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You are probably wondering if you can graft pecan to oak. We have researched all about this topic for you. Here we will talk about grafting, and you will learn about how to graft pecan to oak.
The answer to whether or not you can graft pecan to oak is yes, you can. Many gardeners do this so they can enjoy more pecans in their backyard without having to remove the oak. The most common way to graft a pecan to oak is the four-flap graft method. Here’s a quick list of the steps to take:
- Choose a location to graft
- Cut the branch straight across
- Wrap a rubber band around the cut-off stock
- Make four vertical incisions
- Choose a graft stick
- Attach the graft stick
- Wrap the cut area of the stock with budding tape
- Loosely cover the taped area with aluminum foil
- Cover the foil wrap with a freezer bag
- Allow the graft to heal before planting it
Keep reading to learn more about grafting pecan to oak. You will learn what it means to graft a pecan tree, which methods to use when grafting, what rootstock is best for grafting pecan, why you graft pecan trees, when the best time to graft a pecan tree is, and whether or not you can graft pecan to walnut.
What does it mean to graft a pecan tree?
Grafting, also known as selective breeding, is helpful when you want to produce an ideal fruit or nut tree. This process gives a tree new qualities which make it more ideal for growing in a specific environment. What is meant by grafting a pecan tree is to take a branch from a pecan tree and combine it with a rootstock. This is done for optimal growth and seeding.
Grafting Pecan To Oak Using The Four-Flap Method
The most common method for grafting pecan is referred to as the four-flap graft. This type of graft is used amongst both amateurs and professionals.
Choose Graft Location
First, choose where on the branch or trunk you want to graft from, approximately half of an inch to an inch in diameter. If livestock is likely to be around it, the height where you graft should be several feet from the ground; ideally, seven or eight feet high. Be sure to trim back any branches protruding from the trunk’s side to support the plant while the graft is healing.
Cut Branch & Wrap with a Rubber Band
Next, cut the branch straight across with a pair of sharp pruning shears. After you cut the branch, wrap a rubber band around the stock where you cut it off and then roll it down about three inches.
Make 4 Vertical Incisions
Once you have rolled a rubber band down, make four straight vertical incisions through the bark. These incisions should be about one and a half inches long and spaced equally around the stock. For less experienced grafters, you may want to mark a cross on the cut surface of the stock so that you can see precisely where the vertical incisions need to be made. You should completely penetrate the wood underneath when making the incisions.
After making the incisions, separate the bark flaps from the wood to ensure the bark is slipping. You will need to wrap a rubber band onto the bark flaps in order to hold them against the stock. Doing so will prevent the otherwise exposed wood from drying out during the time that the scion is prepared.
Choose a Graft Stick
Next, you need to pick out a graft stick that is smooth and straight. It needs to be approximately six inches long and with a similar diameter to the stock that you have already gotten ready. This should have around two to three buds on its upper half. Be sure you cut about half of an inch of the base off to check for healthy green tissue. You do not want the wood to be brown or shriveled.
Cut the graft stick on four sides approximately one and a half inches above the basal end and slice toward it. The cuts should yield a display of the four sides, creating a square-shaped end. You then pull the bark flaps down and use your sharp pruning shears to cut the top one and a half inches of exposed stock off without damaging the four flaps of bark.
Attach & Tape the Graft Stick
You are now going to attach this graft stick, which has become a prepared scion. Place the scion upright on the stock, then pull the bark flaps up against the scion and roll the rubber band up around the four flaps to keep them and the scion securely together. The slivers of bark on the scion should be in the openings between flaps of the stock. If it is not lined up properly, turn the scion until it is.
After getting the scion positioned, proceed to wrap the cut area of the stock and lower part of the prepared scion with budding tape or floral tape. Keep the bark flaps in place when you are wrapping them. Wrap from the bottom, and overlap each piece to make sure all of the cut surfaces are covered.
Carefully Wrap Graft with Foil & Plastic Bag
Next, you will loosely cover the taped area with aluminum foil. You want to crimp the foil slightly to compress it and help to keep it in place. Aluminum foil reflects sunlight which, in turn, prevents the graft union from becoming too hot.
After wrapping it with foil, cut the corner off a freezer bag and slip it down over the graft carefully. Be sure not to break off the scion buds during this process. Tie off the cut corner of the bag to the scion at the top of the wrapped foil. Do this below the lowest bud on the scion. Tie the lower part of the bag tightly around the stock at the bottom edge of the foil wrap; no exposed wood should be covered by the bag. Use budding tape, rubber bands, or another stretch material to do the tying part.
Allow Graft to Heal
Finally, the last step of the four-slap grafting method is to allow the graft to heal completely before planting it. The buds on the scion tend to start growing around three to six weeks after this process takes place. The wrapping materials need to stay in place for four to six additional weeks after the scion buds start growing. After this time frame passes, you can remove the bag and foil. New buds should be developing along with the stock at this point.
The main benefit of this method is that this graft union tends to heal more rapidly than many of the other forms of grafting. You will be able to tell the difference between the bark of the stock and the scion. After about two to three years, you should remove the branches along the stock completely. The scion also needs to be trimmed. You only want to leave one strong shoot to develop into the new tree.
Additional Methods for Grafting Pecan to Oak
The Whip and Tongue Technique
Whip and tongue grafting is when cuts through the rootstock and scion correspond and are joined at both ends then bound together. Interlocking the tongues makes it more structurally sound. The layers will heal and fuse together.
Cleft grafting allows the rootstock and scion to be different sizes. This method of grafting can be done during the late winter. Cleft grafting is great for beginners.
What Rootstock is Used for Grafting Pecans?
The rootstock is the part of a grafted plant which is known as the base and root. A scion is the flowering or fruiting portion of a plant. When you graft a tree using the right rootstock you can produce a plant with superior qualities. Depending on the type of plant or tree you are grafting, a certain rootstock is necessary for optimal results.
The rootstock used for grafting pecans is hickory. Hickory and pecan are related, meaning they work together well biologically. Pecan is of the Carya species, which is a part of the hickory genus. Pecan trees are not as hard as other types of hickory, yet they withstand more heat. In turn, this means pecans that are grafted using hickory can fair well in a hotter climate.
Pecan trees also grow more rapidly than most hickory trees; it is ideal to use trees that grow quickly as rootstock. Because pecan grows faster than hickory, it is actually better to use pecan as rootstock for hickory rather than vice versa. Unfortunately, this means the tree will not have the life expectancy that it would have otherwise or with a faster-growing option as the rootstock.
Why do you graft pecan trees?
You would want to graft a pecan tree to produce the type and quality of nut you are attempting to achieve. Grafting is performed by using the branch of one tree and the root of another to yield the ideal result that you are looking for. Pecans grown from their seeds do not always produce the nuts you are hoping for, so grafting helps increase their production.
What is the best time to graft a pecan tree?
Spring is usually the best time of year to graft. This depends on where you are located, though. When the bark slips freely, you should graft. The middle of April to the middle of May is the best time to graft a pecan tree. You want to do this at the beginning of the growing season.
Can you graft pecan to walnut?
Yes, you can graft pecan to walnut. Pecans do not yield seeds that are true to type, so the only way to produce seeds the way you want them to grow and produce is through grafting. You will want to choose the flat side of the tree to make the graft. A bark graft is best when grafting pecan to walnut. Buds will start to break three to four weeks after the grafting takes place.
You can graft pecan to oak. Grafting causes whatever you are grafting to withstand harsher weather conditions. Grafting also makes it so you can grow and produce the ideal tree or plant.
Before you go, if you would like to learn more about grafting, check out the following links: