Friday, March 25, 2016

The Grafting Season has Arrived

With more reports of woodcock nestings I've ended my woodcock "runs" and am well into my bench grafting of apple and pear trees. I'm grafting 75 B118 rootstocks that will grow into a near full sized tree to be planted in the Back40, 25 G30 rootstocks which will produce a semi-dwarf tree about half as big as a full sized tree which will be planted in the Home Orchard and the Mam & Pap Orchard which is located on 10 acres of ajoining  ground that I had bought from my grandparents, and 10 OHxF 97 pear rootstocks which will mature into a full sized tree also for the Back40. The scion wood which I graft to the rootstock are mostly heirloom varieties with names like Betsy Deaton, Dixie Red Delight, and Black Limbertwig is name just a few.  I also have some scion wood from the USDA experimental orchard in Geneva, New York that came from the central Asian country of Kazakhstan which is where the domestic apple originated. I still find the "art" of grafting a miracle of nature with the binding together of two pieces of wood turning into a fruit tree.
The wild crabs are starting to leaf out telling me it's time to do some limb grafting.

I grafted some Crandall scion to this wild crab. Crandall was developed by crossing Rome Beauty and Jonathon at the University of Illinois in 1914. It's described as a dessert and cooking apple. Keeps well in storage thru April.  Tree is productive, comes into bearing early and relatively disease resistance.
I use toilet bowl ring wax to seal the graft and tip of the scion from drying out. It's about 1/10 as expensive as named grafting wax and works just as well.
The trees on my trellis that are grafted to Bud 9 rootstock are starting to open their buds. Bud 9 is noted for producing early budding trees and I guess mine prove it.

The trees grafted to G41 are still dormant.
These dwarf trees should be in full production in 2 to 3 years. I can't wait to enjoy the varieties I've got planted.

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