A definition of grafting: A plant shoot or bud (scion) inserted into the stem or trunk of another where it it grows permanently.

newly grafted apple tree

Most all fruit trees ( and many ornamentals) have been grafted or budded (budding is a form of grafting using only one bud as opposed to grafting which a stick or scion is used which has a few buds on it). Without grafting the variability is too great from a seed . So if you want a specific variety, say Spitzenburg apple, grafting is the most efficient way of propagating it. If you planted a seed from a Spitzenburg you wouldn’t get that variety, there is so much genetic variability in those seeds there’s no telling what you might end up with, but not a Spitzenburg . Grafting as a way of variety cloning.

a plum tree grafted two years ago, going in to its 'third leaf'

April is time of year to graft here in north central Washington, and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. We almost always have some to do here; changing a variety or to graft a young tree to a variety we want but can’t find from a nursery.

Almond trees grafted to Apricot about 6 or 7 years ago

Apricot grafts, about 8 years old

We’ve been grafting professionally for over twenty years, which means that we hire ourselves out to orchards who want to change a variety. Its much more economical to graft an orchard over then to pull out the trees, buy and plant new trees and install a new irrigation system.

apple orchard in process of being grafted over, in the foreground trees that have been done, the ones behind yet to be topworked

We’re not doing as much contract grafting as we did even a few years ago, aside from the work being hard on our ever-aging bodies it takes us away from our farm during a critical and busy time, but it is one of the ways that we make our living off farm.
As long as I’ve been doing it it still amazes me that it works, I mean put a stick in a tree and expect it to grow!? But it does…


4 Responses to “Grafting”

  1. Fascinating, never knew this! Thanks for educating me

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  3. […] grafting, what it is and why do it, check out this link of a blog entry I wrote a few years ago: and look up other resources where ever they may be […]

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