The prospect of grafting one apple variety onto another is appealing for a number of reasons.First, if you’re successful you can get multiple apple varieties from one tree, which in and of itself is pretty cool, second by virtue of the first you have the advantage of saving space. You don’t need to plant as many trees. Just graft away to your hearts content and have as many varieties of apples as you want.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’d barely consider myself and amateur grafter. My first attempt about 2 years ago wasn’t successful.
While I had done some research, I was just too anxious to do something and in doing so made some rookie mistakes. Here they are.
- Don’t graft in the winter. Grafting should really take place during the spring when the tree is growing.
- Shorten up the scion (grafting wood), you really only need to have a couple of buds on the scion (grafting wood) for it to work. The longer the scion the more chance there is for it to dry out.
- Make sure the surfaces of the graft are flush and the graft is wrapped tight and sealed. I used the whip and tongue grafting method pictured below because it seemed the easiest to me.
- It’s best to work with trees that have a similar blossoming time, although in my case I did not.
There are lots of places where you can exchange or get different kinds of scion wood. I got mine from someone on the growingfruit.org site. I won’t bore you with the details, you can find tons of information out there. A great source besides growingfruit.org is Steven Edholm’s site, skillcult.com. Steven is a master at grafting and has numerous videos on the subject.
I grafted about 5 pieces of Roxbury onto to my various trees (3/15). Here are a few pictures of the final result. My grafts are wrapped with electrical tape and then sealed up with Tanglefoot pruning sealer. Word of advice, if you use this stuff wear gloves.
I’m not expecting all of the grafts to make it. If it’s only one or two I’ll be thrilled. At this point the grafts have been in place for about 2 weeks and (knock wood) don’t show any signs of drying out. Let’s hope the trend continues.