Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Grafting for Pollination
Hey Folks, Iâ€™d like to give an example of how some fairly simple grafting solved a neighbor's pollination problem.
Three years ago, after 9 years without more than a half dozen plums (though I call them "Prunes") per season on an Italian prune tree of the same age, my neighbor asked why it wasn't producing? She described it blooming profusely every year, but literally at the end of the road, there are no European plum trees in the neighborhood. One of my favorite varieties of fruit, yet unsuccessful growing my own, I told her I'd research a pollinator; procure the wood at the next HOS (Fruit & Berry cutting) Scion Exchange; and graft it on the tree.
Apparently, this was to be quite an event, they'd invited guests to watch the process. Loving to teach what I love to do - I did. And as if by magic (though we know better), they took! The following year was simply vegetative growth, establishing new limbs. That winter I tied them at the angle of a 'permanent limb.' Last year was a total bust! Many fruit growers in Yamhill County (Ore.) received federal disaster aid for the total loss of their crops, needless to say - we hand nothing either... But this year - There be Prunes! So many that they're only 2/3's the size of normal Italians, but that they are - and after eating 2 gallons, my family were back yesterday for 3 gallons more.
While up the tree I noticed a fading surveyorâ€™s tape marked: Seneca, 3-(?)-03. I followed this strong three year old graft to find it loaded with "Seneca" plum / prunes! Theyâ€™re a sweeter / softer, more â€œBrooks-likeâ€ prune, also small this year. A couple other grafted branches of the same had prospered too; and what satisfaction to feel responsible for this bounty. I hadnâ€™t accepted money for the grafting, seems wrong to get paid for having fun... But as of yesterday - payment in full!
'Moral' of the story: if youâ€™re isolated, havenâ€™t got a crop on your stand-alone fruit tree after 5 years, do your homework with regard to a pollinator, take the HOS grafting class next spring, and I'll (or others will) try to be there to show you how it's done. If not, read any book that includes cleft grafting, or better yet, search 'cleft grafting' online, and do it yourself. Though I used a couple of grafting methods, the procedure's not rocket-science - it's better!