Approach graft question

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Approach graft question

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:04 am

I just put an approach graft on a very small dwarf pomegranate. Can anybody give me an idea how long to expect it to take?
Iris

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Re: Approach graft question

Post  bucknbonsai on Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:08 pm

my experience with dwarf pomegranate especially when required to be moved indoors in winter is that they do not grow at all and barely in the summer, I find it unlikely anything would happen in less than 2 years. Is it a root or a branch you added. if its a root you could just try standard grocery store pomegranate seedlings as they would grow/heal quicker.

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Re: Approach graft question

Post  Leo Schordje on Sat Dec 19, 2015 5:41 pm

I'm not trying to be a "smart ass", the answer is it will take as long as it takes. There are so many variables in culture between different growers and locations that your conditions will not be exactly like anyone else's conditions. Your tree's individual health is what counts, and no photo or verbal description will be enough to "know with certainty" how long it takes. So you let it grow, and observe. What to look for? When the scion, beyond the graft point is larger in diameter than the part of the scion before the graft is a very good indicator that fusion has begun. You want to see good growth on the grafted branch before separating. If you cut the scion's original root off before the fusion is adequate, the graft will fail. If you let the scion stay on its roots longer than necessary, nothing bad happens. So to cut too soon is bad, to leave it on too long is no problem, no problem at all. So just give it time. In an idealized growing situation fusion could be as little as one summer growing season, 3 or 4 months. In less than ideal set ups, like those of us mere mortals, it can take as long as 3 years. Though usually if it hasn't fused in 2 years the likelihood of fusion happening at all decreases. Look for a difference in diameter between the 2 sides of the scion. That will be the best indicator of fusion. Let the tree tell you when it is time. Remember, leaving it on longer has no down side.


bucknbonsai wrote:my experience with dwarf pomegranate especially when required to be moved indoors in winter is that they do not grow at all and barely in the summer, I find it unlikely anything would happen in less than 2 years.   Is it a root or a branch you added.  if its a root you could just try standard grocery store pomegranate seedlings as they would grow/heal quicker.

Your experience is not normal, but is similar to mine until I changed the way I grow dwarf pomegranates. I have had one for 40 years, so I had a little time to learn. Pomegranates are not tropical trees. They are temperate trees from a Mediterranean habitat. The really will grow better if you give them a cold winter dormancy. Now it is true, they can not survive extreme cold. Temperatures below + 20 F can kill branches, and roots may die if frozen to similar temperatures. But they do best when allowed to grow outdoors until they have had enough frosts to cause them to drop all their leaves. Myself, I would let my dwarf get several, maybe a weeks worth of 29 F frosts. Then give them about 3 months of cool storage, between 32 and 40 F. They will stay dormant. Then when it is warm enough to be past your last average frost date, put them back outside, the spring flush of growth will be very vigorous. When I took mine indoors without a dormancy, growth the following summer was weak on lack luster. When given a cold dormant rest growth in spring and summer will be robust and vigorous. I'm in Chicago area and for trees that can't take our very cold winters, they all go in an unheated well house that hovers between 29 F and 40 F. Good news, even though "in the wild" the natural dormancy is only 8 to 12 weeks, the pomegranates are quite happy with a 5 month dormancy in the well house. Sometimes the well house gets warm a little earlier than safe to put outside. Just keep them cold until time to go outside and prune off all the weak spindly growth that started in the dark storage area. In a week or so a strong flush of spring growth will begin once outside.

I have an elaborate light garden for my orchids. It delivers light pretty much equivalent to 25% to 50% of full sun. For many true tropicals, this is more than enough to get nice tight compact growth over the winter. But for the sun loving pomegranate, it is not enough. Any winter growth in the light garden was always weak and spindly, with elongated internodes. It didn't matter how much I tried to get them in the brightest spot possible, it was never bright enough. Always ended up pruning off winter growth. So if you do take them out of your cold storage set up before it is safe to put them outside, you will end up having to cut off the winter growth.

So in summary. pomegranates are not tropical plants. They need a cold leafless dormancy, and are capable of tolerating a dormancy that is the duration of a Chicago winter, which means in your area, with it's milder than Chicago winters, you should have no problem treating your pomegranates this way. Try it, you will be surprised at how vigorous your dwarf pomegranate really is. A great tree for bonsai.


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Approach Graft

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Dec 30, 2015 1:46 am

You're very helpful. I found out the hard way that pomegranates need a winter rest. I've been treating it as a subtropical. I leave it out in the fall until it is near freezing, then put it in the unheated sun porch until November. Then it goes under lights. I will follow your advice next year and leave it outside longer. I would not be surprised if the graft takes two years. The wire scars that came with it are not going anywhere so far.
I am not using a separate plant. I am using a branch from elsewhere on the tree. The trunk is too small for a thread graft. Despite being small and puny, it blooms very well, but hasn't set fruit.
Iris

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