Scionwood & Fruit Trees

Grafting

A primer on Grafting from the MOF&G archives.

Grafting workshop in 2015 at MOFGA

These are very clear directions about how to graft – here and here. Both of these are printable for keeping close at hand.

Here are clear directions on Bud Grafting.

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 handy PDF has illustrations of different kinds of grafting techniques.

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!

Rootstock

Scionwood

Where to buy it: 

There is typically root stock available for sale at the Seed Swap & Scion Exchange, but since we aren’t gathering in person this year, here are a few other options:

Fedco Seeds sells rootstock but they may be sold out for 2021.

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.)

Scionwood

Cutting scionwood

Here and here are two great resources about how to collect scionwood. Here’s another one from John Bunker which recommends triple bagging.

If you’d prefer to watch a video about how to collect scionwood, here is a good one!

To store and ship scionwood:

  1. Trim your scions so that they will fit in a plastic bag in your fridge. 8-10” is perfect for a gallon zip bag. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

Centennial apples from MOFGA orchard

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.

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.

Read this short article on how to protect against apple borers, the #1 PEST OF YOUNG APPLE TREES!

Or check out this video about removing borers & learn more about this deadly apple tree pest here.

Stay current with Organic orcharding practices here.

Lots of valuable information on orchards can be found here.

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!

This is an excellent guide to growing grapes (both table and wine grapes.) The 2016, 168 page pdf edition is northern latitude based.

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.

Follow this link if you want to learn more about pruning saws, possible retrofits and more.

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!

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