Now that I've gotten your attention, I'll let you know what's happening outside the office these days.

Last year I planted two apple tree saplings. They were tiny little shoots that sprouted from trees I have at home. Figured I'm in this business for the long-term so I might as well start an orchard.

Savvy gardeners are aware that apple varieties we know and love (Macintosh, Red Delicious, etc.) all come from apple trees that have been grafted. The rootstock is typically a hardy, crab-apply variety, and the upper 90% is a cultivated variety that has been grafted onto the rootstock.

The scion, the part that is grafted onto the rootstock, comes from a tasty-apple tree variety. That's the asexual propagation. The trees are joined mechanically: hardy bottom, tasty top. It's literally done by cutting and taping. There's no fertilization at all. Once a variety has been bred, all subsequent trees of that variety are grafted, not planted and grown from seed. 

Anyway, this spring I grafted scions from tasty apple trees (Liberty and Golden Crisp) onto the rootstock. And at this point it looks like the scions are going to work. I will know for sure when the scions leaf out. If they do, then they will have incorporated into the rootstock to form a new tree. If they don't leaf out I will try again next spring.

AuthorJonathan Handelman