My First Graft

After practicing a “Wedge Graft” on some Pidgeon Pea twigs while watching Jayanti graft over 20 White Sapote fruit tree keiki (Hawai’ian for “seedling”), it was then my turn. I felt confident enough after lots of observation and hands-on practice with some twigs, to make two wedge grafts, which turned out great, although not so easy… It’s all about getting the right angle, it has to be perfect in order to fit together on the Rootstalk. I have lots of practice to do still. I wouldn’t necessarily call my first to cuts perfect, so we’ll see if the grafts heal and begin to sprout. Hopefully they’ll take and I’ll get to plant these two beautiful White Sapote trees and someday get to eat their amazing fruit!

Fake Scionwood from the twiglike branches of the Pigeon Pea. It’s best to practice making the graft cuts on a stick that’s similar in size and texture as the actual wood you will be grafting, since mistakes are very common in the beginning.

The tool we are using to graft is an Xacto Knife with very sharp razor blades, but special grafting knives also exist.

The Scionwood of a Denzler White Sapote collected in upcountry Maui.

After the Scionwood is connected with the Rootstalk, it is crucial to wrap the freshly cut pieces together with ribbon tape from a hardware store (we were using green plastic ribbon), this holds the two pieces of the graft together so that they can heal properly. Afterward the entire piece of Scionwood is wrapped in a clear protective layer of plastic parafilm tape, this is to hold in the moisture of the Scionwood, so that it won’t dry out and die while it’s healing.

And finally, a little homemade paper sheath is placed over the Scionwood to protect it from the sun for a few days while things settle. This was my very first graft! I am so excited to see if it takes! More grafting to come! Ahui hou!

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