Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Grafting 2009 - Four New Apples
Since 2002 I have obtained scion wood and grafted different variates of apples on my one semi-dwarf and two dwarf trees. When our apple harvest begins in August through October we are harvesting many different kinds of apples from our trees not just three kinds of fruit. Grafting is not a difficult task and some years my success is better than others. This year I was interested in taking a main branch of the tree and making a complete "red fleshed" apple bearing branch. I obtained four new scion varieties from Maple Valley Orchards and Nursery in Gillett, Wisconsin (920-842-2904, Plant and Fruit sales seasonally). The process of cleft grafting is relatively simple and I will use the above pictures set to show what I did.
I selected four branches about one to two inches. I sawed the branch to leave a three to four inch stub. I used a clean knife and split the branch. Then using a screwdriver I opened the split to receive the scions. I bevel cut the scions and inserted them into the split making as much contact with the cambium layer (the living tissue of the plant) as possible. I then seal the graft with a stretchy electrical tape and coat the graft with a safe tree sealer (TREEKOTE - grafting compound). I will check for the first week to make sure that the grafting compound does not shrink and allow air into the graft. With luck both of the grafted scions will sprout and then I will cut off one of them - but I always do two. My hope is that the top graft to be the one to keep as I feel this makes for a stronger branch.
Grafting is not difficult. All our fruit trees and most of our deciduous landscape and street trees are grafted stock so the process is relatively simple and done in mass production. So read up, take a class, and do some experimenting with grafting.