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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
*. UNIVERSITY OF
) : FLORIDA
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Central Florida Research and Education Center, Leesburg
BENCH GRAFTING BUNCH GRAPE IN FLORIDA
5336 University Avenue
Leesburg FL 34748-8203
Tel. (904) 360-6686
Fax (904) 360-6691
J. W. Harris, J. A. Mortensen, and D. L. Hopkins
Bench grafting has proven to be an effective way of grafting Florida bunch grapes. In the
past, wax or builders sand was used to protect the graft union from drying out. Oasis
blocks were tested and found to be very effective in preventing drying of the graft union.
The Oasis block also resulted in excellent callusing around the graft union and in reduced
scion rooting, which can be a problem with sand. Super absorbency feminine napkins,
disposable baby diaper, and Terra Sorb with cheesecloth to hold it in place also have been
used to prevent drying.
Step by step instructions follow:
1. Make cuttings when vines are dormant(last week in December through first two weeks in
January, if possible).
a. Rootstock Cuttings: Make two- bud cuttings. Leave as much space as possible above
the top bud. Make a smooth cut just under the bottom bud.
Saveon Sce s p
Leave more space at top for grafting I ,/ .
AUG 11 1994
University of Florida
Square off at bottom
b. Scion Cuttings: Make two- bud cuttings. Leave as much as possible below bottom bud. A
shorter space can be left above top bud.
Leave more space at bottom for grafting
CFREC Leesburg Research Report LBG 94-1
Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution
2. Place cuttings in callus pit immediately to keep from drying out and for temporary,
storage. Callus pits are made by digging a hole from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 ft deep depending
on quantity of cuttings. Try to stay away from shaded areas Fill in the bottom of the
hole with a layer of white or yellowish brown builders sand. Lay next layer of cuttings
on this sand and cover over with more sand. This sandwiching of cuttings between sand
layers continues until the hole is full. Dig separate holes for different cultivars te
keep cuttings from getting mixed up with one another.
3. Keep callus pits moist for duration of cutting storage and callusing.
4. After collecting all scions and rootstocks, remove just enough cuttings of both from
the callus pits to graft within a half day to prevent drying of plant tissue.
Preferably this could be done in January.
5. Wash off scions and rootstocks to prevent any foreign particles from interfering with
the graft union.
6. a. Cut a thin layer, about 1/8 inch off the top of the rootstock. Use pruning shears for
this job to expose fresh green layer.
~.. Cut off thin slice
of rootstock here
b. After this is done use pruning shears to make a split from the top of the rootstock
down through the center of the cutting(about 3/4 inch long).
Split rootstock here
7. Using grafting tool or pocket knife, cut the scion just below bottom bud into a wedge
Finished scion with wedge cut
8. Place scions in bucket of water to prevent drying out.
9. Slip scion into rootstock aligning one side of scion with one side of rootstock so that
they are flush, enabling cambium layers to match.
Step 9 Finished
10. Wrap plastic budding or tying tape tightly around graft union. Do not cover scion or
<-- Wrap tape here
11. Graft is finished. Submerge entire unit(scion and rootstock) in bucket of water. Return
to callus pit when bucket gets full, or job is done. See step 2 for instructions.
12. Remove grafts from callus pits when roots begin to develop(usually mid March to April 1
in Central Florida).
13. Debud rootstock at this point with a sharp knife, even if buds have developed growth.
Do not remove buds from scion.
?<- Save scion buds
<- Do not remove tape
S move rootstock buds
14. If oasis blocks are used for graft union protection, slice them into two pieces.
Sandwich the two pieces of oasis blocks together to cover the graft union. Fasten with
If feminine napkins or diapers are used, cut them up into smaller pieces. These can be
fastened around the graft union with tape or string.
If Terra Sorb is used, cut cheesecloth into 3 inch strips by 4 inch strips spreading 1
teaspoon of Terra Sorb out on the cheesecloth. Fold the cheesecloth over the Terra
Sorb. This is then wrapped around the graft union and tied firmly with string.
Regardless of what material is used, it should be placed in a bucket of water after
placing around graft union to allow absorption, thus keeping graft union moist.
V < material over
15. Plant bench grafts singly into one-gallon container with growing medium of your choice,
making sure graft union is entirely above soil level in pot.
16. Oasis blocks should be watered daily, while other materials may not need water that
often. Monitor water needs daily and remember to keep material around graft union
moist. Don't overdo it! You can't overwater the graft union but you can overwater
pots to the point of saturation and therefore not allow the roots to develop, resulting
in lower percentage of takes.
17. Remove material around graft union once plants reach a length of 15" or more(June 1 in
18. Do not remove tape around graft union until plants are planted in vineyard. Remove with
sharp knife or carpet knife(June 1 to December or after). However, if girdling from
tape is noticed, remove tape immediately even before planting.