Bring Your Scions – Tom Del Hotal

The annual scion exchange is an event our chapter looks forward to every January.  As we are pruning our deciduous fruit trees and vines, this is a perfect opportunity for us to collect scions for this event.  I would like to make a request for all of our members to participate.  We will be providing descriptions on varieties and information on what to do with the scions at chapter meetings.  Here are some guidelines to collecting and storing cuttings (scions) for the upcoming scion exchange.

It is CRITICAL that all cuttings (scions) are completely dormant when they are collected and stored.  In this context, dormancy means that the buds which will break open to produce next seasons growth ( flowers, leaves, and stems ) are not growing and are completely encased in bud scales.  If these buds have broken open and newgrowth is occurring, the scion cannot be used or saved!  Where some buds are open, yet others are still dormant, the portion of the branch or scion with open buds can be cut off and the remaining dormant scion can still be stored and used.  If leaves are still present from 2009 growth, these leaves can simply be stripped away prior to storing the collected scion.  It is not the presence of last season’s leaves that determine if the scion is dormant, but rather if the buds have broken dormancy and have begun growing.  Because some very low chill fruit varieties begin growing very early in January,  you may want to collect and store your scions before the first couple of weeks in January.

1. Make your cuttings as near to the date of the meeting as possible.
2. Cuttings should be about the size of a pencil (6”-8” long and 1/8” to ¾” in diameter).
3. Do not allow your cuttings to dry out, store them in damp paper towels (or newspaper) in plastic bags in the refrigerator.
4. Properly label each of your bundled cuttings.
5. Make sure your cuttings are not from an infected source.
6. Make a slanted cut at the top of your scions; this will point “up” in the growth direction.
7. Make a straight cut at the bottom of your scions.
8. Bring plastic bags, masking tape and a permanent marker to identify the scions you select.
9. Bring a notebook to take notes on the varieties of cuttings.
10. Bring as many different cuttings as you can. .
11. Come in early to help us properly place your cuttings on the table.

Remember, if you are bringing in material, the standard is for the angle cut end to point upward.  Please make a note of it if your cuttings face opposite.   Also remember, buds are on the upper side of the nodes.  So all is not lost if the cuttings aren’t marked.