Collecting and Storing Apple Tree Scions

What are Apple Tree Scions

Scions are first year growth stems on your fruit trees. They start growing in early Spring and are typically cut in the Fall. They will not have any stems extruding out from them, but will have multiple bud points for next year’s growth.

When to cut Scions

Scions are typicality cut in November, but if you have missed this you can also cut them in March. After removing your scions from your tree you will need to store them until you are ready to graft. Many Scions will provide two or three sections that can be used. The number of buds you want to keep on your scions, for grafting, is 2 to 4. When these start to grow you will take the dominate one and trim the others off if grafted to root stock, and you can leave them if grafted to a branch.

What size of Scion to use

Scions are usually cut for a diameter of 1/4″ or about the size of a number 2 pencil. However this varies on what you are grafting to. For root stock or branches used with cleft or whip & tongue grafting this diameter is good, but for branch grafting you will most likely want a larger scion. One key point, when grafting to root stock or a branch using the cleft graft try to match the scion diameter to the root stock or branch diameter. For Branch Grafting the size is more up to you.

How to store Scions Until Spring

To store your Scions cut them into sections keeping 6 to 8 bud points on each. Next place a handful of scions into a zip-lock bag along with a damp paper towel, this will help keep your scions moist until Spring. Now place them into your refrigerator where the temperature is consistent, 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit.