Spring grafting and photos

Here are a few pics from this spring.

First, Dave transplanting an apple tree in a bucket as described in the previous post:

bucket transplant

A few weeks back the fiddleheads were popping up when I walked the dogs downriver of a Saturday morning.  So I grabbed a bunch, boiled for 5 mins, and made an omelette:

fiddlehead breakfast

Continuation of the grafting experiment I described from last year, where I notched a large wild apple that had broken off at face level, grafted in some scions, and let the northern half sustain the tree while the new grafts took.  It suffered a setback when a porcupine attacked last summer, but all but one of the scions was live:

IMG_2166

IMG_2167

I carefully cut away the top with the small Stihl, so as not to smash the delicate year-old grafts:

IMG_2169

I then made the final cu with a pruning saw to give a nice surface finish, stuck in some Golden Russet scions on the north side for a two-tone tree, and doped up the cut surfaces. I also whip-and-tongue grafted a couple of small watersprouts that were kicking around, so the tree is 100% grafted over.

IMG_2173

Expecting great things from this technique, I applied it to a large (>8″) wild apple near the house that was way too skinny and tall to be fruitful, and had broken large pieces of the top in a previous year’s ice storm.  The extra energy had gone into a profusion of healthy new branches down low, so I took advantage to saw off the top at face level, graft in some scions (again a 50/50 split), and leave the branches to sustain the tree while the grafts take.

decapitation graft

This ‘decapitation grafting’ is pretty aggressive stuff, and I’m not sure if the tree structure below will stay healthy with such limited photosynthetic horsepower above, but I have high hopes.  I think I’ve finally learned the lesson of going too high up or far out in the tree to find wrist-size branches, only to realize that the fruit will be way out of reach. On the other hand, if the topworking is too low the deer just rip it to pieces.  Face level seems to be a pretty good happy medium so far as I can tell at this point.

Blossoms are just starting to show – let’s hope for another good harvest this year!

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