As reported earlier, we have a "wildlife orchard" and a "serious" orchard. The serious orchard saw significant tree deaths over the last couple of winters. Furthermore, I extended it into the vineyard because the grapes were not paying their rent.
I planted Bud-118 apple rootstock in the "holes" and in some of the vineyard annex. They were puny things when I got them. They were 3/16" in diameter which is slightly thicker than a wooden matchstick.
Today I attempted greenwood approach grafts on 8 of them. This is a photo essay of that effort. After some agonizing, I chose Novaspy as my "frame" variety. It is supposedly coldhardy to -25F and the USDA reports that it is resistant to fire blight. It is a good apple in its own right for quality although it has not been a heavy bearer for me. That may be due to shortcomings in my management.
Ed Fackler, a commercial orchardist in Southern Indiana (a brutal environment for growing apple trees) rates Novaspy 14th on his "favorite" list. This is high praise from a man who has trialed well over a thousand varieties.
|Another mediocre shot. The scion piece is the lighter, vertical piece on the left. the rootstock is the darker piece on the right.|
|Wrapped up all tight with a #33 rubber band.|
|These are intentionally very close to the ground. I lie on my belly to make these grafts. Bud-118 is not noted for being resistant to fire blight and I want to reduce the exposure.|
Being an enthusiastic and proficient lier is almost mandatory when one is a horticultural blogger. It helps if one can do it with style and panache. There are, of course, reasons why Northerners are much better liers than folks from the southernmost states: fire ants. Some Southerners lie....but they don't so much as lie as levitate a short distance from the ground. It is almost cheating. I suspect highly developed arrectores pilorum may be the culprit.
If you know anything about grafting you know that there is not a snowball's chance in hell of these things surviving unless I can ameliorate the sun loading and dehydrating effects of the wind.
|That is right, yea old brown paper lunch bag. I still use them....for grafting.|
|A little bit of masking tape is added to pinch the top slit shut. Each approach graft has its own little tent.|
Expect another report in a couple of weeks.