Collecting and Preparing scionwood for your local Scion Exchange

These instructions are adapted from the Heritage and Rare Fruit Network
Cut from trees when they are dormant in winter.
Scion should be collected off trees that are disease-free. Sterilize your pruners with rubbing alcohol between cutting each tree. This is to avoid transmitting infections from one tree to another.
Select last year’s growth, which has more pronounced buds and younger looking bark.  Your scion wood should be pencil thickness (preferably 3 – 6mm diameter, or up to 8mm maximum diameter), approx 15cm. A range of widths (girths) within range is ideal. For apples, pears, plums, apricots peaches, nectarines and quince, select ideally from wood that is 3-7mm in diameter. Cherries can be a bit larger. 
Keep each variety separate and properly labeled as you are moving through your orchard.
Cut your scion to the right length that will fit in the bag. Put in as many pieces of scion wood as you think can be used. Put a diagonal cut on the top and a flat cut on the bottom of scionwood/cuttings you take from grapes and kiwifruit. This helps you identify which way up to graft them. Lightly mist the scion with a trigger mister bottle before placing in the bag.
Remove as much air as you can and roll up bundles of bags then put a rubber band around  them.
If everybody can standardise scion collection to share at grafting events it will make a lot of things easier for everyone involved.

Use the press seal (ziploc) sandwich bags approx. 180mm x 170mm and cut the scion so it will fit in across the bottom of the sandwich bag. It would allow a number of bags to be placed one on top of the other with a small part of the seal unsealed. They can be rolled up tightly and have a rubber band placed around the whole roll.  

Note that it is best not to dip the scion in a bucket of water before storing it, due to the risk of cross-infection.


Using a laundry marker felt-tip pen, write the name of the variety on the outside of the bag, the three initial letters of your name, and any comments. If it is a particularly good variety, rate it with 1 – 3 stars and any other useful information.   Black Artline(TM) marking pens are the only ones we can recommend as other brands often don’t remain readable very long.

Hoover ***     Apple       
LRB (Person’s initials) 
Best winter apple 

Plums are Japanese  or European so label   
Satsuma   Plum   (J) or (Jap) 
or King Billy  Plum (E)  or (Euro) and initials etc

Peach & Nectarine
Variety name – white  (W) or yellow (Y)  freestone (F) and clingstone is (C) and initials etc

Store horizontally in the fridge until needed but don’t put it in the freezer.  The wood will keep for several months like that.  If fruit is stored in the same fridge, then keep the bags of scion in an additional air tight plastic bag such as a garbage bag to protect the scion from ethylene gas given off from the fruit.