A primer on Grafting from the MOF&G archives.
Thoughts on grafting from MOFGA’s Landscape Coordinator, Jack Kertesz:
- Grafting apples, pear and plums is not that difficult. With practice you can do it.
- Smooth cuts are not absolutely critical but definitely help the union heal.
- Good alignment and attention to secure taping and sealing are what count the most.
- A utility knife with a new blade, electrical tape and a Wax Toilet Bowl Seal will suffice. All should be available at any hardware store. (This cheap system works and comes recommended by a number of competent grafters.)
This video cleverly shows how to graft using supplies commonly found on hand.
How to Care for Newly Grafted Trees. They need a little extra care in their first year!
This page has excellent information on various tree labelling options. You will forget what’s what in a few years so take the time to label them now!
Where to buy it:
Fedco Seeds sells rootstock.
Cummins Nursery has a good selection.
Grampa’s Orchard has some other options.
As a reference note: B 118 (clonal) rootstock would be a choice for a nearly full size tree that will perform much like a “standard” (seedling apple) rootstock, (usually “Antonovka”, which is preferred by many in colder climates.)
If you’d prefer to watch a video about how to collect scionwood, here is a good one!
To store and ship scionwood:
- Trim your scions so that they will fit in a plastic bag in your fridge. 8-10” is perfect for a gallon zip bag.
- Bundle and label with rubber bands and tape if you are storing multiple varieties together. Keep the wood triple bagged in your refrigerator. Do not let the wood freeze.
- To ship, send triple-bagged clearly labeled scionwood in a box. Let your scionwood recipient know the package is on its way. Provide a tracking number, if possible, so they can get the wood back into cold storage promptly. Scionwood can be kept for months if stored properly.
About Apple (and other fruit) Varieties
Want to learn more about a particular kind of scionwood you picked up? The Maine Heritage Orchard website has a lot of helpful descriptions, photos and relevant info and links. An excellent reminder of our pomological past and what our future could hold.
This is an exhaustive, alphabetical list of apple, pear, plum and cherry varieties, with comments from growers across the planet.
Your nursery catalogs (or their websites) are also great resources if you want to learn more about a particular variety.
Resources about Growing Fruit
New to orcharding and want some clarification on terminology? Try this resource.
Here’s a (lengthy) Reference on Organic Apple production. Seems to hit most points but incredibly, does not have mention of round headed apple borers.
Lots of valuable information on orchards can be found here.
This is an excellent guide to growing grapes (both table and wine grapes.) The 2016, 168 page pdf edition is northern latitude based.
Read this short article on how to protect against apple borers, the #1 PEST OF YOUNG APPLE TREES!
Follow this link if you want to learn more about pruning saws, possible retrofits and more.
Where to go to Learn More
Here is where you can sign up to receive the Maine Tree Fruit E-Newsletter (from UMaine Cooperative Extension) for regular updates on pests, diseases, management strategies and lots more related to growing fruit trees.
More great information at the Maine Tree Crop Alliance website, which aims to be a reliable resource on growing fruit and nuts in this region. The folks at the Maine Tree Crop Alliance welcome your feedback, discoveries and observations, too, when it comes to growing fruit and nuts in Maine – please share to help our collective knowledge base grow!
Want to learn more about fruit exploring? That is, searching for delicious or otherwise notable wild seedling fruit trees out there in the wild? Read a short article here or another one here or check out this neat book about apple foraging.