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anyone done approach grafting of thin-stemmed woodies?

davidrt28 (zone 7)
6 years ago
last modified: 6 years ago

Putting this in trees since it is the busiest hardy plant related forum. I just tried to approach graft Rhododendron 'Trewithen Orange' onto R. minus 'Fort Gaines', an extremely heat tolerant lepidote. Both plants are 1 year rooted cuttings. (i.e., rooted fall of 2014) The problem with all of the alpine lepidotes from SW China is they have terribly weak root systems in our climate. 'Trewithen Orange', for example, could be kept alive by monthly application of Aliette in summer, but died without it. And even then it wasn't very vigorous. A nursery made some elepidote grafts for me last year and the vigor that previously difficult varieties are showing has me extremely excited to do more of these.

My question is: the stems are so thin in this case - 1/8" at most - I was afraid to try to debark them. I just got the rubber grafting band as tight as I could. Because these stems are so young and small, shouldn't they still be able to fuse?

(yes, I did bring over two stems and grafted them on either side. I figured that would give a better chance of fusion)

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