Managing graft junctions

I recently read some posts regarding grafted trees.

I think grafted Bonsai is an interesting topic that warrants further discussion.

My general belief and understanding is that most serious bonsai growers will avoid grafted trees at almost any cost.

When grafted trees are used the trees usually grafted with intention of becoming a Bonsai With the Bonsai grower grafting into the root junction.

Many people end up with grafted trees, because they are a source of unusual and interesting material.

The question in my opinion is if we want to commit and continue to develop a grafted tree how should it be approached and should we be more selective when choosing material to acquire.

I had a few grafted conifers that had swollen graft junctions with the rootstock being slightly more aggressive than the scion top.

I began working on the graft junctions in a few different ways.

The first thing is the nibble away at any excess wood and allowing some scar tissue to form. The second was to try to control the mismatch of vigor in the roots stock by tightly, wrapping copper wire around the lowest part of the tree up through the graft junction. my third approach has been to do bark grafting.

Bark can be removed at the cambial layer and grafted.

Bark tissue can be harvested from sacrifice branches, or from another tree.

It will inevitably leave scar junction at the periphery of the bark graft, and I would never consider a circumferential trunk bark graft.

Well, I’ve had some success with grafting bark. It tends to create thickness which may be desirable, but is in the end, a fairly poor representation of what we’re hoping to achieve it.

I do believe that grafting bark has its place and may be appropriate for certain won’t or covering certain defects. A bark graft will generally only survive on cambial tissue.

I remember reading a blog post by Jonas Dupuich telling new Bonsai enthusiast to take pictures.

It’s interesting. Looking back now. Understanding what he meant and how right he was.

I was able to take some pictures to demonstrate the technique of wrapping wire around the lower part of a grafted tree.

I’m interested if anyone else has done actual work to improve graft junctions.

The first picture shows a Japanese black cork bark pine that was grafted one year ago. there is some swelling at the graft junction, and the rootstock is starting to become dominant and slightly thicker than the trunk above the junction. The next picture shows exes bark and wood trimmed.

I wrap copper wire around the part of the trunk I want to control the growth of and leave it on until, I have a better match.

By leaving the wire wrapped around both the rootstock and scion part of the trunk some callous formation is created that seems to even out the appearance of the bark.

The last picture is of a grafted spruce. A Picea Omorika ‘aurea’.

I required the tree as a three-year-old graft from conifer kingdom. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures other than what the tree looks like now.

I wrapped the lower part of the trunk over the graft union and left a wire in place for two years.

This was done two years ago. The tree is now approximately five or six years old, and I’m still growing it out.

I believe we can improve graft junctions, especially on conifer.

Of course, the emphasis should always be un graft technique but once we obtain trees that we or others have grafted, there is still work that can be done to improve our trees.

I’m curious if anyone has had experience or thoughts about this way of managing trunk mismatch on grafted trees.

Mats Hagström

As a rule I avoid grafted trees for new acquisitions. We have a few though with better or worse transition of thickness. Mostly they require no special attention as they have been selected with the quality of the graft in mind. I can imagine an ground / air layer in the future wil, be applied to those deciduous that have a bulge.

Bark grafting sounds challenging to pull off successfully.

Remember the JWP grafted on JBP is very common and can be made into a good bonsai but will they be the best trees?

When starting a new tree I try to go for the highest chance of success with the available funds that means I avoid things that can be a problem later. As I struggle more and more to find good affordable nursery stock this year’s additions have been collected trees.