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Approach graft

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Hi all. My daughter was sick yesterday so I stayed home with her. She went back to sleep and I got bored. Walked onto the deck out back and spotted my victim. I have been nursing this little maple for about seven years accident. It was in a growing bed in Birmingham Al., before we moved and was pummeled by a large tree limb. Hence the accident. Two years ago I air-layered and removed the top to shorten it. I have been looking at it and decided that the large root needed to be removed. I think I am a misplaced depression era baby...just cant seem to throw anything away if I can use it somewhere else. Since there are no branches on this root, I decided to use a low branch on the tree and do an approach graft. Here are some pics showing the progress. The first four pics show the root's location on the tree. It has some nice movement and aged character. There are also more appropriate sized roots under this one that fit the trees overall design a little better.

The next series shows how I marked the location for the proposed graft. Thats crayon if you really want to know. The next pic shows where I intend to remove the root from the tree.  Then the site for the approach on the root. And the branch that will provide the shoot for the graft.

In this series you can see the branch pulled down to relieve the tension on the graft. Next is the graft shoot with the cambium scrapped away. Then the graft being positioned onto the site. I used a temporary wire to assist me in positioning the shoot. Notice the two thin strips of wound sealant along the edges or the shoot. This stuff works great for keeping out bugs and keeping in sap. No need to let your tree loose any moisture at peak growing season. You will also notice that I removed all of the buds from the graft site back to the main branch junction. This is to encourage growth and sap flow beyond the graft site and a better chance for a successful graft union. And the last shot is the final product. Sorry that I couldn't get some mid-wrap shots...only two hands. This is just some kind of grafting tape I think (found it in the garage). I held the shoot in place and wrapped from the area furthest from the tree first up toward the tree and then back to the beginning. All the while guiding the shoot into the notched area that I cut for it. I also guided the sealant along each side of the shoot so that it will be well sealed all along the grafted area.

Sorry gang in all the excitement I forgot to say that this is a Japanese Green Maple. Grown from seed by me. About seventeen years old and I am just now beginning to appreciate it. Here are a few more pics to show the branch with relation to the graft site. A better shot of the graft site, I did not want a strait  graft on this root with it's natural curve so I curved the graft as well. Then the graft as it rests against the tree base. I will leave it in this position for about two months to let the graft heal. Then I will slowly lower the shoot towards the soil. I had envisioned this little one being a Mame cascade. Maybe even draped over a nice little rock. We will just have to wait until next winter when it's removed and evaluate it then. I will keep you posted on the progress thru the growing seasons. Hope you enjoyed my boredom moment, Don.

Great write-up!  Can we see a picture of the full tree?  What are your plans with the hollow?


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