Late grafting can be successful
Paper bags are the key.
Imperial Gala on Tatura Trellis were bark grafted in early October (spring) 2009. A severe wind and rainstorm in the summer damaged many grafts that had taken. 2)Bad weather in October (spring) 2010, prevented the grafters from regrafting the trees. They returned in early December (summer) and placed brown paper bags over the bark grafts to prevent them from drying out. 3) Three weeks later, the grafts had taken and the bags were removed. 4) One month after the bag was removed (January 2, 2011).
The book Plant Propagation—Principles and Practices by Hudson Hartmann and Dale Kester, the authorities on propagating plants, does not state what a grower can do if a bark graft has not taken or was damaged and destroyed after it was grafted.
A common practice is to grow a new shoot from the tree in question, and place a bud into this shoot in summer, or wait a year and regraft the tree.
I recently came across an interesting case in Australia where a storm damaged a number of apple grafts in a block of Imperial Gala on Tatura Trellis that had been grafted over to a redder Gala strain. The professional grafters had promised to return and fix the problem the following spring, but were prevented by bad weather from doing the job.
To everyone’s surprise, they returned in early December (the equivalent of June in the Northern Hemisphere), and placed a brown paper bag over each of the two new bark grafts and sealed the bag with tape. The orchardist was told to slit the bags after three weeks and remove the bags when the grafts started to sprout.
The illustrations here show that late grafting with the help of brown paper bags can be successful.
Van den Ende is a tree fruit consultant in Australia’s Goulburn Valley.