Making Little Trees


| 5/10/2018 9:23:00 AM


Tags: Landis Valley Museum, Backyard Fruit Growers, Fruit Rescue, Life In The Fast Lane, Pennsylvania, Andrew Weidman,

Andrew WeidmanA row of little trees has taken up residence in my backyard. There they stand, lined up in their pots, tucked in between the deck and the cellar entrance. Twenty-three of them to be exact: twenty apples and three pears, all freshly grafted this past March.

little tree

Grafting is not an exact science with guaranteed results. At last glance, it appears that one graft has failed, and two others look questionable. That's not half bad, actually, when you do the math.

Most grafters gun for 95 percent success, and feel happy with 90 percent. If those two questionable grafts fail, I'm looking at 87 percent that's awfully close to 90 percent. If they surprise me and grow, that rate jumps to the coveted 95 percent.

little tree



Surprises are pretty common, too. One of the pears pushed buds much too early, within the first week after grafting, long before the graft had a chance to knit the scion and rootstock together.

Andrew
5/12/2018 6:27:31 AM

Melissa, as scary as learning to graft may seem, it’s actually pretty simple. Google ‘whip-and-tongue grafty’ and ‘cleft graft.’ Read a tutorial or two. Watch a few YouTube videos (every grafter has their own style). Practice cutting and joining with fresh apple prunings until you’re comfortable grafting. You may be able to find a grafting workshop near you next March, filled with people eager to help you learn. And don’t worry. Unless your tree is actively dying, you have time. I wasn’t kidding when I said these things want to live. I’ve seen ancient trees, hollowed out shells of their former glory, still growing slowly and bearing a few fruit each year. Keep your knife sharp, and good luck! I’d love to hear your story when you’re done!


Andrew
5/12/2018 6:21:17 AM

Melissa, as scary as learning to graft may seem, it’s actually pretty simple. Google ‘whip-and-tongue grafty’ and ‘cleft graft.’ Read a tutorial or two. Watch a few YouTube videos (every grafter has their own style). Practice cutting and joining with fresh apple prunings until you’re comfortable grafting. You may be able to find a grafting workshop near you next March, filled with people eager to help you learn. And don’t worry. Unless your tree is actively dying, you have time. I wasn’t kidding when I said these things want to live. I’ve seen ancient trees, hollowed out shells of their former glory, still growing slowly and bearing a few fruit each year. Keep your knife sharp, and good luck! I’d love to hear your story when you’re done!


Andrew
5/12/2018 6:21:16 AM

Melissa, as scary as learning to graft may seem, it’s really a simple skill. Google ‘whip-and-tongue graft’ and ‘cleft graft’. Read a tutorial or two. Watch a few YouTube videos (every grafter has their own style). Practice cutting and joining with fresh prunings until you feel comfortable grafting. You may be able to find a grafting workshop in your area next winter or spring, filled with people eager to help you learn. And don’t worry, unless the tree is rapidly dying, you still have time. I’ve seen ancient apple trees, hollowed out shells, still growing and bearing a few fruit each year. Keep your knife sharp and good luck! I’d love to hear how you do!







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