Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Trees go wandering forth in all directions with every wind,
 going and coming like ourselves,
 traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day,
 and through space heaven knows how fast and far! 
-John Muir

Scion -n

1. a descendant.
2. Also, cion. a shoot or twig, especially one cut for grafting or planting; a cutting.

A couple of Sundays ago we attended a scion exchange in our neighborhood where gardeners and farmers traded cuttings from their fruit trees and vines.  There were workshops as well, including one on grafting taught by our local fruit tree expert who has an amazing property hosting over 100 rare fruit trees.  We walked away with some new knowlege and about 40 different varieties to graft in the orchard.
Here is our documented attempt at grafting our pear tree using a whipgraft...

(Collect scions when deciduous plants are dormant.  When the leaves are mostly gone and the buds are small, not swelling.  In the SF Bay Area--ealy winter.  Bag labeled scions in airtight plastic with drops of water and refigerate.  Deciduous scions will last for 2-10 months.) 

Select a branch on the tree where there are small buds so you know there is sap running to that particular branch.  

Using a knife or heavy cutter, cut the branch  in a locaion that is slightly smaller than the scion in diameter.  Then make a clean cut on the scion keeping 2-4 buds.

Carefully shave the scion and the branch into a wedge shape to make a tight fit. 

If they do not fit together perfectly you may need to reshape. 

We used this nifty product that comes in a convenient paper package called Parafilm.  When you open it and apply pressure it stretches out and becomes slightly elastic creating an excellent adhesive.  

Wrap tightly around the joining point of the branch and the scion so that the bond is completely covered.  You want the sap to run into the scion not onto the tree branch.  

Label and record the location of the graft and voila!  Now we await rapidly approaching spring.  We will check the graft in 3-4 weeks for bud swell.  

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