Have you heard of grafting?
Do you know how to graft?
If you don't, this is an invitation to check it out.
Its so easy and enables you to do so much with fruit, nut, and all kinds of trees.
Imagine you have a volunteer tree in your backyard, and you want it to have fruits. You just might be able to transform it into a fruit producing tree. Even trees along roads in the city might be graft opportunities, like ornamental plum trees. Imagine that, walking back home on a hot summer day and picking a ripe juicy plum off a tree along the sidewalk (don't think about the car exhaust and other pollution, its irrelevant to my point). Fresh local free. Or buying an apple tree and grafting 3 more varieties on, so that you have different flavoured apples that ripen at different months for a longer harvest season. Maybe you don't like the variety you bought and want to replace it with a tastier fruit, you can do that!
You can even graft between certain species!
Yes you can!
Getting ready for a serious grafting session.
The foreground are potted rootstock and on the table are bunches of scion wood.
Since we have so many varieties to graft and we have so many grafters,we need a system to keep track of what we graft and how many.
A few people keep assign and keep track of the grafting,while the grafters perform plant surgery for several hours straight.
Productive and organised permies (not always the case).
The grafters hard at work.
We used a series of potted and bareroot plants as rootstock.
A few practiced on freshly pruned fruit tree wood.
If you are going to do a bunch,
having a good setup is crucial.
Since its easy to mix things up,
the rule is once you are done with any plant material,
throw it on the ground.
Here is the list of scion wood we have.
Varieties of European and Asian plums and pears, cherry, peach, apple, shipova, and seabuckthorn.
The potentials are so exciting!
What varieties does your mouth crave?
Conference pear, hosui asian pear, hakutou Japanese juicy white tender peach
are some of my favorite fruit.
I recommend checking out a fruit tree catalogue and reading the descriptions.
Its arousing and addictive.
Check out the Raintree catalogue for starters: http://www.raintreenursery.com/RT_2011.pdf
The set up:
Snips, double blade grafting knife, alcohol to sanitise tools,
rubber band to tighten rootstock-scion wood bond,
and grafting wax (we use bee's wax mixed with lin seed oil).
The pot contains the rootstock with the top snipped off for my cleft graft.
At the top center is the omega grafter.
I've never used it but its an easy way to graft,
and it looks really cool too.
I prefer the grafting knife though,
seems more reliable and flexible.
The left is the rootstock (see the roots) and the right is the scion wood.
Above the blade is where I grafted the scion wood onto the rootstock.
Doesn't it look like one piece?
Thats the idea.
Well, actually what's important is the cambium to cambium connection,
not necessarily trying to make it look like one piece.
Here Timbah is brushing bee's wax onto the graft union and any fresh cuts.
He top grafted pear onto a volunteer hawthorn.
What an awesome opportunity to graft onto something that has established roots in the soil.
The hawthorn, with its long spikes and tendency to bush out, is capable of keeping deer from munching the pear leaves.
There are a lot of resources for grafting which is why I didn't explain much about it.
A fellow bliss ranger James has a youtube up on how to graft:
*I recommend not using the ACE can of funkiness and instead using natural stuff
Here's a bark graft demo by a professional for nectarines.
At the end he tells you that its illegal to graft patented varieties if you have no license.
What a trippy world we live in.
Books that I've seen in our library, and that have been recommended by our teachers:
1.American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques (1999)
2.The Grafter's Handbook (2003)