[NAFEX] multiple apple cultivars on one tree?

Thom McConathy thomm at pacifier.com
Fri Apr 18 17:26:41 EDT 2003

Re: [NAFEX] multiple apple cultivars on one tree?Please unsubscribe.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lon J. Rombough 
  To: North American Fruit Explorers 
  Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2003 8:42 PM
  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] multiple apple cultivars on one tree?

     It's very likely that one or more of the varieties you grafted on the crab was a symptomless carrier of virus.   There are viruses that have little or no effect on cultivated apples, but will attack a number of species of crab apples, causing the death of the tree.  If you peel the bark off the crab apple, you may find that the wood is pitted, while the wood of the scion is not.
     I've gotten letters from NAFEX members that were pretty irate about multiple graft trees as a cause of spreading virus, with some who left the group because they didn't want to be part of it, or even because they got virus infected material from someone with a multiple variety tree.  It's much better to graft one variety per dwarf rootstock than a collection on a single large tree.  I have a multiple graft tree for my own enjoyment, but I also have the important varieties on individual stocks if I share scionwood.  And there ARE signs of virus in my big tree - apple mosaic and burr knots - which don't show up on the individual trees.  I destroy all the wood from the big tree. 
  -Lon Rombough 


  Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at http://www.bunchgrapes.com

  From: list at ginda.us

    Reply-To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at listsibiblio.org>
    Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2003 22:38:29 -0400
    To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
    Subject: Re: [NAFEX] multiple apple cultivars on one tree?

    I grafted a bunch of varieties onto two crab apples.  One of them had 
    some leaves that were oddly shaped after that.  It may have had them 
    before I grafted for all I know - I hadn't looked at it too closely.  
    But I did worry if I might have given it a virus.  Two years ago we had 
    a serious summer drought, and that tree nearly died.  It finished dying 
    last year (in more dry weather, although I watered it.)  The other crab 
    did fine, and I haven't seen any other dead or dying apples around 
    town.  So I think it's likely that something from the multiple grafts 
    weakened the crab.   Whether that was a virus, or some kind of 
    incompatibility, or just that there were "holes" in its skin where the 
    grafts hadn't fully healed, I couldn't say.  I do know that if I'd just 
    pruned it and not put on the extra wood, it would have been minor 
    pruning.  (That is, I didn't chop off much of the tree to graft it.)

    I was very careful to graft each type of scion onto only one of the two 
    crabs, and to wash all my tools carefully between trees.  So a virus 
    transmitted to one would likely have missed the other.

    The other crab is looking very happy right now, with 5 different 
    cultivars grafted to it.  Interestingly, the crab twigs have tiny 
    leaves showing, and the grafted twigs just have swelling buds.  I don't 
    know if that's because the crab is naturally earlier or if its because 
    of some compatibility thing.  But some of the grafts look like they 
    might flwoer this year, which would be very exciting for me.


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