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Plum grafting is not a necessary maintenance activity for this tree, as opposed to pruning or feeding. It is carried out at the request of the gardener. However, you should not neglect it, since it can significantly improve the characteristics of the plum tree and facilitate its care.
Do I need to plant a plum
Most of the seedlings sold in nurseries are already grafted. This can be determined by the characteristic thickening just above the root neck.
The vaccination procedure itself is not mandatory.
Why plant a plum
Grafting can significantly save time when choosing the right variety or for quickly multiplying the right one. With the help of grafting, you can quickly replace one variety of plum with another, bypassing the seedling stage. Grafting on more hardy rootstocks can significantly increase the frost resistance of the tree, and the use of dwarf rootstocks reduces the height of the plant.
Plum grafting in spring: tips for beginners
Vaccination is a very responsible event, and its success largely depends on preparation. This procedure needs to be carried out only on time. The cuts on the rootstock and cuttings must be neat, even and precise, so a good tool is indispensable here.
Vaccination is akin to a surgical operation, so you need to take care of preparatory and rehabilitation measures in advance, stock up on the necessary materials.
What tree can you plant a plum on
There is an opinion among gardeners that stone fruit trees can be grafted onto stone fruit trees, and pome fruit trees can be grafted onto pome fruit trees. The following fruit crops belong to stone fruits:
- Cherry plum.
- Felt cherry.
- Common cherry.
- Steppe cherry.
- Home plum.
- Chinese plum.
In theory, you can plant a plum on any tree from this list. However, in practice, things are not so simple.
Plum grafting on plum
Intraspecific grafting is most likely to be successful. The plum is grafted onto the plum to improve fruiting performance, preserve the species or reproduce it. Many people plant several varieties on one plum tree.
Plum grafting on the blackthorn
The thorn is the closest relative of the plum. Wild blackthorn is an extremely unpretentious plant and an indispensable stock for gardeners who want to increase the frost resistance of their plum trees. Plum cuttings grafted onto thorns take root very well.
At the same time, frost resistance increases so much that even in the most severe frost they remain intact, while other varieties of plums completely freeze out.
Is it possible to plant a plum on the wild
You can also use wild plum (wild plum) as a rootstock for plums. As a rule, this kind of grafting is successful, and the result is an increased resistance of the tree to adverse weather conditions, temperature fluctuations and precipitation. Experienced gardeners recommend that novice gardeners use wild wild for plum stock. It allows for good practice and does not require perfect vaccination accuracy.
Is it possible to plant a plum on a bird cherry
You can plant a plum on a bird cherry. In most cases, the scion will take root and even release leaves. However, the bird cherry will not provide the stock of proper nutrition, therefore, the leaves on the scion will turn yellow ahead of time, wither and fly around. There will be no full-fledged growth of a plum on a bird cherry rootstock.
Plum grafting on cherries
Such an inoculation is possible if you take not ordinary, but felt cherries as a stock. The work must be done quickly and accurately, since the cherry slices oxidize very quickly and the survival rate drops sharply. The result is a plum tree, which will be about half the size and more compact than usual, and it will begin to bear fruit a year or two earlier.
And also the tree will be more resistant to weather conditions and will grow better in heavy soil.
Plum grafting on apricot
Planting a plum on an apricot stock is difficult, but possible. The main problem is that not all varieties of plums get along with it. But if the grafting succeeds, the fruits of the plums on the apricot rootstock will be more tasty and aromatic than the usual ones.
Grafting blue plum on yellow
Since both the rootstock and the scion are a plum, the grafting will most certainly be successful if done correctly. If the grafting is done not on a seedling, but in the crown of an adult tree, the gardener will have a very interesting plum, with blue fruits on one side, and yellow on the other.
What can be grafted on a plum
Plum can also be used as a rootstock. You can graft on it the same stone fruit trees, which include the plum itself.
Grafting apricot on a plum
The apricot is grafted onto the plum quite often. Since the plum is more resistant to cold weather and weather disasters, such an inoculation will significantly increase the apricot's hardiness and frost resistance. At the same time, its entry into fruiting will occur 1-2 years earlier, and the yield will not decrease. Unfortunately, not all grafts are successful and the survival rate is much lower than the intraspecific one in both of these trees.
Peach grafting on plums
The unpretentiousness of the plum will help in this case. Peach cuttings grafted onto a plum are more likely to take root. A peach on a plum stock becomes resistant to both an unfavorable climate and many diseases, less often it is affected by pests, and its fruits become larger and tastier.
Grafting an apple tree on a plum
Cuttings of pome fruit crops, to which the apple tree belongs, do not take root on stone fruit trees. There is a 99% chance that such a vaccination is doomed to failure. If this does happen, the result will be unpredictable. It is absolutely known that some gardeners managed to plant an apple tree on a plum, but there is no data on the results of such experiments.
Cherry plum takes root well on a plum stock. If for some reason the plum grows poorly, cherry plum is often grafted onto it. It is much more stable, more unpretentious and bears fruit more abundantly.
On a plum stock, cherry plum will begin to bear fruit 1-2 years earlier than when planted with a bone.
Cherry grafting on plums
Sweet cherries are grafted on the plum without any problems, if all the terms and rules are followed, the survival rate will be very high. Such grafting significantly improves the quality of the fruit, their size increases significantly, and the taste becomes much richer and more interesting.
Plum thorn grafting
Absolutely, such a vaccination will take root, since blackthorn and cherry plum are the parents of the plum. However, there is no reason to plant a tenacious hardy thorn on a plum that is more tender in all respects. This will not add winter hardiness, yield too. Therefore, they usually do a reverse grafting, planting plum cuttings to a more resistant thorny stock.
Pear grafting on plums
The pear belongs to the same family as the apple tree - pome fruits. Therefore, in relation to such a vaccination, everything that has already been said about the apple tree above will be true.
Cherry grafting on plums
Such grafting is possible and with a certain degree of probability it will be successful, although it is rather difficult to achieve fusion of the cuttings with the stock because of the different woods. The cherries that have taken root on a plum rootstock will feel good, and if you plant them in the crown, you can get two types of fruits at once on the tree. Such a hybrid will bear fruit earlier than an ordinary cherry. The tree itself will grow larger and more spreading, and when it blooms, it will resemble sakura.
What can be grafted onto a wild plum
Wild birds are usually those that grow from the root growth of unvaccinated trees or from the seed. They are distinguished by increased resistance to weather changes, they tolerate frost well, and are undemanding to the composition of the soil. They are often used as a rootstock, and quite successfully. You can graft on the wild:
Any of these grafts will increase the tree's resistance to weather conditions and make it more unpretentious.
Plum grafting time
Plum is planted in spring, during the period of intensive sap flow. At this time, the survival rate of the scion is the highest. If for some reason the vaccination has failed, you can repeat it in June or July. In autumn, you can only be vaccinated in the southern regions, otherwise there is a great chance that the stalk simply will not have time to grow together with the stock before the onset of cold weather.
Dates of grafting plums in spring
The best vaccination period for stone fruits is late March – early April. This is the time of the beginning of the growing season and the chances of a positive result are much greater. May is also a good month for vaccinations, however, with the onset of the warm period, the survival rate drops and not all vaccinations can be completed successfully.
Plum grafting dates in summer
If, for some reason, it was not possible to plant the plum in the spring or the attempts were unsuccessful, you can repeat them in June-July. At this time, you can still hope for success, since the scion will have enough time to take root before the onset of cold weather. In August and later, it is possible to plant plums only in warm regions.
How to save plum cuttings for grafting
For cuttings, woody shoots of the first or second year of life are chosen. Side branches located on the sunny side of the tree are preferred. Cuttings are cut in late autumn, after the first frost. At this time, the plant is in a dormant state and the cuttings will tolerate winter storage well.
There are several ways to keep the cut cuttings until spring. The easiest one is in the snow. To do this, you need to dig a small hole, the bottom of which must be lined with spruce branches. Then cuttings tied in bunches are stacked and covered with the same spruce branches on top. Then a layer of earth or straw is thrown on top, after which everything is covered with a thick layer of snow.
Other methods can be used to preserve plum cuttings. The main thing is to provide a temperature of about 0 ° C and a humidity of about 70%. At a lower temperature, the cuttings may freeze, at a higher temperature, they may wake up ahead of time. Many people store cuttings in the refrigerator, on the balcony, or in a cold cellar.
Important! You should always cut the cuttings with a margin, as during storage they can be spoiled by mold or mice.
Plum grafting methods in spring
There are several ways to plant a plum. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. Which one to use is up to the gardener himself, based on the conditions of inoculation and the available materials.
Many fruit trees can be grafted with this method. In order to inoculate by copulation, the thickness of the rootstock and the scion must be the same. The stalk and stock are cut with an even oblique cut so that its length is approximately three times the diameter. After that, the cutting is applied to the stock so that the cambium layers coincide as much as possible. Then the vaccination site is fixed with tape.
There is also improved copulation (Figure b). In this case, the cut is made in a zigzag pattern. This makes it possible to more reliably fix the cutting, as well as to increase the boundaries of contact between the cambium of the rootstock and the scion, and to increase the survival rate.
Plum grafting into cleft
Split grafting allows you to plant 1, 2 or 4 cuttings at the same time on one rootstock. To inoculate several cuttings, its thickness should be several times greater than that of the scion. The branch intended for the stock is cut with a straight cut and then carefully cleaned with a sharp garden knife. Then a straight split is made in the middle (if 4 cuttings are grafted - cruciform). The graft is cut from the bottom to the wedge so that the cuts are about three times longer than the thickness of the cutting. After that, the cuttings are inserted into the split, while the outer lateral layer of the cambium at the rootstock and the scion must match.
Important! Do not touch the slices with your hands, otherwise you can get an infection.
After grafting, all cuttings are fixed with a special or insulating tape, and all open cuts are treated with garden varnish.
Plum grafting with a kidney (budding)
With this method of inoculation, the graft is one kidney. Gardeners often call it "peephole", hence the name of the method (okulus (lat) - eye). The bud is taken from the cuttings of the desired variety. If it is harvested in the fall, then this is budding with a sprouting eye, such an shoot after grafting will begin to grow this spring. If the bud is taken from a green tree, then the grafting is carried out in the summer, and the shoot will begin to grow from it only next spring. This method is called sleeping eye budding.
To carry out inoculation "in the butt", a recess is cut out in a semicircle on the stock, and a shield of exactly the same shape is inserted into it, in which there is a healthy bud of the scion. After that, the flap with the peephole is securely fixed with a special tape, while the kidney should remain open. After about 2 weeks, the result of the vaccination can be assessed.
It is also possible to perform the budding in a T-shaped incision. For this, the bark of the stock at the grafting site is cut with the letter "T". The bark layer is folded back, and a shield with a grafted kidney is wound behind it. The bark returns to its place, closing the flap. After that, the vaccination site is rigidly fixed with a special tape.
The result of the vaccination can be checked after 15–20 days. If the spring bud sprouts, the grafting is successful.
Bridging grafting is used for ring bark lesions. Often this problem arises due to the fact that the bark of a young plum in a circle is gnawed in a circle by hares. To prevent the tree from dying, a kind of "bridge" is thrown over the wound, along which the juices move.
Before grafting a plum with a bridge (in the middle lane it is May), you need to paint over or cover up all damaged areas in advance, otherwise the tree will begin to dry. For "bridges" cuttings harvested last year are suitable, and they may be of a different variety or even species. If the trunk of the damaged tree is small, only 2 cuttings are required, if large - up to 8.
On the cuttings, you need to break off all the buds so that they do not start growing, and also make oblique cuts 2-3 cm long. The edges of the damaged rootstock area are cut in a T-shape, the edges of the bark are folded back and the edges of the cutting are brought there. "Bridges" are tightly fixed, and then wrapped with foil, forming a natural greenhouse.
Important! Cuttings must be inserted strictly vertically, the direction of their installation must coincide with the direction of natural growth.
Plum grafting for the bark
The bark graft is somewhat similar to the cleft graft. The rootstock branch is cut with an even cut and cleaned with a knife. On the edge of the bark, an incision is made 2–4 mm long (if several cuttings are grafted, several incisions are made). The bark must be carefully bent and inserted into the handle, on which an oblique cut is made.
To prevent the cuttings from falling out, they must be tightly fixed with tape. All open sections must be covered with garden pitch.
This method of grafting splices two shoots growing side by side. Ablactation, or rapprochement grafting, is rarely used on garden trees. Its main goal is to create hedges. And also ablactation helps to save the damaged tree, if there is another one nearby.
The time for vaccination is from May to August. On two shoots growing side by side, it is necessary to remove the bark at the point of convergence and make the same cuts. Then fold the stock and scion, combining the layers of cambium as much as possible.After that, the vaccination site is tightly fixed with tape.
How to plant a plum in a side cut
Side incision grafting is very easy. A branch of the stock in the right place is cut with an oblique cut so as to cut both bark and wood. The stalk is cut from the bottom so that a double-sided wedge is formed. It is inserted into the cut obtained on the rootstock. Layers of cambium are combined as much as possible, then the scion and stock are fixed with tape.
All open sections are covered with garden varnish.
How to plant a broken plum in spring
In winter, the tree can suffer from many factors. Basically, large branches are affected, breaking under the weight of adhered wet snow. Sometimes the central conductor also suffers, mainly in young trees. Broken branches will have to be removed. This must be done carefully so as not to scuff the bark. All creases must be cleaned and covered with garden pitch.
If the bole is intact, the tree will most likely continue to grow normally and will soon replace the lost branches. If the central conductor is broken, but the bark at the place of the break remains intact, you can try to put a tire on the place of the break and fix the trunk. If the stem is completely broken, the only way out is to cut it down and plant several cuttings on the stump in the cleft or behind the bark.
Plum care after vaccination
After vaccination, the condition of the scion should be checked regularly. If there is no doubt that it has taken root (green leaves have blossomed on the handle), you can weaken, and then completely remove the tape and film that was wrapped around the vaccination site. If a large shoot was grafted, the harness can be kept until next spring.
The emerging shoots on the scion should be removed so that the tree does not waste energy on its growth. The emerging inflorescences are also removed so as not to weaken the scion by fruiting. You can leave only a few pieces to assess the quality of the resulting fruit.
What mistakes gardeners often make when planting plums
The vaccination procedure is not complicated only at first glance. Successful vaccinations will take hours of hard training. Here are the most common mistakes novice gardeners make:
- Vaccination is carried out at a considerable distance from the stem.
- The vaccination site is contaminated or is not treated with varnish after the procedure.
- When the scion is fixed, the cambium layers are displaced relative to the rootstock.
- The slices do not match in shape and size.
- Too weak fixation of the scion, due to which it is fluffed by the wind.
- Cuttings too short.
- Incorrectly harvested cuttings in autumn or frozen in winter.
The most common mistakes when vaccinating plums are in the video at the link below.
Plum grafting helps to avoid many problems. This is both a quick way of reproduction, and a means of improving varietal qualities, and a method of increasing resistance to the climatic features of the growing region. In addition, grafting may well turn a fruit tree into a unique one, since the result often exceeds all the gardener's expectations.