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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
Fred Hempel
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Default Grafted tomatoes in 2019

A few years ago "some were saying" that grafting was soon going to be standard practice, particularly for growing heirlooms. Increased disease resistance and vigor were given as reasons that soon everyone was going to be converted over to grafting or buying grafted plants.

In 2019, in your area, is grafting common? I'm curious.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
Salsacharley
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I don't know any grower in my area who grafts their plants.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
mikemansker
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I grafted for a couple of years, and maybe I wasn't very good at it, but many of the grafted plants didn't survive the process. Of the ones that did, I wasn't really able to tell a dramatic difference between those and nongrafted plants as far as vigor or disease resistance was concerned.

There are no local growers that offer grafted plants here. I just see them offered on web sites at sky high prices.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
jtjmartin
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I graft because of bacterial wilt.

I have not seen any grafted plants for sale in my area (Hampton Roads, VA). I drive quite a bit throughout the state for business . . . and pull over at garden centers . . . have not seen grafted plants anywhere.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
Father'sDaughter
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Grafting is standard practice in my garden because I was sick of watching my plants turn bright yellow by July, then quickly go to brown and crispy after producing just two or three ripe fruit. Grafting keeps them healthy all through the season and producing well into September.

Whenever I mention that I graft all my tomato plants to other gardeners, I just get a puzzled look.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
zendog
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Like Jeff, I'm in VA and after grafting last year and seeing all of them survive while ungrafted mostly died (as they had in past years), I can't imagine not doing it now. I think how valuable it is for you depends on the disease pressure in the area.

Of plants I grow for my local PTA plant sale, I hope to have about 50 grafted plants and will have them priced at double vs. ungrafted. It will be interesting to see if people are willing to pay the extra. I hope so, since it is a lot more work than just raising regular seedlings!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
zipcode
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Pretty much unheard of, more used like an experiment. Soil diseases are liberally treated with Thiophanat-methyl, so no one cares about grafting.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
Greatgardens
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It's such a pain, at least to me. I'd much rather start a few hybrids like Big Beef and Celebrity and Orange Wellington. Also adding Damsel and Stellar this year.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
jtjmartin
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Great gardens:

I thought what a pain it was again this year: wouldn’t it be nice to just plant seed? But BW took out all my Big Beef last year and most of my other hybrids.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
Patapsco Mike
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I saw grafted tomatoes for sale for $10 each at Home Depot in Ellicott City Maryland two years ago. I hadn't read much about it and wasn't willing to pay that crazy price. Little did I know I'd be grafting my own two years later!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
Greatgardens
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I really have no knowledge of BW. Is it an issue if you plant in containers? Not an issue here in central IN (except with cantaloupes).

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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
jtjmartin
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No, the other way to get around bacterial wilt is to buy potting soil and plant in containers.

I've had gardens in Maryland, Kentucky and Wisconsin and really never had any major disease problems.

With grafting though, my tomato vines are often more than 25 feet long and still producing by the first frost.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
bower
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One of our local farmers put an early crop of grafted Fireworks in his greenhouse a couple of years ago. Early report on the fruit set was glowing, they really loaded up. But I heard afterwards they had some problems with fruit quality - they didn't ripen evenly iirc. It was not a good summer so that doubtless played a part. Not sure if they repeated the experiment, I'll ask. Still early days here for the 2019 tomato planting.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #14
zendog
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Issues with fruit quality seems surprising to me. My grafted tomatoes did a much better job of maintaining their size and quality than the ungrafted tomatoes I grew right beside them last year. I think the best thing people can do is try grafted and ungrafted plants of the same type side by side as a real controlled test. When I did that with 2 different types of rootstocks, plus a control plant on its own roots, I was sold, at least for my growing conditions. But if we had less disease, a shorter season or other considerations I might not bother.

Like Jeff, my grafted plants kept producing good size tomatoes right up until frost. My ungrafted plants generally produced smaller fruit, particularly the beefsteaks, as the season progressed. Grafted plants didn't show the same amount of reduction and the plants I had on Maxifort (very vigorous) showed no decline in size at all. So it isn't just the disease resistance that makes it worthwhile for me.

I didn't graft my cherry tomatoes last year and they did pretty well on their own roots, but I plan to graft Black Cherry and Fred's Lucky Tiger this year so it will be interesting to see how they do and if it is worth it for the smaller fruited types. That is this year's experiment.

The one thing grafting didn't solve for me was BER issues with Opalka. I was really hoping a better root system might help, but I didn't see a difference.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #15
bitterwort
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I graft all my tomatoes that get planted in my foliage-disease-ridden community garden plot, mainly because they're robust enough to stay ahead of the foliage diseases generally, at least enough to produce well for me. I don't always have enough time/rootstock plants to graft the cherry tomatoes that I grow at home in large pots, but when I do, I find that they tend to produce well much longer in the season than when I don't graft them. I recommend trying at least a few of your cherries, zendog.
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