Monday, April 11, 2016

grafting gone wrong, I did it this time

I tried making a thread graft on a Ficus microcarpa. Tried is the key word. Things went south during the process. Thread grafting is when you drill a hole in a tree and place a branch in that hole. Usually the selected branches are thin and small. However, on Ficus microcarpa I have seen some pretty big grafts. So, without further adue here is my story:

I wired this branch so I could lower it. After it set I decided to chop the branch down and try grafting it to another Chinese banyan.

Parent tree

I wanted to get everything right. I made some holes of different sizes so that the branch would fit snugly in its new home.

I shaved the bark down to the cambium layer

I removed some of the bark to expose the cambium layer. My idea is that the cambium layer of the branch and the host tree should touch so that nutrients and moisture can flow to the branch from the tree.

I chose the spot where the new branch would go. This was not my first choice. This tree was collected. Before I could get to it the gardeners for years had hacked at it. It has a lot of scarring. Where I wanted to put the graft there was not enough living tissue. So I chose this side. It also needed a branch.

I played with the branch position to see where it would look the best.

I chose a spot and started to drill. The flesh was a lot softer than I thought it would be. I made sure that I did not drill too deep.

I inserted the branch and to my horror it was somewhat loose. I needed a tight sealed fit. I had many choices at this point. However, I might make things worse. I chose what I thought would be the most successful and the most simple option...

… I wedged two pieces of a bamboo skewer.

Then I sealed it all with beeswax.

What went wrong? Maybe I forgot to change the drill bit back to the smaller size. Perhaps I did not drill straight in and out making a bigger hole. Or i did not factor in when i shaved the bark to get to the cambium layer. I strongly think it was the bit size though. This was my first thread graft. I hope that it takes, but knowing what I did I won't be surprised if the graft does not take. Im hoping that because it is a chinese banyan, and they are resilient trees that it will work out. Cheers.

Update April 18, 2016

Last weekend we had unusually strong winds. the tree was blown off the stand. A few branches were cracked including the graft. This will be marked as a Learning experience.

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