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Seedling Rootstock.


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  • Seedling Rootstock.

    Hi all,

    I have grown some apple trees from seed, they'll be a year old in like March. I unerstand that the fruit of the tree may be... far from tasty and it generally takes like tweny years or something mad for your seedling tree to fruit so was planing to graft purchased apple types onto them. I was wondering if there is anything I can do to make my tree articularly strong in preperation of the graft? And, how soon is too soon to perform said graft?

    I am aware of the things you're likely to tell me about how my trees will be standard rather than dwarf and how the disease resistance and soild preference will be unknowns, but I very much enjoy growing from seed so please only advise on how I can prepare my tree for grafting.

    Lots of love


  • #2
    Just a strong healthy bit of the tree and a suitable rootstock, try M27 or M9 for a managable size. Also the more dwarfing rootstock seem to bring the tree into a fruiting state easlier.

    If memory serves me there are 2 basic grafts, bud and "stick" sure it is not stick but you graft a whole stick on to the rootstock. Bud I suspect is easier.
    Graft high enough up so that the join is easily above the ground - makes it easy to see what is going on and to identify and remove shoots from the rootstock itself.

    Ashridge seem to sell a selection:
    M9 is £3.05 each.


    • #3

      Thanks Kirk,

      However you seem to have misunderstood; I want to use my unknown seedling as the rootstock and graft the scion onto that, and so what I was asking is is there a way to strengthen my seedling to insure better reliability in taking the scion?


      • #4
        Your unknown seedling needs to be about the diameter of a pencil at the point at which you make your graft (often a whip and tongue or saddle graft). LIkewise the scion you graft onto the rootstock. Usually, but not always, rootstocks are grown as single stems. However, if your seedling rootstock has several strong lateral shoots coming off a main stem, you could consider grafting scions onto each of these. Alternatively, prune off all the side shoots. As far as preparing your rootstock for grafting goes, it depends where your stock is(pot or open ground) and whether you have recently transplanted it. Grafts take much better and scions subsequently grow more vigorously when rootstocks have well established (for a year or more) root systems. If your seedling stocks are too feeble and thin this coming Feb/March, I'd leave them until Feb 2019 for grafting and give them some fertiliser this coming spring to help them put on weight .

        Lastly, it isn't a given that your seedling rootstocks will produce giant trees. Some will be dwarfing or semidwarfing and modest growers. You might get an idea of their likely growth characteristics from knowledge of the vigour of their parents.


        • #5
          Just as an aside on what info you already have which is correct and undoubtedly doable, but you could also graft a part of each of your seedlings over to a known variety, just for fun to see what apples your new types give.

          You basically follow the normal grafting or budding routine next Spring in the usual way at the pencil thin stage, but leave a small side-shoot or "feather" on the stock on each tree. Obviously the idea then is to row away the main trunk to give you your new trees but if you also leave the side "feather" to grow on it too will eventually fruit.

          BTW one relatively simple method, once the trees are bigger and growing well, to promote earlier fruiting is to festoon one or more of the leading branches round in an arc by tying it or weighting it down. This leads to fruit bud growth in the subsequent year.


          • #6
            Just a note- the main reason grafted varieties fruit at a younger age than seed grown ones isn't because they're grafted, it's because the rootstocks they're grafted on to are selected for early fruiting.

            Though the scion variety does have some impact on when fruiting starts, so you may be able to push the fruiting year forwards a bit if you choose the right scion, the scion wood doesn't have as big an impact on when the tree will start fruiting as the rootstock selection does.
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