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Fruit Tree Scionwood

Visit our Buy Scionwood page to shop for scionwood and learn about specific varieties. 

Perhaps the most important question of all would be, how is scion pronounced?  It is pronounced SAI·uhn.

What is scionwood? Scionwood is a young stick or shoot or sucker that is cut from a tree and used to graft onto a rootstock.  This scion will be genetically identical to the tree from which it was taken. Once a Freiherr Von Berlepsch, always a Freiherr Von Berlepsch.

Harvesting Scion

Scionwood can be harvested in the summer if you are summer budding, or in the winter if you are bench grafting. For summer budding, typically in August, cut the current season’s growth. This is usually 12-20 inches long and pencil diameter or larger.  Remove the leaves immediately and wrap the stick in a damp towel. Keep your scion in the shade or a cooler until you chip or T-bud it onto your rootstock. Collecting dormant wood is the same as summer collection with the exception that there are no leaves to remove.

Clean Scion vs. Dirty Scion

The common latent apple viruses are Apple Chlorotic Leaf Spot Virus (ACLSV), Apple Stem Pitting Virus (ASPV), and Apple Stem Grooving Virus (ASGV). These viruses can be transmitted only via grafting; insects are not vectors. Therefore, a virus-free tree will remain clean and healthy until a graft of dirty scion is introduced. For example, on our farm we have a block of Mutsu on various test Geneva stock planted in 1978. I top-grafted different cider scions onto some branches of assorted Mutsu trees. Five years later, some of these beautiful, healthy Mutsu showed signs of decline. Eventually, they died. One or more of the viruses introduced from dirty scion had made their way down to the sensitive rootstock. 

NY state does not have a virus certification program; shame on us. Therefore, we can not sell certified virus clean scion. Instead, we use G.16 as an indicator rootstock because G.16 is hypersensitive to viruses. If we receive scion from a repository, we immediately graft it onto G.16. If the tree lives, we consider the wood to be clean. Since there is no rootstock more sensitive than G.16, this process provides an accurate diagnosis. Most of the Geneva rootstocks are not sensitive to viruses. The ones to be worried about are G.16, G.935 and G.814. We recommend that you use clean scion for these varieties.

Visit our Buy Scionwood page to shop for scionwood and learn about specific varieties. 

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