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Sir Jeans

Areole grafts of T. Macrogonus

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Hi everyone!

This is going to be my first post here, so I though I might as well start off by contributing something interesting to this forum. I recently acquired a large cutting of T. Macrogonus, but sadly, it was badly infected with some kind of (fungal?) disease. It had produced red veins going right down the length of the cutting, and when I tried to cut it out, the cut surface quickly went black and/or red. So, I decided to try an experiment - I'd heard that it was possible to graft single areoles, and I had a large, well-rooted piece of some kind of common Trichocereus that I wasn't very attached to. It was planted on its side and had produced four new shoots - four prime candidates for an areole graft!

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After quite a bit of reading online, I grafted some healthy looking areoles onto each of the new shoots. I sterilized everything (including the skin of the cacti before they were cut) with isopropyl alcohol spray from a hardware store.

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Unfortunately, all of these areole grafts failed - they didn't fuse with the stock plant and started to rot. So, I redid them all, refining my technique as I went. I now have four areoles that all seem to have sealed to the stock after having been grafted a week ago. Time will tell if they start to grow or not, but everything looks good so far. Here is one of the seemingly successful grafts:

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The following factors seemed especially important:

- Reducing the amount of contact between scion and stock seemed to be really critical. My first grafts looked like a half-circle, with the skin touching the stock and the spines on top (see photos). As these scions started to dry out, they curved so that the center of the scion lost contact with the stock. In later grafts, I cut the edges of the scion down at an angle so that none of the skin of the scion was touching the stock, and so that the scion was thinner at the bottom than it was at the top. I can post photos of this if its not clear what I mean.

- Lots of pressure also seems critical - my first grafts were not taped down tight enough.

- Getting rid of slugs: they came out of the plant pot at night and made a bee-line for the cut surface. This resulted in infection and rot. I had to keep checking on the pot during the night (they tried to hide as soon as the light was turned on) and removing the slugs - about 15 in total (the pot was kept inside)!

I'll keep this topic updated as to whether the grafts are successful or not.

:)

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Woah, this is cool and very inspirational. Thankyou so much for posting this!

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Very useful advice there. Thanks for posting this, make sure to update with progress too. :D

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Your most welcome everyone - happy to share my experiences!

In case my description wasn't clear, here's a diagram to show how to I cut the scions for greatest success:

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The little dot in the bottom view represents the veins (for lack of the correct term) that transport energy and nutrients from the core of the cactus to each areole. I read that its important to line this up with the ring of "veins" just like when traditional grafts are done. Here's a picture of another seemingly successful graft that was cut and grafted in this way. You can see how the skin doesn't touch the stock (especially on the right). You can also see a bit of discoloration, which I think the slugs contributed to. Hopefully it'll be ok though.

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I mentioned using weights instead of tape - here's a picture showing how I did that:

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I used books to get it to the right height. The metal pencil case has some weight to it, and the disc on top weights 500g. The successful graft in my first post above was done with this method, and using two 500g discs instead of one. I used a folded up tissue in between the scion and the weight on top of it, and also had trimmed the spines.

Another thing that I forgot to mention - if using tape, It seems important that all four sides of the scion are taped down firmly, otherwise the untaped sides lift up when the scion dehydrates. As you can see in the photos in my first post, I didn't do this, which seems to have contributed to my first grafts failing.

One final point: I am a novice at grafting, and I don't claim that the way I did it was the best way. In fact, if anyone can see any obvious flaws with my technique, or has any suggestions on things I can do to improve my success, I'd be grateful!

I'd also be very interested if anyone knows what was wrong with the Macro cutting to start with (is this what people call "orange rot"?).

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Edited by Sir Jeans

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awesome work man, very impressive !

Pity about that rotting macro ! sucks getting a rotten cut thats for sure :wink:

Nice save though !

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Tis' all good - the guy who sold it to me said he'd happily replace it

;)

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Well this has inspired me to have another crack at areole grafting B)

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wow, advanced stuff ... very inspirational thanks Sir Jeans.

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welcome man

great to see people doing areole grafts. keep it updated.

selinicereus is also good stock for this

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Solid f*n First post!

I recognize myself with the snail hunting...

It's a sport!

Btw!

The infected shit, what color was it on the skin of the cacti?

Had some orange shit that also went in on the inside of the poor little thing on 1 of my loph's that i cut off today, hopefully it works to only remove it.

Don't have any fungicides ;/

The fungi have not been spreading to other cacti now has it?

Edited by Fluss

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Hope your loph survives Fluss, infection is a bitch! The infection was dark red, and was only visible from the cut surface on one end (upper end) that had calloused over. It had also been dusted with copper sulfur, which I'm told is supposed to prevent rot. Obviously didn't work this time though! The infection has not migrated to any other cacti. I kept the macro cutting separate, and I've now thrown all the infected bits into the bin. I just really hope that the areoles I'm grafting are not infected! Unfortunately, one of the grafts I did is starting to look quite unhealthy:

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It seems firmly fused with the stock. Not sure if I should remove it or not. I'm thinking I probably should, and I really don't want to make the stock sick by leaving a rotting piece of cactus flesh on top of it!

On a more positive note (sort of), I accidentally knocked two of the other grafts off. I was putting the plant outside, and trying to cover it with chicken wire to keep the possums away from it, but the wire got caught and pulled two areoles off. The positive note is that I was able to see that they really were indeed well fused, and both the stock and scion looked very healthy. Ive since grafted two new areoles onto these sites, so I still have four in total.

Does anyone have any thoughts about whether I should remove the areole pictured above? If I do, I'll post a picture.

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I would leave it there while there is a bit of green around the areole. Shine a torch into the union site and check it out. It does look kind of shitty but you never know.

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yep even if it fails [it probably will] it wont do damage to the stock. you can try another graft there though....

also remember that the grafts you're attempting [areole grafts] are considered advanced cacti grafting and harder to take than normal grafts, plus trichocerei areoles are usually not ideal [shape and too big cut surface] for this tek

haven't you done any other normal gfrafting in cacti? you should, as it seems you are a passionate dude!

good luck with this project!

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I decided to remove the areole - it looked so unhealthy I couldn't imagine it surviving. Here's what it looked like:

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I'll shave a cm or so off the stock and try grafting another areole on there soon. The other three grafts look ok, but its hard to tell at this point. I'll have a much better idea about them in a week or two (and will of course update this topic!).

And yeah, I've heard that areole grafting is pretty advanced. The only reason I'm attempting it is because the macro cutting was destined for compost otherwise, and the trichocereus stock I'm grafting onto is something that I'm not particularly fond of.

Before attempting these areole grafts I had only performed one graft before, which was a successfull graft of T. Scopulicola (so I'm told) onto T. Pachanoi stock:

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I'm planning on doing half a dozen or so similar grafts onto T. Pachanoi using this less advanced method. Just waiting for all my cacti to wake up from their winter slumber.

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cool graft!

in the long term you might see there no much point in grafting trichos on trichos, except from saving some species like you did with the areoles and for a crest/monster or other wise slow growing species... or with seedlings maybe....

keep it up!

Edited by mutant

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Cheers mutant, yeah I expect I'll be removing the scop from the pachanoi stock in a year or two. I only did the graft because the little scop had such a tiny root system. I figured I could speed it up substantially by letting it borrow a bigger one for a while (plus I was itching to start experimenting with grating!). The other grafts I'll be doing won't be trichos - I've got a small, sunburned golden ball cactus, a rare astrophytum, and a few other little spherical cacti. I'll post some pics when I do them!

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its a good idea to get some cheap clumping species and a fast propagating stock like pereskiopsis, selinicereus, hylocereus to play with

in reality I haven't grafted so much on trichos, I like them too much maybe to cut them...

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I have an abundance of Pachanoi that are perfect for grafting onto - about 20 all up, all from thick cuttings, all about 8" high and all well rooted. Wouldn't mind getting some more periskiopsis though, I only have one small plant and it hasn't really done much since I got it 6 months ago.

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Cool. Pereskiopsis have a long hibernation time, they dont like it cold. They will wake up eventually. give it root space and it will throw many branches when its warmer there

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I'm sad to say that all of my areole grafts have now failed. Even the ones that looked as though they had fused to the stock - they just started to dry out and lose their color, and when I removed them, they had gone black and red on the inside. I'm thinking that - in addition to my lack of experience - these failures are probably due to the following causes:

1) The areoles may have still been infected, despite looking healthy. If you look at the first picture I posted, you can see that something very nasty had gotten into the cutting. My remaining areoles that looked healthy have since gone moldy.

2) Temperature - I did these grafts just as spring was starting. However, it was quite cold still, and the stock plant had not yet come out of its winter dormancy.

Despite all this, I'm pretty sure that two of the grafts (the ones that I accidentally knocked off) had taken. When I knocked them off, the flesh of the scions looked very healthy, and they seemed to be fully fused with the stock. I say this because there were bits of the stock attached to the middle of the cut surface of the scion when they were ripped off.

I did one other areole graft, onto a T Pachanoi that belongs to a friend of mine. I have'nt yet asked him if this graft was successful (it was done about 3 weeks ago). I'll update this topic when I know how it went.

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