Grafting apple trees

by Donna Tatting

Chisago County 

Master Gardener

There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the United States, though only 100 of those are grown commercially.  But homeowners love to grow a few apple trees in their yard so they can enjoy the beautiful blossoms in spring and the delicious fruit in the fall.

Did you know that the apple trees you purchase from your local nursery or garden center are not grown from seed but are actually grafted onto a rootstock? Grafting describes any of a number of techniques in which a section of a stem with leaf buds is inserted into the stock of a tree. Grafting is useful, however, for more than reproduction of an original cultivar. It is also used to repair injured fruit trees or for top working an established tree to one or more different cultivars.

April and early May are the best times to graft fruit trees.  The Chisago County Master Gardeners will present the class, “Grafting Apple Trees,”  6-8 p.m. May 6 at the North Branch Senior Center.  The cost is $10 per person, and class size is limited.

Each participant will be given the tools to work with in the class; this includes a grafting knife, tape and scion wood. If you have a grafting knife of your own, you are encouraged to bring it along. Half the class will be spent on grafting basics, and the last half will be getting some hands-on experience.

For more information and to register for the class, call 651-277-0151 or email Sue Humble at humb002@umn.edu.

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