So a while back in my blog I mentioned that we would be doing some grafting, changing some apple trees from one variety to another. We did this task on this past Tuesday. In this blog, I’ll show you how this type of grafting works!
The process actually began back in February when we collected dormant shoots from our then-sleeping trees. This wood must be kept dormant, so we store it in refrigeration until it’s time to graft. The shoots are then trimmed into little sticks, called “scions”, about 3-4 inches long with two buds on each stick.
The scions are then trimmed on one end to expose the different layers of the wood from the outer bark down to the inner wood. They are kind of paired down on two sides to form a wedge.
Then a cut is made into the trunk of the host tree with a sharp grafting knife. These knives are extremely sharp and sturdy. The cut that is made is very precise and designed to accept the scion stick with it’s trimmed end. The scion is inserted into the cut, lined up so that the bark tissues are together, and pressed tight.
The grafted area is then wrapped tight with tape or elastic plastic to keep the tissues secure and in place. Then the area is painted with a wax based product that seals the cuts up . This will keep disease and insects out while keeping the tree tissue clean and the moisture in.
During this work the scions and the trunk cuts cannot be allowed to dry out at all, so time is of the essence. The professionals that did this work for us can perform the whole process in a matter of seconds! Each person on the crew has a specific job to do, and it is replicated thousands of times in a day. At our farm on Tuesday, they grafted 1,250 trees in just a few hours! Then on to the next farm.
Here I’ve linked a short video of Robbi VanTimmeren, who leads this dedicated grafting crew, performing a graft on one of our trees. Even though she slowed it down some for us, it goes quickly so you may have to watch it more than once! Notice that every action is performed with exacting precision. She makes a difficult task look much easier than it really is.
In the weeks ahead I’ll keep you posted on the progress these trees are making. The goal is that hopefully that little scion that we put in place this week will eventually take over and become the new tree, changing these trees from Red Delicious over to Honeycrisp! In the meantime…
Have a fruitful week!