Teach Fruit Trees to Multitask with Grafting
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Now the tricky part: Make a vertical cut on both the scion and base stock to form a “tongue” that will hold the two pieces firmly together. Hold the piece tightly, and cut very slowly to avoid including a finger in the process. Place the two pieces together. If the cambium layers don’t touch, or your angle is off, it’s best to toss the scion aside and try again. Once you have a tight fit, secure it with tape or budding rubbers.
There’s not a lot of care after grafting. If using budding rubbers, they will fall off on their own after a few months.
Jim says he slits the electrical tape since peeling it off could damage the cambium. He recommends, once it’s obvious the new branch is growing, to “take a sharp razor blade, and go right down the middle. It will weather off.”
It’s also a good idea to mark your branches, so you remember what you added each season. Jim uses metal tags wired around the branch indicating the type of apple.
You can keep as detailed records as you’d like, keeping track of where you obtained the scion, when it was grafted, the technique used and the results. Although it might not seem terribly important when you first start, with hundreds of apple varieties begging to be grown, adding one more to the orchard can be a hard temptation to resist.Amy Grisak writes from her home in Montana, specializing in gardening, sustainable agriculture and local food. She’s been playing in gardens and orchards for more than 25 years and loves encouraging everyone else to do the same
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