Out with the old.. grafting in the new

On the property there are some old grape vines, like perhaps older than me:

I’m no expert but I believe some of these ancient vines are upwards of 30+ years old.  They are scattered about the property and their varieties are unknown. We think most of them are wine grapes and a few could be some old lost table variety but they are packed full of seeds and never very sweet.

Up until now these half dozen vines have been mostly neglected and their fruits used as supplemental poultry food. They do actually bare quite well and the chickens will often escape from the heat below their leaves and pick off grapes occasionally. It’s entertaining near the end of the season to see a chicken jump 3 feet in the air to pick off the last remaining grapes.

In the last 3 years we have planted red and white seedless table grapes, Olallieberry, Raspberry, Blackberry and Boysenberry in and all around these antique giants. They do add quite a bit of character to the area so we have decided to integrate them into the design by grafting on known existing varieties from our newer table grape varieties.

Here is the source I used for the scion cuttings (1st year growth from red and white table grapes):

I staggered this project over 2 weeks starting right when the vines are going dormant, you can see the first round of cuttings still had some sap flowing. I have later found out that this whole process should probably be done in the spring but oh well.

I heavily trimmed back the vines and made sure to leave plenty of 1st year growth to graft on to:

Now for the actual grafting part. I’m using a fruit tree grafting tool with the omega cutter blade attachment. You can find this tool on Amazon.

Grafting with this tool is a snap. Just load up your scion wood and squeeze:

Make the same cut on the vine and attach your scion wood. You can then coat with tree wound and wrap with tape.

I also grafted an entire vine using just green tape and no tree wound on the graft to see if I get any different results.

I made sure to trim all my scion wood short enough to only have two buds exposed which seems to allow the graft to hold on better.  Oh yeah, make sure to apply tree wound (or wax) to any exposed cuts to limit any infections.

In the spring I will make sure to inspect the vines and rub off any new growth that is below the graft as we only want new growth from the scion, not the original vine. I did not keep track of what scion cuttings I put where so we should have vines that bare both red and white table grapes from the same vine. Neat. I also made sure to graft at least a dozen cuttings per vine because I’m not sure of my success rate here.

Thats it!

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