grafting appletree

Combine the best of both worlds trees and create your own perfect tree through grafting! You can multiply trees in several different ways. Most take cuttings or grow plants by sowing some seed. But this is not always the best method, especially with fruit trees there is a better option; grafting.

So what is grafting?

With grafting you combine two trees (or plants) to one single tree. You combine useful characteristics from both trees and create a new tree with all the characteristics. Basically you just cut and paste a new tree.

Why should we graft?

So why would grafting be the best way to proceed? Take for example an apple tree. You can just sow the seeds of an apple and a little tree will sprout. However there are several ‘problems’ with this tree. The seedling will take years to mature. It can take up to 10 years before the tree starts bearing fruit, that’s quite the investment. But besides that there’s a bigger issue; you don’t know how the fruit will taste! Perhaps the apple who’s seed you’ve sown was a delicious big red apple, but that doesn’t mean the offspring will be the same, it could just as well turn out that the fruit is small and sour not even the color has to be the same!

That’s because the seed in an apple is a cross between the male en female parts of a flower. Both ‘parents’ have passed on their genes to the new plant, resulting in a new unique tree. But with fruit trees you don’t want a unique plant, you want a tree with the same delicious fruit as the parent tree!

With grafting you take a branch, called scion, of an adult tree with the delicious fruit and paste it on the roots, called rootstock, of a younger (seedling) tree. That way you combine the good qualities of strong rootstock with the qualities of the adult tree. The rootstock often has good qualities like disease resistance while the scion has the good quality fruit.

An added advantage of grafting trees is that the new grafted tree is almost instantaneously ready to produce fruit. The scion came from an adult tree and is already ready to produce fruit, even when pasted on the younger rootstock. However it’s often a good idea to let the grafted tree mature a bit to make the connection between the scion and rootstock stronger before letting it hold fruit.

Cocktail tree

With grafting you combine two trees into one, but why stop there? You can added multiple scions to the same rootstock. For example you can have different kinds (cultivars) of apples on the same rootstock. Someone even succeeded in adding 40(!) cultivars to one rootstock!

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