Wednesday, April 29, 2015

grafting made simple

i have been a grafter for sometime now, albeit - not active.  my grandpa taught me how to graft in my learning orchard at my old house.  it was successful.  i grafted a wild variety of apple as a bud graft and also with the typical end of the limb type grafts.

fast forward 20 plus years - pa is gone and so is my learning orchard, and now i had a new challenge.  i am espaliering apples and pears on my fence at the new house.

the challenge?  fill in gaps on the espaliered trees so i can get more apple varieties and more horizontal growing branches.  if you have ever espaliered, one of the challenges is not enough lateral branches sprouting from the trunk or sprouting in the wrong place.

well obviously i cant be the first to come across this issue.  luckily the folks at Lee Valley have a tool that solves the problem.  The Plugger Bit allows you to drill a hole directly into the trunk - so you can place the scion at the exact spot you need an additional lateral branch.

so how do you fit in the scion?  simple - quickly run it thru a pencil sharpener and you have an exact geometric match for the hole the plugger bit created.  you still have to be sure you match up the cambium of the trunk and the scion, but based upon this years success, it works pretty darn good.

here is an example of honeycrisp scion grafted to the trunk of my ashmeads kernel:

you also need to seal the ends and the insertion point on the trunk and then support it.  i chose grafting wax for the sealer and good old electrical tape to hold the parts together until its all sutured up.

this my hosui asian pear that i grafted additional hosui scions to, to fill in gaps:

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