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fyzygy

Opuntia grafting guide

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And a few recent experiments of my own. Two buttons closest together was my first -- those two buttons were practically kissing, and I thought they might push one another off the rootstock. Smart plant, it's actually increased the gap between them. Opuntia doesn't seem to care where the button is placed (anywhere on the cut surface seems to do?). And it's super-vigorous. Buttons grafted to opuntia might not hold their shape well, it seems. I've tried with both rooted and unrooted opuntia slabs. I've not had a graft rejected, so far. Three days under cling wrap with moderate pressure (high internal humidity), then it's pretty much ready for acclimatisation. Spineless opuntia is my rootstock of choice, for obvious reasons. But any old opuntia will do -- I've even used rabbit ears (ouch!). These pictures are all of grafts approx. 1-3 weeks old. Each one took less than 5 minutes to execute, with minimal sanitisation of tools and workspace (I used freshly boiled water on the knife). Only time will tell, I guess. 

 

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I used to use those velvety tree pear (Opuntia tomentosa ) with great success, it was a mad stock, the only problem is that all the wild plants are infected with that shitty fungal disease that gets straight into your grafts and spreads from there.

 

If you're thinking of using it think again, even if it looks like the nice fresh opuntia growth is disease free, trust me it aint. Ive even had another SABster confirm this with me after he used it.  Never again!

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Here's an old pic of a graft on to wild collected  Opuntia tomentosa. The graft grew very nicely but you can already see the fungal spots appearing at the base of the pedro. I ended up tossing it, not worth it IMO. Just make sure your stock is clean, that's all I'm saying :)

 

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Good to know and keep an eye out for. The disease question is serious. I wouldn't use either rootstock or scion that showed signs of disease. 

That said, for my last "no-fuss" experiments, I must confess to picking up pieces of prickly pear out of bluestone gutters in the back alleys of Brunswick. No disease issues so far. Touch ... wood? I did lose one of the rootstocks that rotted in the recent rains (I completely forgot I'd left it out in the garden until it was too late). Insufficiently calloused wounds, I dare say. The buttons were okay to be regrafted. 

 

My first Opuntia graft was about 5 years ago, T. bridgesii to O. bunny years, and it didn't develop any disease (I degrafted it about a year ago). 

 

In the Opuntia grafting guide resource above, the gardener does a much more professional job of things, including the photography. One trick I learned from it, was how to get (at least) 4 grafts out of 1 seedling ...

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