How to graft homesteading multi variety apple tree which makes it possible to have different kinds of apples in one tree.
Having to pick them all from the backyard is a nice luxury. It’s about making the right graft and there are two kinds: the cleft and the whip & tongue. Why make it like that?
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Multi-grafted trees are good for small backyards where there may be just enough room for one tree and can solve problems of pollination because they differ from each other. It’s all about grafting it right as it works on other fruits such as pears, cherries, and peaches.
Grafting is the process of taking a cut from one tree, attach it to another tree, and allow it to heal together and grow as a single tree. By grafting, cuts can be taken from one great apple tree, copied, and produce a large number of identical apples from that original cut. Trees have a layer within called cambium, which delivers water from the roots up to the leaves, and delivers sugars from the leaves down to the roots.
To get a successful graft, get the cambium of the tree and match it with another cambium so they can heal together quickly before it dries out and die.
Consider the tree’s size, the kind of apples wanting to grow, and do it during the ripening season, which is the spring. Cut from younger pieces of wood because it has the strength and richness in its cambium. To make a cleft graft, saw off the understock branch and leave at least 8 inches of it, split the branch stub with the grafting knife, hold the crack open with a toothpick from the center, and, with the grafting knife, carve the scion to a two-inch long wedge flat, not curved. For the whip & tongue graft, cut the stock and scion at a flat surface that is 1.5 inches long. Use the blade carefully while cutting the scion with a thumb on the wood pushing along the blade. With the tongue, start just below the tip and cut slow and shallow all the way to towards the bottom, but just short of it. It can easily snap off, so be extra careful.
It takes time (about 1-3 years) and practice to get it right. This is before caring for it, which is just as hard to do. Leave the graft’s wrapping on for at least the first month, but remove the splicing tape because it can choke the vascular tissue and keep it from getting any water or sugar. If it fruits instantly, it will fail for sure because it doesn’t have the strength to support the weight of the apple, so cut it off.
Also cut the “dummy scion” is from the larger cleft graft in the next spring because it will fill up with a bark in between them, which will cut off branch growth. There’s a lot of tedious things here, so handle everything with care.
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