Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Failed Grafts

     If you graft many seedlings, sooner or later you will experience some failures. There are two types of failed grafts as far as I am concerned however.
     The first type, and probably most common type of failed graft is one in which the scion dries up falls off..I guess you could call this an "obvious" failure.
     The other type is one in which the scion survives...sort of. The scion will begin to swell, becoming hard to the touch, and possibly exhibit the usual darkening in color characteristic of a successful graft that is getting ready to "take off"; the only difference is that the graft never does "take off".
     The scion will stay in this condition for months and months (possibly forever, but I've never waited that long, although it felt like it). Scroll down for some pictures of what I'm talking about.
     You can see the discoloration on the Myriostigma pictured; it looks like a newly grafted scion, but it has actually been hanging out on that pereskiopsis for several months. On both grafts pictured, but especially the Asterias, you can see the swelling associated with a successful graft as well.
     Leaving the scions grafted for more that a few weeks with no signs of growth can be wasteful in a few ways. For one, the rootstock could easily be used for another (hopefully successful) scion. Second, if the unsuccessful graft is left for too long, when you finally do de-graft, the stalk will have become fibrous at its core, which can make future grafts difficult with small scions; young tender growing tips are best for small seedlings. On the bright side though, the old fibrous pereskiopsis can still produce new tips that you can root for grafting purposes.
Astrophytum Myriostigma

Astrophytum Asterias 'Super Kabuto'

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