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How to graft fruit trees

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I'm not going to bore you too much with the science of why growing a fruit tree from a seed won't get you the fruit tree you're hoping for - mainly because I'm not sure I understand it completely!

Suffice to say fruit trees reproduce in a similar way to humans - in that they need 2 different chromosomes in order to be fertilised. As we all know flowers are fertilised by the transference of pollen to one flower to another of the same species. All apple and pear trees need to be *cross- pollinated with pollen that comes from a tree of a different variety to themselves. So, for example, if you had two Bramley apple trees in your garden and no others for miles around then you will never get any fruit because you need a different variety of apple to fertilise your Bramley blossom and vice-versa.

Now with all this cross-pollination going on all sorts of genes from different trees, via the pollen carried by our friends the bees (other insects are involved e.g. wasps, flies, etc), end up fertilising each different blossom. So although the fertilisation process produces the apple you're expecting on your Bramley tree i.e. a bramley apple, all the seeds within that apple will be carrying genes from various other apple trees. So when you plant that seed you won't get a Bramley apple tree! You'll most likely get a horrible tasting and looking apple thing.

Now on occasions lovely ,delicious new varieties of apples are discovered by planting a seed and the seed you plant may just become a new variety! That is after all how most of the apples in the world have been discovered!

SO... grafting is basically the cloning of the mother plant which ensures you get the fruit you're after.

*Pollination ....

  • Most apple trees require cross-pollination. Even if it can be self-pollinated this will result in less vigour and little fruit. Check you have 2 trees that will pollinate each other.
  • E.g. ‘Old’ US varieties are good pollinators for old UK varieties - Golden delicious & Lord Lennox
  • www.orangepippintrees.co.uk - great website for all fruit questions

WHAT DO WE NEED TO GRAFT.

Grafting is the union of ROOTSTOCK & SCION WOOD

WHAT IS ROOTSTOCK?

  • The use of rootstocks dates back to Ancient Greece
  • Traditionally apples were grafted onto apple tree saplings (grown from suckers from apple trees) or onto hawthorn saplings.
  • Problems with using this type of rootstock included disease passed from the parent plant but mainly no control over the size of the tree. By C19th there were 14 types of the same rootstock – very confusing!
  • Early in C20th East Malling,Kent, research station classified and standardised all rootstocks into correct distinct types
  • Merton research station joined and attempted to create rootstocks resistant to woolly aphids.
  • This work resulted in the rootstocks commonly used throughout the world today – they are referred to as M or MM series

WHAT IS SCION WOOD?

  • The scion wood is taken from the tree you want to reproduce.
  • Take the cutting from last years growth and take it in winter.
  • Needs to be quite a good thick bit of growth
  • Wrap the cut ends in damp tissue and keep somewhere cold. Outside or in the fridge
  • Remember to label!

Grafting takes place in Dec – March

HOW DOES THE SCION JOIN TO THE ROOTSTOCK

  • The cambium layer carries all the plants nutrients and water
  • Within the cambium layer 2 types of cells are developed. These run the full length of the stem or branch and carry the nutrients.
  • The principle of grafting is to join up the cambium of both rootstock and scion.
  • When the 2 sections come out of dormancy their cambium layers will begin to produce new cells to join the vessels of each section together
  • The cuts are made at an angle to provide more surface area and increase the chance of a bond.

 

 

How to graft fruit trees

I'm not going to bore you too much with the science of why growing a fruit tree from a seed won't get you the fruit tree you're hoping for - mainly because I'm not sure I understand it completely!

Suffice to say fruit trees reproduce in a similar way to humans - in that they need 2 different chromosomes in order to be fertilised. As we all know flowers are fertilised by the transference of pollen to one flower to another of the same species. All apple and pear trees need to be *cross- pollinated with pollen that comes from a tree of a different variety to themselves. So, for example, if you had two Bramley apple trees in your garden and no others for miles around then you will never get any fruit because you need a different variety of apple to fertilise your Bramley blossom and vice-versa.

Now with all this cross-pollination going on all sorts of genes from different trees, via the pollen carried by our friends the bees (other insects are involved e.g. wasps, flies, etc), end up fertilising each different blossom. So although the fertilisation process produces the apple you're expecting on your Bramley tree i.e. a bramley apple, all the seeds within that apple will be carrying genes from various other apple trees. So when you plant that seed you won't get a Bramley apple tree! You'll most likely get a horrible tasting and looking apple thing.

Now on occasions lovely ,delicious new varieties of apples are discovered by planting a seed and the seed you plant may just become a new variety! That is after all how most of the apples in the world have been discovered!

SO... grafting is basically the cloning of the mother plant which ensures you get the fruit you're after.

*Pollination ....

  • Most apple trees require cross-pollination. Even if it can be self-pollinated this will result in less vigour and little fruit. Check you have 2 trees that will pollinate each other.
  • E.g. ‘Old’ US varieties are good pollinators for old UK varieties - Golden delicious & Lord Lennox
  • www.orangepippintrees.co.uk - great website for all fruit questions

WHAT DO WE NEED TO GRAFT.

Grafting is the union of ROOTSTOCK & SCION WOOD

WHAT IS ROOTSTOCK?

  • The use of rootstocks dates back to Ancient Greece
  • Traditionally apples were grafted onto apple tree saplings (grown from suckers from apple trees) or onto hawthorn saplings.
  • Problems with using this type of rootstock included disease passed from the parent plant but mainly no control over the size of the tree. By C19th there were 14 types of the same rootstock – very confusing!
  • Early in C20th East Malling,Kent, research station classified and standardised all rootstocks into correct distinct types
  • Merton research station joined and attempted to create rootstocks resistant to woolly aphids.
  • This work resulted in the rootstocks commonly used throughout the world today – they are referred to as M or MM series

WHAT IS SCION WOOD?

  • The scion wood is taken from the tree you want to reproduce.
  • Take the cutting from last years growth and take it in winter.
  • Needs to be quite a good thick bit of growth
  • Wrap the cut ends in damp tissue and keep somewhere cold. Outside or in the fridge
  • Remember to label!

Grafting takes place in Dec – March

HOW DOES THE SCION JOIN TO THE ROOTSTOCK

  • The cambium layer carries all the plants nutrients and water
  • Within the cambium layer 2 types of cells are developed. These run the full length of the stem or branch and carry the nutrients.
  • The principle of grafting is to join up the cambium of both rootstock and scion.
  • When the 2 sections come out of dormancy their cambium layers will begin to produce new cells to join the vessels of each section together
  • The cuts are made at an angle to provide more surface area and increase the chance of a bond.

 

 

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