea of what varieties I have in a few weeks. Belle de Boskoop is Dutch and you'll be sending it to me in Amsterdam, so it's okay it's not English heritage...
For anyone considering collecting it, scion wood should always be the latest growth, nothing more than 1 year old. Hygiene is very important, and you should wash your hands first and sterilize your tools in water with a little bleach added. If you're collecting wood from more than one tree, you should re-sterilize the tools between each tree. You shouldn't touch the end of the freshly cut wood with your fingers. Don't apply bleach directly on the scion wood itself, just use it for cleaning tools and maybe hands.
The scion wood can be placed in a plastic bag, possibly with a little damp kitchen roll wrapped around it. Make sure there is no loose water in the bag. Then you should either seal the bag securely (with a zipper or tape), or place into a second bag. Be sure to either sterilize the plastic bags or use new ones.
Then you should store the scion wood as close to 0C as possible, usually in a refrigerator. Too warm and it might begin to bud, too cold and the buds might be damaged by frost.
The idea is to collect the wood before it buds on the plant, but not so early it dries out before it's possible to graft it.
Scion wood sealed in plastic can be sent by post, and it shouldn't dry out too much. It's a good idea not to send it if the weather is expected to be very warm or cold.
I know there's at least one person here who knows a lot more about this than me, and I'd be glad to hear any corrections or other ideas! I'm still learning too.
Coals to Newcastle... ;>)
Tips appreciate as I've not done this before. How long does the scion wood have to be? And does it have to be the end of the growth or a section from that growth?
It's not very important how long the scion wood is, but you need to have enough of it to work with. For example you need to try to match to the diameter of the rootstock with the scion wood, so might need to cut one or the other back quite a bit. You will also probably make some wrong cuts, and need to try again. There's not a lot of difference however in having one long piece or several shorter ones, so whatever is handy to package and send is usually good.
Having the end of the growth is a little handy, because if the end is open it will be a possible place to lose moisture from and dry out the scion. Having said this, depending on how you do the graft, it may be no problem to cover the end with some tape, tree sealing compound or grafting wax.
It's important to graft the scion in the right direction! If you cut both tends of the scion, it might not be possible any more to see which end is which. If there's any doubt, be sure to label this.
I had the best result with parafilm tape, with the whole scion wrapped up like this:
In this case it's easy enough to tape over a cut end, if that's what you have.
Parafilm degrades in sunlight, and will pass air but not moisture. What this means is as the scion starts to bud, it will just breakthrough the parafilm. You don't have to remove the tape by hand, and it will eventually fall off on it's own.
You can buy parafilm here:
or other places as well.
I suggest getting the 1/2"width, white colour. The green colour may work too, but I've never tried it.
You can find good videos on saddle grafting here:
When I did my grafting exactly as he does, my scions dried out before they took. I found it really important to cover the entire scion with tape.