I have a handful of apple trees that I whip and tongue grafted over the...

Asked April 20, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

I have a handful of apple trees that I whip and tongue grafted over the winter. They have been dormant in a cool, dark corner of my house, but a few are beginning to leaf out. When should I plant them outside in the bed where they will grow for a year or two before being transplanted to their lifelong location?

Cumberland County Maine trees and shrubs grafting fruit trees horticulture

1 Response

The answer to your question is now as long as your grafts have sufficient callusing. A healthy graft union will exhibit a thin line of whitish callus all along the exposed edge of the stock scion junction. After checking, you should tie the stock and scion back together, for several more weeks, before their final removal. If the callus is well formed your apple trees can be planted as soon as the frost in the ground has thawed (I am assuming you are there in Maine – we are there in OH). But if your soil is waterlogged, wait until the area drains and the soil doesn’t form clumps that stick to your shovel. Make sure they are well protected and out of the wind. See grafting info from Iowa State U: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2004/2-13-2004/graftapple.html; cornell: https://instruct1.cit.cornell.edu/courses/hort494/mg/methods.alpha/WTMeth.html, University of Pennsylvania extension: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/UJ255.pdf, University of Minnesota extension: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/grafting-and-budding-fruit-trees/ and apple tree info from Maine extension: http://umaine.edu/publications/2411e/ and North Dakota: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/hort/info/fruit/fruittreecul.htm