Looks like my one thousandth post!
On grafting – how appropriate!
50 years… Scions need sunlight to go vegetative. So, on an older tree, you’re going to remove a lot of material. There are two ways I’d suggest going about it: 1) gathering your dormant scion wood (likely from our HOS Spring Event
) and wait until the sap flows in mid-spring to do nothing but bark, or ‘rind’ grafts. You’d take that tree down to maybe five ‘stumps’ in the clump, leaving the rest as feeders or sap-drawing limbs; then plug in some ‘inverted L’ and crown-veneer
grafts. Relatively easy with some serious planning, the right equipment and well preserved scions.
2) What I’m becoming more inclined to do, or suggest, though it will add an additional year to the process (unless you do some of the ‘live whip & tongue’ grafting I’ve recently been reading about around here!), is to cut off the same trunk / branches this winter and allow them to send up their own shoots. (Either that summer, cause there’d be plenty to spare - or) The following late-winter into early spring you’d dormant graft by whip & tongue
near matching diameter scions to the one year shoots. Their ‘connection’ would be natural, having sprouted from the tree itself and their success would be nearly guaranteed. And, you’d get the jump on the spring growth that waiting for the sap to rise kinda leaves behind.
And if any of that doesn’t make sense – just ask again. I did a whole bunch of top-working last spring on thirty year old apples - and learned some more. I’ll likely share that this spring at our HOS grafting classes
at Clackamas Community College (the third, or “intermediate” class) … if you’re interested. The classes have filled so fast the last several years we’ve considered adding another … just register ASAP. Or quiz me here