The picture above shows the taped graft of a McIntosh apple to the existing tree branch.
In the heart of the winter season (mid-February) deep in the tree’s dormancy period, I carefully pruned away the crowded branches and shaped the tree to force growth downward and out. This pruning helps to stimulate proper growth and revitalize the tree for better fruit production. Pruning is also a precursor to grafting. During the same time of winter, I cut scion from 3 of my neighbor’s apple trees. The varieties I chose to take were 1) Granny Smith, 2) Cortland and 3) McIntosh. The latter two are red apples and the Granny Smith is a green apple. I cut 3 scion off of each variety. The scion were wrapped in damp towels, placed in plastic bags and kept cool in the refrigerator for nearly 2 months.
The first step of the grafting process is to clean the knife and pruning clippers. This is done by applying Isopropyl Alcohol (aka Rubbing Alcohol) to the blade. The purpose is to ensure that the cutting implement is sterile. It is important that the blade is sterile so that no fungus or other harmful bacteria enters the open wound I will be inflicting on the tree.
Grafting tools; bottom is the paraffin with application brush, above it is the very sharp knife, label, pruning clippers and wrapping tape.
Next, the tree branch that has been selected for grafting is snipped and split in the middle with a sharp knife. Then, the scion are removed from the storage bag and peeled in a -V- shape to reveal the cambium layer. This cambium layer needs to match the cambium of the existing branch on the tree. The idea it adhere the new fruit stock (scion) to the old tree branch. This method is just one of many ways to graft and it is referred to as “saddle grafting“.
The grafted wood is then wrapped with tape to keep the cut tightly connected to the scion. A coating of paraffin is applied to the top of the new graft to help retain moisture and the grafts are labeled to identify the newly added variety.
Timing of the grafting process is difficult to get exactly right. It should take a few weeks to determine if the grafts have been successful. I hope to have pictures of the updated and successful grafts.