[NAFEX] Top working older trees

Tatum Stewart tatum.stewart at tvgenvironmental.com
Mon Nov 3 17:04:50 EST 2008


I have a small orchard in Ashland City, Tn, about 20 miles northwest of Nashville, Tn.  I have a block of 50 red delicious trees on what I think is M7 root stock.  Trees are about 20 to 25 years old, and had not been trained well.  I began restoritive pruning 6 years ago and now have most of the (220 trees)orchard in production.  I do not like red delicious, and they do not sell as well as my other varieties.  So I am thinking about top-working these trees with some specialty varieties.  Does anyone have experience with this type of grafting?  My trees range from 13-17 ft tall.  Are they too large top work?  Would I graft the entire tree, leave one nurse branch, or only graft half the tree?

BTW:  MY gold delicious are outstanding!  They are nothing like a grocery store apple.  They are large, at least 1/2 pound each, thin skinned, crisp, syrupy sweet, with a spicy twang.  I sold out (30 bu) at the Nashville Farmers Market in one day!  I did have to convince people to try them first, as most had the usual impression of store bought golds.  

Thanks for any help

Tatum Stewart
Stewart Orchard
Ashland City, Tn
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