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Top work grafting

Oh what a glorious day it was!  Taking full advantage of the sun and warm weather was top of my list.  I have been looking at a bag of various left over scionwood from my grafting onto rootstock projects.  Knowing that I had access to a peach tree and my crabapple tree, I decided to experiment with topwork grafting.

For me, the most important part was the peach tree, though.  Earlier this spring I took some scionwood cuttings from a friend’s peach tree.  What makes this so important is that the cuttings come from his grandmother’s peach tree that has been gradually dying.  If I can get some grafts to take, either the top work grafts or the bench grafts onto rootstock, I will be able to help him preserve the legacy.  This is my most meaningful project and would mean all the world to him and his family if I could gift back to them several trees.  As we get into early summer, I will be also attempting (for the first time) to take bud grafts from it and put them onto either rootstock or the peach tree in the back yard.  Actually, it is the neighbors, but much of it overhangs my yard and those branches are fair game for me to experiment with.  I want to cover as many bases as possible.  I might even try another technique to see if I can get some rooted cuttings directly off of the tree.  That is for another time, though.

The grafting that I did onto my crabapple today was a bit less serious and more fun.  While the same techniques were employed as I used earlier in the day on the peach, what was different about this was that I took several varieties (Macintosh, Northern Spy, Yellow Transparent, Red Delicious and Yellow Delicious) and grafted them onto different branches.  I have been wanting to experiment for a couple of years like this and the donated scionwood from this year was a perfect place to start.  One, I used all that I could on the bench grafts that I did earlier this spring and two, I didn’t want to waste the gift that the generous donors gave to me in letting me take cuttings from their trees.  I am hoping that Murphy’s Law doesn’t work with this and that the only two kinds that take are the Red and Yellow Delicious, because I really am not fond of those two.  Why did I take the scionwood cuttings when offered, then?  Well, I figured they would be more material for me to practice with and they would be recognizable kinds that I could gift to others.

I will say, though, working on a tree in place is a bit more difficult than bench grafting onto rootstock.  It is more awkward than anything because you can’t just turn the cut on the rootstock (or in this case, the tree) to be in a convenient orientation for binding the scionwood onto it.  At least I could still use my Grafting Tool, to try to keep things uniform and increase my chance of success.  Oh, but the excitement will be that much greater if I can walk someone into the back yard and point to a tree and explain the different varieties on it, knowing that it was crafted by my own hands.  Fingers crossed at this point!!

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