[nafex] Question about crabapple trees top-worked with domestic apples.
Jwlehman at aol.com
Jwlehman at aol.com
Fri Sep 26 08:52:54 EDT 2014
Ginda, list at ginda.us wrote:
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
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.
Almost all fruit bearing species do best in full sun. This includes pawpaw
which naturally is an understory tree.
I once had 15 apple varieties grafted to a Schmidwarr (sp?) rootstock. It
was interesting as it bore different varieties from June to Oct. When this
is done constant pruning is required as some varieties outgrow others,
shading the less vigorous varieties. The mistake I made was grafting to the
dwarfing understock. Dwarfing understocks are dwarfing partially because they
have poor root systems and require support, staking, to remain upright. I
had failed to do this and it blew over after only a few years. My attempts
to stake it up failed as the root system never recovered.
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