Grafting Fruit Trees – A Step by Step

A couple of years ago, on our yearly trip to Israel to visit family, we met a local farmer who came to do some maintenance work on my mother-in-law’s fruit trees.

I started following the guy like a lost puppy, and what do you know? He took me in

After that day a couple of years ago, I wrote the post 4 Techniques of Grafting Fruit Trees which is one of the most successful posts on the blog.

And I get why… Grafting is a tricky business. There are so many benefits to grafting, and people had been grafting fruit trees for years, but there are so few people who know how to do it and so many things that can go wrong, it’s like making cheese, you have to practice and practice and practice until you get it right.

This is why it’s so valuable to learn it first hand from someone that has a ton of experience.

So today is your lucky day! Our last visit to Israel was right in grafting season and we got to tag along to a day of grafting and fruit trees maintenance and I am sharing it all here with you!

But let’s start at the beginning…

What is Grafting?

To graft means to join two living trees from the same family into one by uniting a shoot or a bud with a standing tree.

What are the Benefits of Grafting?

In my post 4 Techniques of Grafting Fruit Trees , I give a couple of examples of situations when you’ll want to graft another tree on your existing tree, those might help you understand the benefits below much better so make sure you check them out.

There are so many benefits for grafting… Obviously, the main benefit that comes to mind is having two (or more) different kinds of fruits on one tree, like, an orange and a lemon, or two (or more) different verities of fruit on the same tree, like, green apple and red apple.

Since you still have just one tree it means you still have to take care of just one tree. You don’t need additional space, you don’t need to water more, you don’t need to fertilize another tree or prune another tree, yet at the end of the day, you’ll get two different kinds of fruits.

Grafting also saves you waiting time. When you plant a new tree, it will take it a few years to start producing a nice amount of fruit for you. When you graft on an existing tree you’ll have fruit ready for picking in just a couple short seasons.

Grafting can also save a sick or broken tree. You will see this in the tutorial below… What we did is used the trunk and roots of a tree that was not producing anymore to support a new tree.

Another benefit for grafting is fighting insects and diseases. If your tree is suffering but you know of another verity that is doing much better in your area, you can graft the new verity on your tree to help it produce better.

Also, some trees have a female and a male tree and you have to plant both in order for them to pollinate each other and produce fruit, this is called cross-pollination. Pears, plums, and pecans are among the trees in this group. So in this case, you can graft a female on a male or a male on a female and you will have one tree that can pollinate itself. Magic, huh?

Which Tree on Which Tree?

This is where experience comes in… Basically, you have to remember that the trees you join have to be from the same family for them to successfully “communicate”.

For example, trees within the prune family such as peaches nectarines, and plums can be grafted together. Those can also be joined with an almond tree since it is from the same family.

Verities of olives can be grafted on to one another. Verities of apples or apples and crabapples can be grafted together.

You will have to make sure you check each combination before you graft.

The best way, though, is to ask someone with experience. If you have grafted before and you know of a successful combination, please list it in the comments below, hopefully, it will save someone a whole lot of work.

When to Graft?

You can’t just graft anytime of the year.

It has to be done at the end of winter just before spring. It has to be done before the tree starts to bud when the branches are still completely bare.

You want to do this on a sunny day but not a hot day. We want plenty of light but not a lot of heat.

Here in the South, it will probably be best to graft somewhere in the end of February or the beginning of March. Pay attention to when your fruit trees usually start to bud and pay close attention to the weather.

Ok, so this is the basics, now, let’s get out to the field and see how it’s done…

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

The first tree we grafted was my mother-in-law’s olive tree. A couple of years ago, it was split in the center because of a load of snow and since then it stopped producing.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Here is another look of the trunk. It was split almost all the way to the bottom.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

So in this case, grafting was done in order to save the tree. Instead of pulling the tree out or just cutting it down and wasting the space, we took advantage of the already established root system and grafted a new olive verity on this existing tree.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

The first step was clean-up. We needed to cut the tree past the point where it split and prepare it for grafting.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Raik worked with a small chainsaw to cut off a little bit at a time…

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

All the way down past the split…

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

We didn’t want to cut more than what we had to.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

This tree had another big branch that came from the trunk. We could have left it and have the tree producing two kinds of olives, but since my mother-in-law didn’t like the olives this tree produced, we shortened this branch as well and prepared it for grafting.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Ok, that’s it. Now we are ready to start.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

Raik has his own olive grove that he is caring for for years, so he brought with him a few young branches from one of his trees.

It is VERY important that you graft branches from a tree that you know or from someone that you absolutely trust. You want to make sure you graft a healthy tree so you don’t damage your own tree and that you graft from a tree that you know has a great production of healthy and delicious fruit.

It will be a shame to do all this work and find out in a couple of seasons that you grafted from a tree that does not produce well.

Grafting fruit trees might seem like an intimidating task that not many know how to do... This is a step by step picture tutorial for grafting fruit trees.

This is the one we will work on first…

See the tiny bud between the branch and the leaf? We want to make sure we don’t damage it because this is where the new tree is going to grow from.

 

 

To be Continue……..

Advertisements

Tips to Grow Hard-to-Propagate Plants!

Growing Hard-To-Propagate Plants

Some plants thrive extremely easily whether grown through cuttings or otherwise. However, many are difficult to propagate no matter how much you pamper them. Out of such plants only a small percentage shows rooting. Well, there are a few extra steps one may follow to improve and accelerate their rooting rate. Follow them and let the plant rooting rate elevate dramatically:

  • Sufficient Lighting: It goes without saying that most plants need at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. So arrange a site where they can receive sufficient sunlight in order to thrive. If you are growing hydroponically, make sure to keep those grow lights on continuously to let your plants take roots. This is because optimal light is required for the formation of carbohydrates which in turn help to create roots.
  • Choose an Appropriate Cloning or Rooting Gel: If you are cloning your plants, it is necessary to select a subtle rooting or cloning gel for rapid root development. This will make your stems grow fast by providing them the necessary hormones required for faster rooting. The gel will not only let a large percentage of cuttings grow but will also prevent them from transplant shock. Recommended is to use Olivia’s Cloning Gel for 100% success rate.
  • Monitor Temperature Carefully: It is necessary to choose a suitable growing site that will provide an optimal temperature to your plants. If you have fragile cuttings, make sure to maintain an appropriate temperature for your grow room too. Although the exact ideal temperature depends upon the plants you are growing, grow room’s temperature should not exceed 75 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  • ‘Wound’ Those Stems: If you have stem cuttings, scrape off the outer section of their bottom with a razor blade or knife. This is called wounding and it will help exposing the inner section more, which in turn will encourage root formation. Moreover, applying cloning gel directly to the innermost part will prove to be more effective.

http://www.nanthinifarms.com                                                     nathinifarms@gmail.com

nanthinifarmstn@gmail.com

How to Grow Pomegranates From Seeds

455236553

Pomegranates (Punica granatum) are small but versatile trees with slender branches that reach 6 to 15 feet tall. Dwarf varieties of pomegranate excel as container plants, but pomegranates grown from seed may not retain the dwarf characteristics of the parent plants. Unlike vegetative propagation, growing pomegranates from seed does not preserve the characteristics of the parent plant. Seeds taken from a hybrid variety of pomegranate exhibit traits from the parent plants at random. This can result in plants with a different growth habit or fruit with noticeably different size or taste. Seeded pomegranates planted outdoors root easily, but cleaning them improves their germination rate.

Step 1

Cut a pomegranate in half and remove the individual arils from the fruit. Pick the individual arils out of the fruit and place them on a paper towel. Fold the paper towel over the seeds and rub the paper towel against the seeds between your hands to break and absorb the aril coatings. Rinse the seeds with water and clean off any juice still clinging to them.

Step 2

Loosen the soil around the planting site using a hoe. Spread a 4-inch layer of compost over the area and thoroughly mix it into the upper 8 to 10 inches of the soil. Choose a planting site that gets full sun. Pomegranates grow best in loamy soil, but they can also grow in clay-rich or sandy soil.

Step 3

Plant each pomegranate seed 1/2 to 1 inch into the soil and cover it with soil. Space the seeds at least 15 feet apart if you plan to grow full-sized trees for their fruit. Plant seeds that will form a hedge no closer than 6 feet apart.

 

Step 4

Insert your finger into the soil around your seeds two to three times per week and water the soil if it is dry to the touch to a depth of several inches. Water the soil around each seed enough to dampen the soil without saturating it. Pomegranate seeds typically germinate within 45 to 60 days of planting.

Step 5

Check the moisture content of the soil twice a week and water the pomegranate seedlings weekly with enough water to thoroughly wet the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches without saturating the soil. Water the soil around the trees evenly to promote root growth.

Step 6

Spread 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer evenly over the soil around the base of each tree in late fall and again in early spring. Apply the fertilizer on a day you plan to water your tree, before you water, to ensure the fertilizer is properly watered into the soil. Use 2 cups of 10-10-10 fertilizer per application once the tree begins producing fruit.

 
                                                                                                               nanthinifarmstn@gmail.com

Grafting for a Tree Makeover

gra

A case in point: I grow about two dozen varieties of pear, all trees I made myself by growing rootstocks from pear seeds and grafting onto those rootstocks one or more stems (known as scions) of a variety I want to grow. (Pears on seedling rootstocks grow very large and I’m afraid of heights. So I usually make dwarf trees by grafting scions onto scions of special dwarfing rootstocks that, in turn, get grafted on the seedling rootstocks.) Problem is that I’ve never tasted many of the varieties I’ve grown. I chose them from recommendations or from printed descriptions. Alas, some varieties never live up to their promise, for me at least. And then, it’s off with their heads.

gra2

In contrast to Henry, I don’t lop off their heads and that’s the end of them. Instead, after lopping a tree back to a fairly low stub of trunk, I then stick on some new scions. With a full-grown root system beneath them, the scions, once they’ve knit to the rootstocks, really take off, often growing more than 3 feet in one season.
These “top-worked” trees also bear quickly, sometimes within a couple of years. And a couple of years after that, the graft smooths out so that you’d hardly guess at the apparently brutal treatment the tree endured just a few years back. Unless, of course, I’m not pleased with the fruit of the new variety, in which case it’s again, “Off with your head.”
My favorite graft for these tree makeovers is known as a bark graft and the time to do it is just as leaves are beginning to poke out of recently dormant stems and the bark easily separates from the wood. Which is now, early May, here in New York’s Hudson Valley. Ideally, foot-long scions of one-year-old wood (last years growth) have been gathered a few weeks previous and have been kept dormant with refrigeration

The nice thing about the bark graft is that it comes with an insurance policy. Onto a stub of a trunk a couple of inches or more in diameter, you can stick 3, 4, 5, or even more scions, depending on just how wide the trunk is. Only one scion needs to grow; the more that are grafted, the greater the chance of success.

The graft itself is simple. I make a long, evenly sloping cut, typically about 2 inches long, near the base of the scion. Then, into the freshly cut stub on which the scions will be grafted, I make two slits about the width of the base of the scion and through the bark and down to the wood. Lifting the bark near where it was cut provides an opening into which I slide the cut scion with this sloping cut facing inward and deep enough to cover its sloping cut. This is repeated with the other scions, all around the stub. One or two staples from a staple gun or a wrapping of electrician’s tape suffices to hold the scions and the flap of bark from the rootstock in place

gra3

Finally, and very important, everything needs to be sealed against moisture loss. A number of specially formulated concoctions will do this; my favorite is Tree-Kote.
Today I lopped the head off some major limbs of a 16-year-old chestnut seedling and grafted the variety Peach (yes, it’s a chestnut variety) on one large stub and the variety Colossal on the other. Tomorrow, I’ll decapitate a Doyenne de Juillet pear that’s only claim to fame, here at least, is that the fruit ripens in July, and stick some Beurre Superfin scions onto the waiting stub.
No harm done.

http://www.nanthinifarms.com                whats App me +6585050473

Plant Propagation Techniques – Layering Plants

There are several plant propagation techniques and this article covers the plant propagation technique of layering.

layering-plants-different-methods

Layering is really suitable only for woody-stemmed plants — shrubs and trees, including some house plants. This method often succeeds where cuttings fail. Some herbaceous plants, notably carnations and pinks, will also respond to layering.

Many of the pendulous or lax-stemmed shrubs and trees, such as Forsythia suspensa and Salix x chrysocoma, layer themselves naturally when their stems touch the ground. The constant rubbing of the branch against the ground causes an injury to the bark, and roots develop from the callus formed over the wound to anchor the branch.

 

Simple Layering

The best branches for layering are non-flowering ones that have grown in the current year — that is, the freshest, smoothest shoots. Deciduous plants are best layered in autumn or winter; evergreens in autumn or spring.

First, fork over the surface of the soil around the plant. Choose any flexible branch and bend it down until it reaches the ground 23-30cm (9-12in) from the tip, held at an upright angle. Strip the leaves off the branch where it touches the soil.

Wound the underside of the branch to restrict the flow of sap by cutting a shallow tongue with a knife, cutting towards the growing tip. Alternatively, twist the branch to injure the tissue. Dig a hole 7.5-10cm (3-4in) deep beneath the wound and part-fill it with a proprietary seed or potting compost. A light dusting of a proprietary hormone rooting powder over the wound may encourage quicker rooting, but is not essential.

Push the wounded part of the branch into the hole, forming a right-angle at the wound. Peg the branch to the ground with a bent piece of galvanized wire, 15-20cm (6-8in) long, and stake the upright tip. Fill the hole with more compost. Repeat with other branches. Water the area thoroughly,. and ensure that it never dries out.

Check the new roots by carefully scraping away the soil. Most ornamental shrubs take six to twelve months to root sufficiently, though magnolias and rhododendrons require up to two years before they can be severed from the parent plants. If roots are well established, sever the new plant from the parent, lift with a good ball of soil and plant elsewhere in the garden.

If the roots are not well grown, but the layer is healthy, replace the soil and leave it for a few more months before re-examining the root formation.

 

Tip Layering

Certain plants can be propagated simply by burying the tips of their shoots in the soil — brambles such as blackberries and loganberries are particularly successful.

Towards the end of mid summer, bend down a new season’s shoot and, where it touches the ground, dig a 15cm (6in) hole with a hand trowel. Plant the entire tip of the shoot in the hole and firm it in. Peg down the shoot if it is particularly springy.

By mid autumn the tips will have rooted. Sever each new plant from its parent by cutting just above a bud. Do not move the plant yet. In late autumn transfer each new cane to its permanent bed. It will bear fruit in either its second or third year.

 

Serpentine Layering

A handy plant propagation technique of propagating woody plants with long pliable stems — especially climbers, such as honeysuckle, clematis and jasmine — is called serpentine layering. It should be done at the same time as ordinary layering. Use long, trailing shoots that have grown during the current year.

Bend a shoot to the ground carefully and, where it reaches the soil, dig a 5cm (2in) deep hole beneath it. Wound the shoot underneath as for ordinary layering. Peg the wounded part of the shoot into the hole with a piece of bent wire or a small forked twig. Fill in the hole with a proprietary seed or potting compost.

Cover with garden soil and firm in with your fingers. Leave the next two pairs of leaves above ground and repeat the operation. Continue this way along the entire length of the shoot.

One year later, the serpentine layer should have rooted. Scrape the soil away from each buried section of the layer and, if it is well rooted, sever it from the preceding section with secateurs. (If it is not well rooted, bury the whole layer again and check it a few months later.) Each rooted section is now ready to be severed and planted out in the normal way.

Transplanting is made easier if, instead of pegging the shoots into holes in the ground, they are pegged into pots of compost sunk into the ground. When the layer has rooted it can then be severed and moved without disturbing the new roots.

 

Growing from Runners

A runner is a type of aerial or underground stem which, when it comes into contact with moist soil, roots along the stem and forms new plants — a form of natural layering.

The runners formed by healthy strawberry plants, and other ornamental members of the genus Fragaria, provide an easy means of propagation. In early summer, anchor the plantlets with pegs if the plants are grown in matted rows. Let them root into the soil, removing the remainder of the runners beyond the first plant.

Alternatively, select the strongest plantlets and peg them down into pots, sunk to their rim in the soil, and containing John Innes potting compost No.1. Water the pots frequently to aid root formation and remove all other runners as they form.

The plantlets should be separated from the parent in mid to late summer and planted out from their pots. If, for some reason, planting is delayed until the autumn, the young strawberry plants should not be allowed to fruit the first season. Pinch out the flowers as they appear.

Some house plants, notably mother-of-thousands (Saxifraga stolonifera) and spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum), also produce small plants either on the flowering spikes or on thin runners from the parent plant.

With mother-of-thousands, detach the thread-like runners, each of which bears a plantlet, from the parent plant. Nip off the runner from the plantlet. Fill a small pot with moist John Innes No.1 potting compost.

Make a shallow depression in the surface and set the plantlet in it. Firm the compost round the base of the plant. Do not water, but place a polythene bag over the pot and secure it with a rubber band. Keep the pot out of direct sunlight and at a temperature of 18-21° C (64-70°F). Condensation should ensure that the compost does not dry out; otherwise water gently.

After about ten days, the plant-let should have rooted. Remove the bag and set the pot in a lighter and cooler place.

Spider plants often bear a number of plantlets on tough stalks. These can be layered into individual small pots of John Innes No.2 potting compost and secured with wire clips. After about three weeks, the plantlets should have rooted enough to be severed.

 

Air Layering

When branches are too stiff or too high to be layered at soil level, they may be ‘layered’ in the air. This can be done between late spring and mid summer Air layering is particularly recommended for Ficus species, such as the common rubber plant, and for magnolias. This method of propagation is sometimes known as Chinese layering.

After some years, house plants such as dizzygothecas and rubber plants may grow too tall, and will often lose their lower leaves. Rather than throw the plant out, propagate it by air layering in spring to produce a new, shorter stemmed plant.

Select a stretch of the branch of the current year’s growth and strip off the leaves in the middle. Then cut off a shallow slice of wood and put rooting powder on the cut.

Wrap a sheet of polythene around the area of the cut and tie the bottom of it with raffia or string. Fill the open-topped tube with a mixture of equal parts moist peat, coarse sand and sphagnum moss. Fasten the top with more string or raffia.

The conditions needed for rooting of the air layer are constant moisture, exclusion of sunlight and restriction of the stem. Therefore, it is necessary to use black polythene and well-moistened rooting mixture. Once the polythene is sealed, no further watering will be needed.

In three to six months, when rooted — check by unfastening the top of the polythene — remove the polythene and cut off below the roots. Pot up the new plant into a 11-15cm (4-½ – 6in) pot containing a proprietary potting compost.

Place the potted plant in a closed frame for two weeks and keep it moist, then harden it off. This entails opening the frame during the day, gradually admitting more air until the frame is left open entirely. Plant out the following spring.

How To Take A Cutting Grow FREE Plants For Your Garden!

c1a

Learn how to take a cutting and grow free plants for your garden. Propagating plants is really easy and a lot of fun!

Propagating your own plants is easy and a lot of fun! You can start off your own free plants with a very simple technique that even beginner gardeners can try. So get your secateurs out and let’s get started!

During the winter when the plants are dormant is the right time to take hardwood cuttings. These are twigs that are not soft anymore and that have grown during the last growing season. This method can be used on most deciduous shrubs and trees (and also on some evergreens).
You will discover that some plants take root easily and others are harder to take root. This shouldn’t discourage you, though. There is nothing much to be lost other than a few cuttings and a little bit of time. You will, no doubt, be able to produce free plants for your garden and maybe even surplus for friends and neighbors!

When Is The Best Time To Take Hardwood Cuttings?

In general, this can be done from when the leaves come off in the fall until very early spring before or when the buds are starting to swell. Avoid times that are very frosty.

What You Need:

  • a pair of sharp secateurs
  • rooting powder or homemade willow water (some plants root without this but it helps!)
  • a spade (if you are going to root them in soil)
  • pots with potting soil mixed with sharp sand or grit

How To Take A Cutting Step By Step

c2

1. Choose twigs from the last season that are well-ripened i.e. they are not green anymore.

Avoid older branches. The bark on these is more weathered and darker.

c3

2. At the top of the cutting cut right above a bud at a slight angle.

c4

3. Cut below a bud at the bottom of the cutting.

c5

4. A cutting should have at least 3-4 buds (or more). Depending on the plant and where on the plant you cut from the distance between the buds can vary significantly.

c6

5. We soak the cuttings overnight in willow water as described here.
This is easier if you carefully bundle the cuttings

c7

If you use hormone rooting powder, dip the bottom end of the cutting in, shake off any excess and insert the cutting into pots filled with potting soil.

With a large quantity of cuttings, it might be more economical if you put them in soil. About two-thirds of the cutting should be buried.