Approach grafting on Scots Pine


Inspired by Tony Tickles most recent video on Youtube, I have decided to try out approach grafting on one of my Scots Pines.

What do you guys think about timing? I’m thinking that I want to have the graft in place when the tree puts on vascular tissue in the early fall. Om located in Sweden and where I am we have approximately 2-3 weeks before this years flush is fully hardened.

Please share any experience you have with approach grafting on single flush short needle pine.


Hi @Reuter
Good luck. I tried approach grafting Scots Pine whips onto a Japanese Black Pine, twice. 5 whips each time to create a nebary above a trunk graft. 10 fails. On the plus side, the area I cut has swollen to look like a nebary. This was done in the spring.

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I did a couple a few years ago to bring the foliage in closer to the trunk. They took a couple of years to grow well enough to be separated and another year or two before I felt they were solid enough to style. I think your proposed timing sounds good.

I tried a couple of root grafts as well on the same tree to improve the nebari and they were not successful. Finally, I believe Ryan has stated that he finds that scion grafts are much more successful on pines than approach grafts.


Yes, In Pines class we only practice scion grafts.

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There’s another way to graft them that I have seen in a Japanese article on growing Zuisho from cuttings (also in Bonsai Today issue 84, page 42 onwards). It looks very similar to a scion graft, but keeps being fed like an approach graft. I also allows you to graft a ramified shoot, unlike the scion graft.

A thin branch is folded back on itself, a suitable size hole drilled in the trunk, the cambium is exposed on the fold, the fold is inserted in the hole and is then secured with bamboo before sealing with cut paste. The fusing happens quickly, you can cut off the branch in the second fall and wire the new branch in the third spring.

I haven’t tried it yet.

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Thanks for all the answers guys!

I decided to try out the approach graft. I will get back to you in 2-3 years if the graft i successful :wink:

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I saw Tony’s video and enquired in the comment section about the timing as based on Mirai knowledge you’d want to do the approach graft when sap flow is at the lowest so there is no risk that sap gets in between the two cambium layers that you want to fuse. I followed the same logic as yours and in my question to Tony I asked if regarding timing it was indeed a matter doing it just prior to fall vascular growth taking advantage of low sap movement during summer dormancy. Surprisingly, Tony replied to me saying that on the contrary he does it when sap flow is at its strongest. I don’t know if there is a nuance regarding species pro environment but Tony iz a professional with many years of experience under his belt and his opinions cannot be dismissed without deep thought.

We certainly need sap flow around to bring about the resources necessary for the graft to take.

Doing it at the cusp of start of spring growth fulfills this need.

I can only hypothesize why it works for Tony in summer in the north of the UK. Looking at the image below (taken from here), we see that in Bury, they have on average at this time of the year cold nights and cool to comfortable temperatures during the day. Even more, until the end of june they have very cold nights. Tony’s summer temperatures, particularly the night/day variation seems similar to what a normal spring would be in the PNW.

It definitely is not similar to my summers here in Montreal where we’re in the comfortable range at night and warm range all day.

I think this is something to consider. I imagine in Sweden you’re likely to have similar weather to that of the north of the UK so in your case it may work.

Wow, thanks alot for your answer Rafi! It is clear that you have put in the ground work, I was lazy and started my research at the Mirai forum :grin:

I think the temperatures seems somewhat similiar to where I’m at.

I did proceed to make the graft, we’ll have to see how it goes. Please tell me if you try it out as well so we can compare our results. Maybe we should ask the all mighty Ryan for some input on the subject :sunglasses:

Thanks again Rafi, really appreciate your efforts :+1:

I will try perhaps 5 times on something less valuable and let you know. Of course there’s a confounding variable here which is my lack of experience in grafting to meddle with the results. I think you should ask Ryan. :slight_smile: