QUERCUS PUBESCENS NO.7 thread grafting

Let me tell you few words about this oak tree. You can find several post about it here on the blog. Tree was collected during summer 2011 by myself, as most of my trees. 

June 2016

It is quite some time since then, but I'm failing to build significant structure of the crown. Problem is I never had back budding on thicker trunk low enough to work with. I wanted to have upward moving sub trunks creating illusion of wide old oak. But branches were missing.  Usually I do not have such problems, when I collect I chop trunks on site when collecting, which tend to result in buds all over trunks as low as base of the tree. No with this gentleman. One of the reason could be that tree was chopped too high, you can see on old picture it must have been more than 1,2 m above ground. I don't remember what I thought doing this. Most probably I did not wanted to destroy fantastic bark on lower part of it, and secondly it was probably easier to move it down from forest to car. And I wanted to have some branch with actual buds and leaves on it and first one was so high as you can see. So when I re-chopped it back home after some time, effect was not the same and I created a lot of troubles for myself.

2011, after collecting from wild

During last season I was well aware I need to solve it somehow, otherwise tree will be piece of junk forever. So I planned to make thread graft on trunk and I prepared two longer lower branches for that purpose. It was right time to move forward with job in spring. I was waiting until buds will start to swell as sign that tree survived harsh winter. When they woken up I was almost ready. But, unfortunately I was so busy with other work I had basically no time for doing that. I was watching swelling buds daily during my morning watering session and I was praying they stay closed for one more day. Finally, in late April I had some time to perform the task. As you can see from rubbish quality pictures I was in hurry (as always when I do something on my trees and my three kids demand my full attention). So, in between pushing swing with daughter I was drilling 6 mm hole into trunk. I bought 200 mm long wood drill bit for that purpose (I did not find slimmer one, but I proved I was just about right diameter).

Only terminal buds were left and rest was removed not to create obstacles when pulling through tight hole. Terminal buds were packed into teflon tape to protect them. Than strong string was attached to the end of the branch (I had catfish fishing string I used to buy for completely different purpose ages ago).

Branche was pulled through drilled hole. I was with some problems but it worked. Than, tape was removed, and branch was secured by wedge cut from branch and provide force pushing my branche against cambium. Entering and exiting hole was sealed with cut paste.

Now branch was exiting tree in not best angle, but I was not able to achieve sharper angle. It obviously could be edited slightly in the future when branche will be securely grown into the trunk, then I will wire into better upward position.

And I waited how it will react. And it actually leafed out, but did not grow like crazy, like I wanted. It was barely surviving. If you see it is going down and than turning up to go through hole you see that sap flow must be quite problematic in this case.

June 2017

I was thinking how I can help those two buds gain more energy, and one of the solution was I kept tree tilted simply by putting large rock under the pot on side of the exit hole. Did not help.

Then I pruned back the top in June. Finally it was signal for bude to open. It is too early to open champagne. I need massive amount of foliage to thicken the branch, so cambiums will merge. But there is new hope.

Fresh growth in second flush this year on top of the tree ass well

BTW, when researching for good tutorial how to do it I found good source on Bonsai Nut forum, I found marky scott thread on grafting and it provide me a lot of valuable information. Check it out if you need any info on this topic.

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