Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Grafting. OMG!

One of our activities in the citriculture class last week was grafting.  My heart sank.

Grafting Knife.  Scary.

I don't like grafting.  I don't like the fiddly tools.  I can't see well enough to make a clean cut.  I get nervous in a room full of people with sharp knives and paraffin tape.  However, sometimes I can manage to rise to the occasion.

Rootstock.  Skinny.
My mission:  graft Everhard Navel Orange budwood to Poncirus trifoliata (Flying Dragon) rootstock.  We used a T-Budding technique, that involved both a vertical and a horizontal cut in the rootstock.  (Egads!)  Once those cuts were complete, we slid a slice of budwood up underneath the flaps of rootstock bark.  It's harder than it sounds.

Vertical Cut.  Gina's Steady Hands.
The rootstock was tiny and so were the buds.  I have no hope that it will work, but the graft is still green, not black, so I'm not giving up.  We're supposed to leave the graft alone for about 3 weeks.  If it works, the budwood should emerge right through the Buddy Tape.  We'll see about that!

Horizontal Cut.  Almost done!

If you make the vertical and horizontal cuts correctly, you'll form an upside-down T.  The wings of bark will curl up a little tiny bit, offering a spot to slide the budwood in, up underneath the loose or "slipping" bark.  Also, easier said than done.

Wrapping with Buddy Tape.  Needs 3 hands.
The Buddy Tape is waterproof, yet permeable.  Biodegradable yet strong enough to protect the wounded rootstock.  It can also be stretched up to 8 times its original length.  Sounds like witchcraft, doesn't it?

Complete.  At last!
And here it is, the completed little graft.  It will truly be a miracle if this works.  I'll let you know.


  1. Since I have a checkered history with knives, I believe I'll pass on learning to graft! I'll send positive energy your graft's way ... may it grow to be a strong and healthy tree!

  2. That is spectacular. Now, you can create all sorts of mutant plants. You'll be like Dr. Frankenstein. Now, I want to learn to do that.

  3. Thanks Cindy and Turling! I think if this poor navel lives, it WILL be a mutant! Maybe Santa will leave a grafting knife in my stocking...

  4. Wow! This something I have never done. I look forward to seeing how it turns out. I suspect it will do just fine!

  5. With buddy tape and a third hand, I am sure it will take. But please Santa DON'T leave knives in stockings!!!