[NAFEX] apple grafting beginner question

mauch1 at aol.com mauch1 at aol.com
Wed Dec 7 16:02:21 EST 2005

<<  I would like to get this tree in my own little orchard, but know virtually nothing about how to go about it.  I don't really 
want to put it on my one apple tree (a Queen Cox that is just two years old).  Can I get a rootstock somewhere?  How 
does one go about picking a rootstock?  When is the best time to take a cutting (cuttings?) and what is there a "best 
method" for a beginner to use to graft successfully?  I'd appreciate advice, pointers, suggestions of good (VERY 
straightforward, beginner) books.  >> 
Well the best way to learn (although I understand its not always possible) is to learn from someone who knows how.  Since MidFex should be in your area, maybe you could contact them. It looks like they have a grafting workshop in the spring.
Rootstock:  There's other sources as well, but Raintree sells apple rootstocks in small quantities (If you're going to the midfex workshop they may be providing rootstock there.)  Buy more than one (I'd say 3).  If you're new to this, your rate of take may be lower, so you want to give yourself more than one chance.
On picking a rootstock, it depends on what you want.  I prefer dwarfing rootstock, but others like a larger tree (larger trees are more firmly rooted and drought resistant, dwarfs and semi-dwarfs generally need staking).
Cutting taking depends somewhat on where you live.  But generally, for apples, you take spring cuttings in February.  Then wrap the cuttings (which should be pencil diameter or slightly larger) with a damp paper towel, put them in a plastic bag (ideally ziploc) and put them in the refrigerator until needed 'ideally' w/out apples present.  General here in the mid-Atlantic we do apple grafting in March, you may want to do it slightly later in the midwest.
Splice graft is the absolute simplest, but I like whip & tongue (a modified splice graft with a back cut made into both the rootstock and scion's splice cut as it helps 'hold' itself together and is easier to wrap.
I have some books, but I really recommend finding someone to help you with the first time.
Good luck!
Chris Mauchline
SE PA, zone 6
40° 5' N 75° 51'W
~650 ft elevation
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