Grafted apple and starts Grafted apple and starts (Photo credit: johnpaulgoguen)

Bench grafting is done during the dormant season. Dormant scion wood is grafted to a bare root rootstock that is either dormant or starting to grow, and held at 60-70 °F for 10-14 days to give the wounds time to start healing. The new plants are then held at cooler temperatures (35-45 °F) until the risk of hard freeze (which can damage the new cells in the graft union) is past and it is safe to plant them outside.

It is best to plant the newly grafted trees in a garden row or keep them in containers rather than in their anticipated permanent location. The new graft unions are fragile and could easily be damaged by children, pets or string trimmers. After a season of growth, your new trees will be stronger, taller and less likely to be damaged.

We will ship rootstocks to you when we ship the rest of your order, and rootstocks often are not available until February. Keep your harvested scion wood in the refrigerator, if prepared properly it can hold several months. See the December Growing Tips or the the rootstock page at the center of the catalog for scion harvesting and storage tips.

If you are not able to do your grafts right after you receive your rootstock, that is OK. It is more important that the scion wood be dormant than the rootstock. Just keep the roots moist so the rootstock does not dry out.

There are several techniques used for bench grafting. The booklet ‘Budding and Grafting’ (#S050) explains the most common techniques.

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