Bud grafting class at Curtis Pond Nursery

Delton Curtis gave a MOFGA class on bud grafting last Saturday at his place in Thorndike. Delton grafts several thousand trees each year for Fedco, and he co-taught the bench grafting class I took in Unity the spring before this last. His place is a real inspiration, with fruit trees everywhere, ranging from newly planted nursery stock to ancient wild apple trees that he cut clear and has grafted over to recognized varieties. Here are a few notes from the class:

He favors 6′ plastic deer netting for fence – buys from AM Leonard – catalog or http://www.amleo.com.
He also prefers their paraffin budding tape to Fedco’s, since it’s thinner and he thinks it breathes better. It’s wide, so he cuts it in half.
He prefers whip and tongue grafting for apples, pears, plums – since he can do it sitting down in his garage.
With peaches he has no luck with W&T, so he bud grafts them – recommends plum rootstock, since the Lovell peach rootstock isn’t hardy up here.
For cherries he lets the rootstock grow a couple years, then does a bark graft in the spring
A lot of his nursery stock is on relatively new ground; he buys compost by the 12yd dump from a local place, uses some kind of lime substitute sold by the same outfit (Hawk Ridge facility, in Unity). He also uses 10-10-10 at about half a bag per row (maybe 150′ by 3′?) He got a very nice stand of winter rye that was almost ripe when I was there; he said his plan was to bush-hog it down and let it re-seed for this winter. It got me excited again about trying some grain, either at home or in 5 Islands.
To control various critters that eat the tender leaders of the young trees he sprays a few times a year; borers don’t seem to bother trees that small.

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