Saturday, May 14, 2011
Successful Apple Grafts
Last fall I tried my hand at grafting fruit trees for the first time. I purchased (10) M-7 apple root stocks from One Green World (http://www.onegreenworld.com//product_info.php?products_id=1184) in Oregon. I have Gravenstein and Esopus Spitzenburg heirloom apples that I'm training to a trellis in the front yard (a technique known as espalier).
I took several branch trimmings from each tree and grafted the leaf buds from them onto the root stocks. The union where the scion (the trimming from the tree you hope to grow) meets the root stock must be sealed to hold the graft in place and hold moisture so the union doesn't dry out. I used Parafilm tape but you could also use beeswax, string, or plastic food wrap. Success or failure is determined by whether the buds begin to leaf out in the spring. Well, I'm happy to report that the majority of the grafts did take and have leafed out very nicely. My goal is to graft at least three and hopefully four varieties of apple onto each root stock and to espalier these as well. Five of the trees are planted in buckets because I hope their eventual home to be the orchard in my son's former school, Mountainside Montessori.
Note: Grafting isn't difficult but it does require a little technique. If you're interested in trying it I'd recommend a grafting workshop hosted by someone who has done it. If that's not an option you could learn it as I did from any of the excellent videos on YouTube.