Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grafting Espalier Fruit Trees

Okay.  I’m beginning my adventures in grafting.  Two of my espaliered (Am I even using that Frenchy word correctly?  I know what I mean.) fruit trees are a little sparse with their lateral branches.  My goal this year is to learn how to graft.  I’ve never done it before – ever; so I’m a bit apprehensive hoping that I don’t cause damage at worst or the grafts don’t take at least.  So here I go into my exploration.

DSC_2331_5737 My tool was a pair of sharp, disinfected pruning shears.  Making a clean, sterile cut helps the odds of this experiment working.

DSC_2300_5741The O’Henry Peach Tree is in need of two lateral branches.  When the tree was planted as a bare root there weren’t any lower branches and none have sprouted in the two years it has been in the garden.  Two sprouts with buds were clipped and placed in a labeled plastic bag and sealed.

DSC_2297_5740The Fantasia Nectarine is in need of three lateral branches.  One of the middle branches was removed because it died.  I think it may have suffered sunburn…not sure.  The same clean cuts were made on the nectarine just like the peach.


The cuttings are in the garage refrigerator.  I was instructed to let them rest there until the buds on the trees begin to swell sometime in February. 

image Courtesy Gardening Know How


At that point, I make a “T” cut on the tree where I would like to make the graft.  I’m getting several bits of advice for the next step.  Do I use wax, tar, or foil to seal the graft?  The image above suggests to simply bind the graft with some twine.  My research continues. 


Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Now I need to consider espaliering (How do you correctly use that Frenchy word?!) the camellias.


Kaytee said...

I don't know how to graft, but please keep us update. I'm really interested to see how you end up doing it!

Good luck! I hope it works.

Unknown said...

Wow you really like your fruit and veg - I'm very jealous of the variety you are able to enjoy. The red flame grapes look so sweet and tasty. I'll be back for some inspiration!

Bill Bird said...


Visit the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG) for all the grafting tips and tools that you need.

The newer process -- which is so much BETTER than the old way of doing things -- is to mimick the male-female relationship. Think about plugging a lamp into a socket. Then do the same thing with a tree graft. The branches that you want to graft onto a particular tree should have the male end. The trees receiving the grafted branches are the female end. You simply plug the two together.

At least -- that's how I remember the instructions that I read. It sounded fairly simple. And I'd look for a CRFG exchange in your area sometime next month. They host a lot of them -- and it's a good way to pick up branches of different varieties of fruit that you want, but do not have.


*Kaytee - I'll try to chronicle my experiment.
*Martin - Nice to have you share in the exchange.
*Bill - Thanks for the source.