Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Grafted Fruit Trees in my backyard

Stella Cherry
I started my first tree grafting project, and have yet to actually label the newly grafted branches. I know, major mistake. So before I forget, I grafted two other types of cherry onto my sweet Van Cherry Tree, the two grafts are Stella Cherry and Sam Sweet Cherry. Sam Sweet Cherry is a good pollinator for Rainer cherry. Stella cherry does not need a pollinator. I know that growing cherry trees as espalier, and expecting fruit, is harder than apple trees. They have to be grown as a fan instead of cordon style. Right now, I have two four cherry branches growing on the cords, this should keep their growth slow. This will give me time to figure out how many other types of cherry I will graft onto the tree.

Cherries are divided into groups: Sweet and Pie (pie are also called tart cherries).  My two grafted cherries are SWEET. I think the main
Van Cherries
dark cherry tree is also SWEET. This means, next year I should graft some tart and pie cherries onto the trees. Tart cherries bloom too late in the season to pollinate the others, this is okay because if I graft them, then I can get early and late season cherries.

Sam Cherries
Training cherry branches to grow along a cordon is more difficult than training apples. The branches are less pliable, so it is a good thing I am doing it now instead of later. Cherries grow on new growth wood only, which is why they must be grown as a fan. I am still training the bottom four branches to grow in a straight line on the fence, but later on I will have to allow the branches to grow into more of a fan. The important thing is that grafting different kinds of cherry allows for efficient pollination, and a good crop year after year. So next year, I need to graft two tart cherry branches onto the tree. This way, I will have a total of five different varieties of cherries growing on two trees.

I have two apple trees, one is a Red Delicious Apple and the other is a semi dwarf Gala Apple. The Gala Apple tree has nothing grafted onto it.
Gala Apples

On the Red Delicious apple tree I grafted a golden delicious apple branch. (lets hope it takes) If the graft survives, then next year I will try to grow a Granny Smith Graft on the same branch. Then I will grow all three (yellow) (red) and (green) apples as cordons up the fence. If it works, it will look pretty cool!

In the Raintree Nursery Catalog I read about a man, Sam Van Aken who grafted varieties of plums,peaches, nectarines, cherries and almonds onto one tree. He starts with a hardy root stalk, with a Shiro Japanese plum tree. Plums are grafted on the bottom of the tree, then apricots, while peaches are up on top.  I would love to take on a project like that, but I am working only with espalier trees.

Rainer Cherry Tree
Wine Grapes
Peach Tree (order November - April)

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