Heartland Peony Society


This area is for you to leave your comments on the Grafting Tree Peonies tutorial



Almost always there is not a right way and a wrong way, but a way that works for you, and THAT'S the one you should use.(Reiner Jakubowski)


Grafting is an art and the HPS grafting site mentions only a couple variants on how to produce successful grafts. Other methods abound and each person will find shortcuts that lead to better results. This page offers a chance for grafter to share their experience and results or add personal insights. To add your own comments to this page contact webmaster@peonies.org. Your comments will be added to this page.



Comments from Reiner Jakubowski (Comments are in Blue)

Page 1

…..   The new grafts are held in a warm moist environment for union to heal. Later the new graft is planted in a garden bed with the graft union at or below the surface of the soil.  If planted with the union at soil level, the scion will be unable to make its own roots.  This is to encourage roots to develop from the scion. If the graft was properly performed the scion will sprout the following spring.



Page 2

2.)        Selection of Rootstock - Roots are taken from herbaceous peonies.  This is normally the case, but tree peony roots can also be used.  The problem is that if the nurse root produces top growth of its own it is not easily distinguishable from scion growth so safest to use own roots herbaceous roots are not available.  The roots to be used must be of the same or nearly the same diameter as the base of the scion (same diameter is not demonstrated in the drawings in which the root is invariably shown significantly larger than the scion, nor is the “good roots” statement just below supportive of this suggestion.  Same size is best if using the simple wedge, sometimes called a saddle graft.  For the triangular wedge that is shown in your diagrams a larger diameter nurse root seems to work better.  Imagine trying to do the triangular thing on a same size root.) or it may be larger. ….


Page 3

3.)        Preparation for grafting

The roots and the scions need to be sanitized before the grafting takes place. This is done by using one part Clorox Bleach to approximately ten to twenty parts water. Soak the roots and the scions for up to 1 hour in the solution. The roots will appear lighter in color than before the treatment. The scions will appear to be virtually unchanged. Rinse the roots and scions well to remove bleach solution. All materials, tools and work surfaces should also be sanitized with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) just prior to grafting.  Might be best to specify that disinfection is carried out BEFORE making the cuts necessary for joining root and scion, and that cutting tools be dry before making cuts.


4.)        Prepare the scion:  ….

 Next place the scion on  the cutting surface with the previous cut down.  I avoid placing cut surfaces so that they make contact with the cutting board. The risk of contamination is too great regardless of how clean you think your work surface is.  ….


5.)        Prepare the nurse root: …...  Next cut a cleft in the rootstock to match the triangular cut that you have made to the scion.  This is actually the hardest part to get correct.  The aim is to excavate a piece of the rootstock out that is exactly the size of the triangular cut on the scion.  This may take considerable practice to get correct.  I find that this particular cut is easier to make if you use two blades.  Make the first cut and leave the blade imbedded.  It makes a good reference for lining up the second cut that’s then made with the second blade.


 Page 4

 6.)        Fitting the scion and rootstock: The surface of the triangular cut on the scion must fit flush with the surface of the root.  The surface can be adjusted by sliding the scion upward or downward on the rootstock for best alignment.   …..   The two parts should fit as closely as possible.  I would add that all of the scion must make contact with the nurse root, thus the need for a root that is at least the same diameter as the scion.



9.)        Planting - ……  The grafts should be planted in late fall with  the entire graft union below the ground. Since most scions are relatively short I always plant grafts entirely below soil surface.  This maximizes the opportunity for own root initiation.  This protects the scion from being disturbed by anything on the surface.  ……


Page 5

10.)      Care - …...  In fall check to determine if the grafting band and the tape should be removed, if they have not already broken or fallen apart.  If left in place, these bands could restrict flow of nutrients up through the stem of the plant.  Just a thought here – If the flow from the nurse root is restricted, wouldn’t this promote own root development in the effort for the scion to supply demand for water and nutrients?  …..


Page 6


 Material List


Grafting bands or broad rubber bands (Ό inch by 3 ½ inches cut to make a strip)


 I think you should specify some of the materials as much as possible. 



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