Simple Thread Graft

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Simple Thread Graft

Postby taffyman » Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:51 pm

This is a Ficus Superba (one of only a few deciduous figs). I got it from Fairhill Native Nursery at Yandina about 18 months ago as a skinny rooted cutting about 20cm tall. I put it straight into a 10 inch black plastic pot to grow on a bit. I also put some wire on it to start a bit of shape on the straight trunk. About three months later, I removed the wire before it started cutting in. I kept watering and feeding it, but didn't take too much notice of it. A few weeks ago I had a look at it and saw that everything was growing straight up, and the lower (skinny) branches had dropped off :shock: I wanted those branches and if I'd kept an eye on it, I could have continually cut the top back which would have encouraged the lower branches to keep growing :evil: . No matter, with a very simple thread graft, I'll replace the one branch that I particularly want.

This first photo shows the full tree with the graft in place. Very easy to do - drill a hole through the trunk where you want it (on a very slow speed so as not to cauterize the tissue), thread the branch through, mark on the branch where it exits the trunk, slide it back and gently scrape the bark back to green on the top and the underside - don't remove the bark, just scrape back to green. Slide it back in again and wire in place to secure it and that's it done.

Image

Photo 2 is more of a close-up of the completed graft:

Image

In Photo 3 you can see where I've wired the lower right branch, up the trunk and along a shoot on the inside of the straight right hand branch - The red line shows the intended new trunk line. All the branches with the blue arrows will be removed Where the yellow lines are when the graft has taken, leaving just that shoot in the middle. The branch with the purple arrow will eventually be the second branch on that side of the tree. I've deliberately left the other branches in place so that the tree will continue to grow at a good pace until I sever the graft. In particular, I've left the branch directly above the graft on the right because the sap lines from that one to the roots go directly down to - and past the graft. That will help the graft to fuse a lot quicker than if it wasn't left there. Above and behind the branch with the purple arrow is another thin branch. That will be the first back branch - it's growing towards the back, so is ideally placed.

Image

Because figs are such quick growers in our climate, I'll be interested to see how long the graft takes to fuse with the trunk. I'll know when the exit part is thicker than the entry on the other side of the trunk.
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Re: Simple Thread Graft

Postby alpinebonsart » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:27 pm

Hi Taffyman ,Good post and topic , i have a question or 2 for you . Would a thread graft work on a Maple and if so what would be the best time to do the procedure .

Could a thread graft work where 2 different varieties of Maples were used e.g Bloodgood to Palmatum basically replacing the ugly side grafts you quite often see .

Would you remove the bark or allow the process to take place in its own time .Assuming that i move a suitable 5 year old Palmatum chop-top close to a 10 year old bloodgood in the ground .

Could i possibly set numerous threads , the trunk of the chop top is 50mm plus and the Bloodgood lower branches are more like whips 3-4 mm thick and 600mm long .

I do know from personal experience and trials that you cannot defoliate an ornamental red Maple as they die .This would mean a winter process would be necessary .Any ideas would be apreciated .

Cheers Alpine
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Re: Simple Thread Graft

Postby taffyman » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:03 pm

Hi Alpine.

Yes, thread grafts will work on most trees. I've done Small Leaf Privet (2 grafts), Bougainvillea (4 grafts for someone else - 3 fused but his dog broke the 4th one off). I've also done a Port Jackson fig and currently have four grafts on a Ficus Benjamina and four on a Clerodendrum (2 are ready for separation). I've done a few other trees as well, so it's a very successful way of putting branches where you want them. Applying multiple grafts are no problem - as you can see above.

There's no reason why you couldn't do a Maple. I haven't done one, but if the Bloodgood can be cleft grafted to the Palmatum, then it will certainly take a thread graft. The advantage of thread grafts over cleft grafts is that there are no ugly scars and the branch is continually growing and being fed by the tree. There is a small scar where the graft is severed, but it's only the size of the drill used and heals over naturally over a short time.

On a couple of the grafts I've done, I did remove a small sliver of bark on the top and bottom where it exits to encourage the cambium to go into action. I've also done it by just scraping the bark on the top and bottom until green is showing. Those have also been very successful.

Given the delicate nature of the Palmatum, I'd say that winter would definitely be the way to go. Make sure you drill a hole large enough for the dormant buds to go through without being torn off. Another thing I do to ensure the growing tip isn't accidentally knocked off when threading it through is to use a straw. Cut it down one side then wrap it round the branch so the very tip is inside the straw. Feed it through the hole then remove the straw (very carefully). If your branches are too large for a straw, you could use clear plastic tube of the necessary diameter.

Another possibility is to do approach (or inarch) grafting. Can be done using a branch from the original tree or from donor branches from other trees placed nearby. This link is of one I did on a variegated Benjamina. Tomorrow, I'll take a photo of it as it is now - you can't tell it's been grafted.

Inarch Graft
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Re: Simple Thread Graft

Postby alpinebonsart » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:06 am

Hi Taffyman thanks for the info ,i have done inarching on pine trees and it works a treat. Maples are very slow to heal and usually with an ugly scar, hence my query about Thread grafts . I have a couple of weeks off from the next round of punishment so i need to occupy myself .Sounds like a good experiment to tackle , might do both inarching and thread and see how they perform .Cheers Alpine
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Re: Simple Thread Graft

Postby taffyman » Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:58 pm

Ooops! That was a long 'tomorrow'. Sorry about that. Anyway, here's the updated photo of that particular Inarch graft on a Variegated Ficus Benjamina.

Image

The red arrow points to where the fusion has taken place - there is hardly any trace of it. Down below that red arrow is a little scar on the trunk. That's where I cut the bark too far down when I applied the graft. It's healing over quite well, so in another couple of months that won't show either.

The blue arrow is the actual branch that was grafted.
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