[nafex] Question about crabapple trees top-worked with domestic apples.

Ginda Fisher list at ginda.us
Thu Sep 25 23:18:52 EDT 2014

On Sep 24, 2014, at 4:24 PM, Andre Pierre wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm thinking about top-working a mature crabapple tree in my backyard with two or three domestic apple varieties.
> I have never done this, but have a good idea how to proceed.
> One thing I'd be curious to know is how long its likely to take until the new apple branches bear fruit (assuming the cleft grafts take, of course)
> Any observations or comments would be be greatly appreciated.
> Thanks in advance, and best regards.
> :-)
> Andre

I've had poor success doing this. I did several grafts, most of which appeared to take fine, onto two mature crab apples. One of them died two years later, and I suspect it was some latent virus in one of the scions that killed it. I've also lost  a seedling crab apple shortly after I grafted it, with similar symptoms.

The other crab is still thriving, many years later, and still supports all the grafts I put on it. But it turns out that domestic apples need more sun to produce than the crab does, and are more susceptible to insects (especially winter moths) damaging the flowers, and are much more attractive to wild life (deer and rabbits, etc.) that eat the bark, twigs, and fruits. I haven't lost any of the grafts completely, but I don't think I have gotten a mature fruit, either. (In good years, some of the grafts that get more sun have flowered and produced fruit, but critters took it all before it ripened.)

But, other people have had better luck than I. Especially if your crab is in full sun, I'd urge you to go for it. It's not very hard to do, and it's sort of fun.

easter Mass., zone 6

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