I have hundreds of crabapple trees on my property. I want to graft heritage apples onto the existing trees. The deer are thick here and it is not feasible to fence each tree so I would like to graft high on the trees, out of reach for the deer. Can I simply graft in the upper branches and cut back of the surrounding limbs or do I have to cut all the way back to the main trunk? Is the competition too much for nutrients and water if a lot of existing branches are left ? I appreciate any comments.
Im in no way an expert, but based on my youtube watching, you can graft different varieties to a tree without cutting it down to a stump.
Also, my grandfather used to graft different varieties as different branches of a wild apple tree (probably a crab apple or just a descendant of a normal apple). That tree is still alive and producing delicious fruit, not at all bitter, like the wild fruit.
http://www.permaculture.ee Country: Estonia (Northern Temperate. affected by Baltic Sea)
Snowy, cold winters w 6 hours of daylight and 18 hours of utter darkness in january.
Wet, windy, sunny summers w 18 hours of daylight and 6 hours of twilight in july.
January avg -18 ºC, (-0.4 ºF), min -34.6 ºC (-30.28 ºF) -> 44mm/1.7" snow
July avg 23.4 ºC (74.1 ºF), max 35 ºC (95 ºF) -> 72mm/2.8" rain
A lot of the information I've read has stated that grafting onto existing crab apple trees is preferable as they are well adjusted to the local climate increasing the survival and success rate of the grafted variety. Grafts that I have seen add on to a main branch to the trunk and smaller branches are cleared from the surrounding area to allow room for new growth.
Perhaps someone with more experience could chime in with how much of the existing tree you'll need to prune back in preparedness for the new variety.
YOU CAN ALMOST GRAFT AT ANY HEIGHT BUT THE RULE IS , HIGHER GRAFTING (TOPWORKING)= MORE DIFFICULTY AND GENERALLY MORE WORK UP IN THE TREE IN TERMS OF HIGHER NUMBER OF GRAFTS - BUT YOU SHOULD ALSO GET LARGER AMOUNTS OF FRUIT SOONER BECAUSE YOU REMOVE LESS WOOD....................... LOWER GRAFTING IS SAFER - NO LADDER BUT DEER MIGHT DISTURB OR DESTROY THE GRAFTS OR EVEN EAT THE NEW GROWTH . LOWER GRAFTING = LONGER WAIT TIME TO GET FRUIT OR AT LEAST IN ANY QUANTITY. ALSO THE CLOSER TO THE GROUND THAT YOU GRAFT , THE MORE DAMAGE YOU INDUCE BY CREATING LARGER CUTS INVITING PROBLEMS LIKE BUGS AND DISEASE , BUT IT STILL CAN BE DONE SUCCESSFULLY. HOPEFULLY YOU HAVE LOW BRANCHING TREES THAT HAVE MORE OF A WILD STRUCTURE CLOSER TO A BIG BUSH . IF YOU DO HAVE LOWER BRANCHING AND LOWER CROWNS , YOU CAN CAUSE LESS DAMAGE AND GET FRUIT QUICKLY. ALSO THE TREES WILL BE FULL SIZE SO DEER WILL NOT BE ABLE TO REACH WHAT YOU CAN EASILY REACH WITH A FRUIT PICKER . FOR SMALL DIAMETER GRAFTS , I PREFER THE WEDGE GRAFT WITH DUCT TAPE BECAUSE THE WEDGE GRAFT SEEMS TO BE EASY , SUCCESSFUL AND MECHANICALLY SOUND. DUCT TAPE WILL KEEP THE GRAFT FROM SNAPPING ONCE IT GROWS AND BECOMES VULNERABLE TO WIND. I'VE LOST A LOT OF SUCCESSFUL VIGOROUS GRAFTS ON WINDY DAYS . ALL YOU NEED IS ONE BIG GUST AND LOTS OF WORK IS WASTED. DUCK TAPE IS GREAT, JUST LEAVE IT ON TILL IT FALLS OFF. FOR GRAFTING A LARGE CUT , BARK GRAFTING GIVES YOU NICE LONG TIGHT CONTACT YIELDING A HIGH SUCCESS RATE EVEN FOR SOMEONE NOT SO GOOD WITH A KNIFE. BUT AGAIN , ONCE IT TAKES AND GROWS , IT BECOMES VULNERABLE TO WIND SO SMALL PIN NAILS OR SOME OTHER ANCHOR OR STAKE IS A GOOD IDEA. DO WEDGE GRAFTS ON BRANCHES UP TO 3/4" DIAMETER - BARK GRAFTING ON ANYTHING OVER 1" DIAMETER . ALSO TRY TO GET AS MANY VARIETIES THAT YOU CAN AND SEE WHICH ONES DO BEST IN YOUR AREA - IT WILL ALSO EXTEND YOUR HARVEST SEASON. YOU CAN GET REALLY EARLY APLLES LIKE GALA OR ANNA IN JUNE/JULY ALL THE WAY THROUGH WINTER WITH VARIETIES LIKE WINTER BANANA WHICH STAYS ON THE TREE IN SOME PLACES INTO FEBRUARY . SO THAT'S LIKE 6 TO 9 MONTHS OF FRESH APPLES . NOT TASTLESS REFRIGERATED JUNK FROM THE SUPERMARKET THAT'S BEEN BRED AND PICKED FOR SHIPPING AND APPEARANCE RATHER THAN TASTE.
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
I've been wondering about this as well. I have a mature crab apple tree that I planted years ago, as a seedling that I dug up from a friend's yard. Now, in front of the school where I teach is another crab apple, this one with fairly large (1") purple fruits that are delicious. I'd like to graft a scion from that tree onto my crab apple tree.
I've heard of people grafting a branch of crab apple onto an apple tree for pollination, so I guess this could work.
Joined: Jun 04, 2012
YOU NEED MORE THAN POLLINATION . YOU NEED TO TOPWORK THE WHOLE TOP OF THE TREE TO GET FRUIT OF THE SAME QUALITY.JUST PUTTING IN ONE BRANCH WILL ONLY GIVE YOU ONE GOOD BRANCH. I HAVE NEVER TASTED A GOOD CRABAPPLE SO GOOD LUCK WITH THAT AND YOU CAN HAVE THEM ALL. I WOULD PREFER TO GRAFT IN SOME SERVICEBERRIES OR JUNEBERRIES BECAUSE I HAVE READ THAT THEY CAN BE GRAFTED ONTO APPLE AND PEAR . I CAN'T WAIT TO TRY IT NEXT YEAR BECAUSE THAT WOULD ELIMINATE THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH SERVICEBERRIES - ROOTSUCKERING . I ALREADY HAVE LOQUATS ON MY PEAR TREE . MUCH FASTER WAY TO GET FRUITS THAN ANY OTHER METHOD - ASSUMING YOU ALREADY HAVE A BEARING APPLE OR PEAR TREE.
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
Location: suburbs of Chicago USDA zone 5b
I realize it would only be one good branch. I'm OK with that-although I haven't ruled out grafting on more that one. They are really good. The most flavorful apples I've ever eaten.
Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Location: northern California
Not all crabapples are compatible with apples....you might try a very few just to make sure it will work before attempting more. I discovered the hard way in GA that the native Southern crabapple (M. angustifolia?) is hardly ever compatible. Sometimes a graft would grow for 3 or 4 years before failing.
Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Location: North Central Michigan
i experimented with pear grafts this year, and they all failed..so I'm not really excited to try again..but I have several self seeded apples and a crab apple that I would love to be able to put new branches on of good fruit.
Bloom where you are planted.