Extracts from the April, 1981 newsletter of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the RFCI, taken from a programme on budding and grafting given by Major Harold N. ('Nick') Acrivos.

Grafting tools should be disinfected before use in order to prevent transmission of disease from one tree to another. Alcohol may be used when grafting avocado, loquat, etc. But, alcohol will not prevent viral infections. When grafting citrus, the main danger is transmitting viruses, so Nick recommends either a solution of formaldehyde and lye or a 10% solution of chlorox. Either treatment is highly corrosive so that the tools should be cleaned in water immediately after use.

Avocados should be veneer grafted while they are dormant. Tie a plastic (clear) bag, saran or whatever, around the graft to maintain a high humidity. Otherwise the scionwood might dry out and die. Remove the bag in about 3 weeks. You may expect a 95% success rate on avocado.

Use a clear plastic bag on all evergreen tree grafts. Do NOT use bags on deciduous trees: as they have a tendency to go mouldy. Use grafting compound or wax instead, to seal the union from the air.

Carambola. Do not remove leaves from budwood or scion. Veneer graft with a long splice or veneer with at least three (3) buds complete with leaves. Tie and bag. Remove in 2 to 3 weeks. Expect 85% takes.

Mamey Sapote. This plant is very difficult to graft. Takes may be 15% or less (without Farmer's Almanac). It is worth while to try because good fruit sell at $3.50 or more each. (In 1978 I saw vendors asking $5.00 for just the seeds alone in the open-air market.-Editor). Grafted plants sell for $65 to $250 in Miami. Since it is rather tender to cold, this tree may best be grown in a pot or tub and moved to a protected location during cold periods. Girdle the budwood two weeks before working. Use a cleft graft, leaving the leaves on the scion. However, cut each leaf back by one half. Tie and seal with wax or compound. Bag or use mist to prevent drying.

Chinese Jujube. Veneer graft or root cuttings under mist. This tree suckers prolifically from the roots.

Macadamia can be air layered or veneer grafted. Keep the leaves on the budwood, but cut in half if desired. Bag. (Laymond Hardy's comments in same issue: Although air layering is recommended, they will root from tip cuttings in a mist bed if taken just before an active flush. This information was given to Mr Hardy by a Mr Endt of New Zealand. Air layers may root in two weeks, but they take 3 to 4 years to become established in the ground. Thus it is much more desirable to use grafted trees. First plant seedlings in pots and rush them (force growth). Veneer graft when one year old. Leave the upper node of leaves on the scion. If too long, each leaf may be cut back halfway. Cover the graft with a plastic bag. Wet and squeeze dry a small wad (cotton, sphagnum or whatever) and put inside plastic bag to add humidity. Keep the plant out of the sun, but in good light. The purpose of the leaves on the scion is to cause the phloem to callus to the plant. The graft should have taken in 6 weeks. 100% takes are possible with this method.

Persimmon. Cleft graft in February and March before they break dormancy.

Dovyalis. Use cuttings or air layers.

Major Harold N. ('Nick') Acrivos

DATE: July 1981

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