Robert Baerg

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since Mar 02, 2017
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forest garden trees greening the desert
Tree Propagator, grafter. Attempting to establish food forests in Mongolia.
Sukhbaatar,Selenge, Mongolia
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Recent posts by Robert Baerg

We are located in northern Mongolia in what is probably a Zone 2 to 3. We have hot, dry summers and usually cold, dry winters. The summers are ideal for short season grapes, if you can get them to survive the winters. I started growing V. riparia , commonly known as Riverbank Grape, from seed that I got from Saskatchewan. I planted the resulting seedlings outside on the south side of my house and in our greenhouse. In both situations, due to our lack of snow cover, I had to lay the vines down and cover them. The vines started flowering in the 3rd year. Three years ago I got some "Concord" cuttings from Regina, Saskatchewan and I got some Vitis amurensis seed from Russia. It is native to the Amur River valley in Russia and China and reportedly can take -45C temps (with snow cover). The Concords started flowering and fruiting the second year, but again they need cover in the winter. The V. amurensis are growing well inside and outside the greenhouse but also need cover in the winter. Reportedly they start fruiting at around 5 years and they color beautifully in the fall. All three of these varieties would do well in a Zone 4 climate, especially with decent snow cover like you usually have in Ontario. The V. riparia and V. amurensis are both aggressive growers and can take hard pruning.
5 months ago

Sue Rine wrote:I thought grafting went the other way. ie you take scion wood from a tree that is already bearing and graft in onto a rootstock. That wood that is grafted on is already "programmed" for bearing fruit. That's why grafted plants will bear early.



This is correct. I grafted mature Chum hybrids onto a 1 year old sandcherry rootstock and they started blooming the following year. I have now also grafted buds from 2 year old seed grown plums onto 1 year old sandcherry rootstocks to see if in fact they will also bloom earlier.
11 months ago
Yes the Prunus genus is quite fluid. Nankings and sandcherries will cross with plums and with each other. There are dark Nanking varieties. Research out of the Univ of Saskatchewan found that the Salicina, native North American plums and the cherry-plums hybrids do better on their own roots. So growing these from seed makes a lot of sense. Nature will naturally take out the weak genetics. If you do want to clonally reproduce certain varieties you can graft them onto sandcherry seedlings as a "nurse rootstock". Once it is clear the graft has taken the seedling is planted so that the graft is below ground and roots will begin to develop above the graft.
11 months ago
Genetics are an amazing thing. I took 6 seeds from a yellow Russian plum and germinated them. After 3 years one of trees started producing dark red plums. upon closer observation of all 6 of the trees it was quite clear that all of them had unique feature: tree form, branching structure, leaf size and shape, blooming time, flower structure (single vs clusters on a bud). Upon returning to the mother tree location I observed that there were several sandcherry bushes within pollination range of the yellow plum. So it now appears that I have 6 different varieties of CHUM (cherry/plum cross). All of them have reached blooming stage although only one has set fruit. I currently have about 30 varieties of Chum and plum and I have 19 sandcherry bushes in my yard that are pollinating my plums. I am collecting all the seed from the fruit and am planting them on our project land. My goal is to develop indigenized fruit that will like to live where we are. So if you have sandcherries anywhere near your plums you will get hybridization and new varieties from the seeds. I am having a lot of fun with this, spring is always a bit like Christmas, where you don't know what will come up.
11 months ago
It can be extremely windy here, particularly in the spring. Wood chips blow away, dry manure blows away. We have access to abundant loose cut hay and we have been mulching our beds with that. We have found that the hay "mats" and becomes an interwoven mat and the wind blows over the top of it. It has proved to be quite effective in our windy climate.
11 months ago
I have grown lots of stone fruit trees (plums, chums, bush cherries, peaches and apricots)  from seed and they typically will start blooming in the 3rd year. Apples on the other hand are slower. The only one that has bloomed before 5 years is the Siberian crabapple.
11 months ago
Welcome Yuri, what part of Russia are you from? I am currently living just south of the the Russian border in Mongolia. These hoes have not made it our way yet but I would be interested in getting one to try.
1 year ago
Hi Ethan, not sure where you are at at this moment with your grafting but I thought that I would just add a few bits from my experience over the past 5 years. Most of what I have learned about grafting has come from a friend that worked for more than 40 years in The University of Saskatchewan's fruit breeding programs. For spring grafting, early May in my area, it is important that the root stock is actively growing and that the scion is still dormant. I have had almost zero success grafting already active buds onto active root stocks. This may mean collecting your scion wood while it is still dormant and storing it in a fridge, preferably at about 0 - 2C. I collect my scion wood already in early November and store it until I graft in May. That way I know that none of the buds have suffered any frost damage and all the buds are fully developed.
1 year ago
Thanks so much for posting this stuff. We are just at the stage of planting our key trees and were looking for just this kind of stuff. Is there anything out there for cherries or plums?
3 years ago
Thanks Victor. I am also using the parafilm. I was a little premature in saying 100% mortality. Some of the trees are actually started to break bud. I have trees that I bud grafted in Aug 2015 that took and grew in 2016 and they appear to be doing significantly better than the scion/ whip and tongue grafts I did last May. The bud grafts survived a winter and they are also lower down on the rootstock stem than the scion grafts. Have you had equal success with bud grafts and scion grafts? Did you protect the newly grafted trees the first winter? I started scion grafting at the beginning of May and continued almost to the end of the month so the scion wood and the rootstocks were in different condition by the end, from when I started. What varieties have you grafted and what rootstocks are you using?
3 years ago