Grafting Japanese Maples

June 8, 2009

There are thousands of different culitivars of Japanese Maples, each with unique characteristics. Almost all of these cultivars are grafted onto seedling Japanese maples ( Acer palmatum). Sometimes people will proudly report of the seedlings that they have harvested underneath a particular tree and often these seedlings will perform well. However, it would be a mistake to call it the same cultivar as the parent because of the recombination of genes in the seed, the seedling is a different plant. That is why vegatative propagation( grafting or cuttting) is required. Most maples will not root easily and the rooted cuttings often are weak. I’ve been grafting Japanese Maples for 5 years now. Finally, I feel I have a technique that works. This years crop are healthy and vigorous and most are already growing in 2 gal pots about 2 ft tall! I have learned to start off with a vigourous rootstock. I pot up young maples in early spring into ‘tree bands’  .. a square pot  designed for growing young trees. By fall, the maple seedlings are 4-5 ft tall. After housing them in a greenhouse where I can restrict water to them, I will let them become quite dry, but not competely so. Toward the end of January I start grafting in my heated greenhouse. The graft is a side veneer graft, using a Tina -685 knift. I keep it sharp. I also keep the new grafts cool and continue to keep them dry until I see the buds swell. I resume watering and put them up on the benches. They get potted up into 1 gal pots by mid April and as long as roots are actively growing, I shift them up into larger pots. They are growing under shade right now. In the past, I used to buy liners(fresh grafts) from growers.  After a west coast supplier stopped selling to me for  a bizarre raeason, which I won’t go into, I needed to figure out how to produce my own young trees.  An advantage of growing my own liners is that I can graft one or two of many different types rather than having to meet the volume requirement of some of the larger growers ( 25 of one type).

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One Response to “Grafting Japanese Maples”

  1. sue said

    Hi John
    Looks like I found you

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