Two years ago I grafted a prostrata juniper with itoigawa foliage (see “Side-veneer graft aftercare” for details). Since then, I’ve been incrementally reducing the original foliage.
Here’s a photo of the tree eight months after making the graft.
I repotted the tree the following spring. A few months later, I removed the branches that grew above the scion to ensure it received good sunlight.
After removing the branches above the scion
I removed another branch last fall. This left three healthy branches on the tree.
After further cutback – September, 2019
I’d originally planned to remove another branch or two over winter, but I used the tree for a grafting class instead.
The tree has grown quickly this spring but I postponed checking the graft union until this week. The grafting tape had cut in significantly!
Grafting tape cutting into the bark
I’d used tape that lacked flexibility, so as the branch swelled, the union stayed the same size. Here’s a close-up of the resulting scar.
Scar from grafting tape
If I’d used flexible tape, there would be much less of a scar and possibly no scar at all. I’d used the stronger tape as I like how snugly it holds scions in place. I plan to use more flexible tape going forward.
I’d also neglected to continue reducing the original foliage this spring. I like reducing the original foliage incrementally so I can help the tree make the transition to the new foliage as smoothly as possible.
Here’s the tree before and after reducing the original foliage.
After reducing the original foliage
I plan to remove the two larger branches later this year and remove the last original branch next year once the new foliage has increased in volume.
Grafted juniper – 12″ tall
I’m looking forward to removing the upper branches as that will be a good time to start working on the deadwood. I can also start wiring the new foliage which will give the tree a start toward its new shape.
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