Looks like I was worried over my apple scions and grafts without good cause a few weeks ago. Out of six attempted apple tree grafts, five of them are leafing out already, and I haven’t given up on that last one just yet!
I have to admit that I wasn’t overly optimistic about the odds of success when I attended the Backyard Fruit Grower’s grafting workshop. Mainly because this wasn’t my first attempt at grafting and the previous try was a complete failure that ended with one graft and absolutely no sign of life from the poor plant.
If at First Your Fruit Tree Graft Does not Succeed…
That was a part of the logic behind my decision to try grafting a total of SIX apple trees this time around! I also considered that the dwarfing rootstock I used would be perfect for creating a hedge-like compact ‘step-over,’ which is a low growing single tiered row of apple trees that I could use as a border around part of the vegetable garden.
But still, I really didn’t anticipate winding up with half a dozen living apple trees on my hands. During the grafting workshop it all seemed so exacting and precise to carefully cut a notch into the rootstock and then mate it to a similarly notched piece of fruiting wood. There was just no way that my rookie attempts at apple tree grafting could have gotten everything right!
Especially when you consider that after cutting and splicing the first couple of grafts my attention was focused much more keenly on keeping my fingers intact then it was on making exact cuts and perfectly aligning the separate “twigs” together to form an ideal union between the two.
Wonders Never Cease in a Backyard Edible Garden
Surely the rootstock would reject this foreign object that I was basically taping to the end of it. And how is it possible for two inches of wood taken from an unrelated apple variety to meld with the strange rootstock in such a way that the roots will nourish and support the fruiting wood above the point where it was attached?
Can some life-force flow upward from the ground, through the rootstock, into the attached scion and unite all the layers of bark, sap, and heartwood from one piece of branch to the other? Will this fragile connection then grow and endure to the point that one day the two will work together to actually bear delicious fruit?
Well this is just one of the wonders that I’m currently observing in my backyard garden. Now I have to come up with a trick of my own and figure out how six apple trees are going to coexist in a landscape full of veggies, herbs, berries, and other gourmet edibles. Guess it’s a good thing that I selected the extra dwarfing rootstock for these surprising grafted apple trees!
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