Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grafting course

If you buy a fruit tree it will probably be the product of a graft onto a rootstock. I used to think it was a really difficult thing to do but it just takes a bit of care and a very sharp knife.

Brighton Permaculture Trust run a one day Fruit Tree Grafting course which tells you all about it and gives plenty of practical experience. You cut a growth bud on a little chip of wood from the tree you want to propagate. Then you cut a matching chip into your rootstock and pop your chip into it holding it into place with tape.

Here's an apple tree I grafted on the course and got to take home - you can just see the graft held on by the tape just under the first leaves:

Once the graft has taken properly you trim off the rootstock above the union - and that's it!

I didn't realise that lots of ornamental trees are propagated in this way too, eg ash and maple. Also, it's cheap: whereas a fruit tree might cost £20 the rootstock would just be a £1 or so and your budding supply could be free. I like it! It's tempting to do a bit of guerilla gardening and start popping some fruit trees into wasteland here and there...

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