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RE: Joe Real: how do you build an 18-variety apple tree? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: joereal on 04.04.2006 at 01:08 pm in Fruit & Orchards Forum

I heard you! I approach it several ways. One of my current constraints is for the tree to produce fruits at the same time graft unto it. But the original planning requires a long time, sometimes spanning 3 years of planning and training the tree before I do my grafts. Let us say you start with a basic 4-in-1 multi-graft tree, either from your creation or brought from the stores. Still another is buying a standard tree that have tendency to have upright branching and growth when you force their major branches to go horizontal. I first would plant it in a big pot to determine which of those grafts or branches are more vigorous than others, naturally when planting in the ground, I would orient the most vigorous one to the North. If there is space I don't prune off the tips of the major branches. On the next year of planting, I weigh down the ends of the branches to near horizontal level, each would be at least between 6-8 ft long, then I cut off the tip of each major branch to balance the lengths of all of them. I let it grow, snip off any blooms. What follows next is that along the 6-8 ft length, you will have many vigorous branches that will shoot out vertically, sometimes 12 of them along the horizontal branch, but I snip off others so that they are more or less spaced out alternatingly at 1 ft apart. You then graft unto each of those remaining vertically oriented vigorous branches. All of the vertical branches of a major branch should be grafted at the same time in order to obtain even growth on all your grafts. Now sometimes not all of those grafts are of the same vigor. Come next season, I will be regrafting the less vigorous branches towards the southern orientation so that not one will be shaded out, tranfering the more vigorous ones towards the north. I let the previously grafted one serve as interstem. This somehow stabilizes and balances the vigor of all the cultivars.

If I have time I will post a sample pic of such approach but from my persimmon tree which was newly grafted with 15 more cultivars this season. I also tried to do the same for my standard apple tree, but my wife requested that she wanted some fruits from that tree, so it ended up as a compromise approach.

I have another 14-in-1 apple tree that was grafted using the scaffolding style of approach. As the tree grows and develops scaffolds or branches, I graft unto them to form a regular tree canopy. The branches that gets grafted on are only those vigorous branches, so instead of pruning for balance, I graft and regraft over them for balance. This tree has been given to a friend, it is still potted and will end up as a novelty item in a wine barrel.

Sometimes I just graft over something that I don't like. Most grafts will usually grow and depends on major factors. Assuming that the grafting technique is not the problem, one of the major factors is the vigor of the scionwood, the vigor of the branch, and the amount of sunlight it gets. So water sprout branches where ever they are located are prime spots to graft to. If you regularly thin out your canopy, you will have plenty of water sprouts to graft to. Very seldom have I seen specific varietal interactions where one cultivar respond differently to the stock.

I also have a lousily grafted tree from one of my earlier trials, I will post a pic of that one. I will have to get home first and provided there is still some light and it is not raining.

It's been raining here for ages. And there's more in the forecast. Already my plants are in bad shape. I have peach curl on each of my peaches. Holes on each of my plums. My pear blooms are constantly being knocked out before pollination can occur. I still only manage to get 2/3 of my grafting done todate when usually they're all done by 2nd week of March. I still have to do my peach grafts (air must be dry to avoid diseases). Pretty soon we will evolve gills at this rate of record breaking rainy days.

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clipped on: 01.24.2007 at 06:25 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2007 at 06:35 pm

Bark grafting pictorial demo done!!!

posted by: joereal on 04.09.2006 at 03:50 am in Fruit & Orchards Forum

I have meticulous details, so beware. Except for the grafting tape, you can find most item from your kitchen.

Hope this demo helps someone starting their hands on grafting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bark grafting on a limb.

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clipped on: 01.24.2007 at 06:33 pm    last updated on: 01.24.2007 at 06:33 pm