A variety of materials have been recommended as tape for wrapping grafts including grafting tape, polyethylene strips, parafilm and masking tape. A researcher at West Virginia University conducted a comparison test to determine the usefulness of several tape materials on Golden Delicious’ apples whip grafted onto Antonovka seedling rootstocks. The tapes tested were grafting tape, masking tape, electrical tape, duct tape and polyethylene strips. These products ranged in price from $0.12 per meter for grafting tape to $0.02 per meter for masking tape. The duct tape was cut in half before wrapping, and polyethylene strips were prepared by cutting clear poly film into a 1-inch vide ribbon. To prevent wraps from constricting the growth of the union, vertical cuts were made through the wraps on opposite sides of each graft union 42 days after grafting.
All grafts were successful, indicating that no tape had a bad effect on the graft union formation. Trees grafted with masking tape were significantly smaller than those wrapped with either duct tape or polyethylene strips when comparing shoot length of the scion. The researcher attributed the poor tree growth with masking tape to the poor adhesion of this tape and its tendency to unravel early. Although there was no measurable growth differences in stem diameter at the end of the season, the researcher recommended the use of electrical tape or duct tape because of their ease of usage, effectiveness in protecting the developing graft union, and ready availability. Excerpted from an article by S. Singha, Hort Science 1990, 25(5):579.