I'm a New Grafter
My friend Ann invited me to go with her to the scion exchange in Santa Rosa. The Redwood Chapter of the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG) put together the annual event.
I've heard about this event for many years but this was the first time I've attended. People bring different twigs and branches (scion) of deciduous fruit trees to be grafted onto an existing fruit tree. I wish I had taken pictures, but I was so busy taking everything in I didn't think to take photos of the room.
Here's how it worked: The tables were categorized by fruit names. In the fruit-named area were bags of twigs/branches (no leaves) labeled with the variety name of the fruit. We were instructed to select scions and put them in a plastic bag that we brought to take home - Really simple. Except there were dozens of varieties. And there were no descriptions of what the fruit would be like. I guess one could checkonline to figure out which varieties work well where you live. But here is what I decided to do. I picked the most interesting names. I figured, if the graft works and I get fruit from those twigs, and they don't taste good, at least I would have a good name for them. Yes, the cherries from this branch may not be sweet but they are called ‘BelleMagnifique'.
Two important takeaways: graft only different varieties of the same fruit, unless it's a stone fruit - like peach to an apricot, or plums, pluots, nectarine. Any of those can be grafted on any tree from the group or all can be grafted on just one tree to get a fruit salad.
So, an apple tree will take only different varieties of apples. It is the same with mulberry, pomegranate, persimmon, grapes. These trees will only succeed with a graft of the same fruit. I had to wait a few days for the rain to stop and for my new grafting knife to arrive. Once I had those tools, I got to work.
I have an espaliered apple tree that had never given me any fruit, perfect candidate.
Here is the finished apple with the tags – ‘Crispin', ‘Christmas Pink' and ‘Crabby Lady'. It was getting late. It was cold and windy. My fingers were getting numb, and I was getting crabby. ‘Winter Banana' would have to wait another day.
A few more takeaways: I learned that grafting a twig to a tree branch is fun in a meditative way, and
at the same time frustrating I couldn't get the ties to work. I also learned that all the listening, reading and watching other people do it helped but experiencing it is a whole different way of learning. It takes practice.
I have a few more things to do. Maybe next time, I'll get a chair to sit in and I'll start earlier in the day so my fingers won't be so cold.
Yay! I am a grafter; or we shall see each the outcome in a few months.