Juniper Grafting- Curious Results

This was interesting and seemed worthy of sharing. This tree, owned by a client, was originally Rocky Mountain juniper. It had some of the worst scale infestation that I’ve ever seen, the Rocky Mountain foliage was so covered with it that it looked nearly white from a distance.

When we decided to graft on it I did warn my client that I was not sure of our success because the stock was weak. I think we did about 8 veneer grafts with itoigawa scions and 6 took. So we were happy and a bit surprised. What happened following that was even more curious.

I should say that we did not graft to get rid of the scale but to get rid of the bad foliage type. I do wish I had earlier photos of this so you’d be more likely to believe me, but none of the itoigawa grafts ever got scale. Not a single one. The itoigawa was even touching the infested original foliage, but the scale never transferred in the couple of years we were slowly cutting back the original foliage.

We also are approach grafting new roots on this tree, just to remove a long, boring section of lower trunk. That’s what the blue tape wrappings are about, holding the approach graft in place. That graft is taking well.

I hope this does not send the message ‘Got scale? Graft!’—for that would be a bit extreme. It was just a surprising benefit of what we wanted to do anyway. Spraying oil in May and June is usually a better (and somewhat less complicated) control for scale…

Grafting top and bottom on a Rocky Mountain juniper. All the pest-ridden original foliage has been cut off after several years of letting the scions grow. None of the scale infestation remains and the tree has a completely new vigor and health. Should be a nice bunjin someday.

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  1. Brad says:

    Great post, thanks! What type of oil do you suggest spraying on junipers in May and June?

    • crataegus says:

      Any of the ‘all season’ oils should work. These are very refined oils that will disperse in water enough to be applied. You need to shake them a bit when spraying, though. The all season oils won’t harm leaves or needles. (But don’t use them in combination with sulfur products.) Spraying for scale is best done in May or June because that is when the young scale begin crawling around and that is when they are most susceptible.

  2. Ken Krogholm says:

    Hi Michael, Thanks for sharing this info. What time of year did you graft the 8 Itoigawa scions? Greetings from Denmark

    • crataegus says:

      Wow, from across the water, hello!— We grafted them in mid-June. It was rather warm then and the junipers were growing. Typically, for the temperate regions, June is the month you can do any kind of grafting on junipers, take cuttings, etc.

  3. yenling29 says:

    Very Interesting, thanks for posting! Do you typically use a systemic insecticide on your own trees in addition to spraying? Thanks!

    • crataegus says:

      Typically I don’t apply a prophylactic systemic for insects, only for diseases. If I see an insect I’ll decide on a control method. But I have tried systemics, and the Bayer Advanced is one that most of us have access to and controls a lot of things. Works well in the akadama/pumice soil I use, too.

  4. terry davis says:

    Do you put a bit of moist sphagnum at the base of the graft, or is this risking disease?

  5. Geof Holmes says:

    You should try Immunox plus by Spectracide. It works great for scale on Juinpers. I even have used it on Tropicals and have had no adverse affects.
    You can get it online or Home Depot carried it out my way.

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