This year things got a little out of hand. I wasn’t planning on grafting so many trees. But, I ended up making 161 trees.
18 of the apples are double grafted trees intended to give away as christmas present. A couple have been donated to the school where Kirsty runs the kitchen garden. And we have an opportunity to sell them at the local organic shop.
I invited a friend to join me and show him some grafting and pruning. He lives close by and is putting a mixed orchard this year as part of his permaculture design. I told him he could save a few dollars by making his own trees. In fact it worked out about one tenth, $2 a tree rather than $20 for a maiden tree.
MM102 – dwarfing apple, 45% seedling size
MM106 – semi vigorous apple, 65% seedling size
D6 – vigourous pear
Myro-29C – semi dwarf plum
Whip Tongue Graft
The main graft we use is the whip-tongue graft. Both root-stock and scion should be roughly the same size. About the size of a pencil is good to work with.
The scion and stock are fitted into one another. If the scion is smaller than the stock then it is aligned so the bark matches on one side only.
The whole graft is taped up with grafting tape to add further strength and keep the wound clean. The tape is usually removed about 4 to 5 months later (about christmas time).
We use aluminum tags, cut from old drink cans. I get about 10 tags from 1 can.
The other type of graft I use sometimes is the cleft graft. Sometimes the scion is just too small to be able to make an effective whip tongue graft. This type of graft is pretty easy.
As with the whip graft, the bark from the scion and the stock need to match up as closely as possible.
If you have enough scion, I put a second one in to increase the chance of success.
I always keep the tips from the roostocks and try to grow them for the following year. They are basically hardwood cuttings which I just stick in the ground.
I didn’t have enough time to prepare a proper bed for the hardwood cuttings so I just sheet mulched with newspapers to keep the weeds down for a while. The strike rate isn’t high, If half of them turned out alright then I will be happy.