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Re: [nafex] Don't pull out unwanted apple varieties
Why not leave the trunk, cutting the limbs off, and "topwork" the tree?
This is the practice they use to rework orchards to a new variety. I have
seen pictures of some pretty large tree trunks being reworked.
Could someone explain why the trunk is left intact for top working? Is it
to preserve/take adavantage of existing form/shape? Maybe to get the
grafts out of varmits way?
Ontario, Hardiness Zone 6a
On Wed, 30 May 2001, Bernie Nikolai wrote:
> Many fellow NAFEXers have a few varieties in their orchards they
> just don't like or want. Usually we just pull out the trees and replant
> with the varieties we want. However the last few years I've been
> experimenting and I think I have a better solution. If the tree is of
> relatively small caliper, under 2 inches in diameter down to about 1/2 inch
> in diameter, just cut off the entire tree at, or almost at ground level.
> Then place 2 or 3 bark grafts on the small stump with the new variety
> wanted. What happens is the grafts take very well, and using the existing
> power of the established roots, produce a tree that often gives apples in
> only 3 years. I came across this after about 20 trees were severely girdled
> by voles 4 winters ago. Rather than pull them out, I just cut them off at
> ground level under the damage and put in bark grafts. I let all the grafted
> whips grow the first year, and at green tip the second year, cut off all
> whips except the one I chose as the "new" tree.
> I just returned from my orchard this evening and have 7 for 7 takes
> using this technique from earlier this spring, with the grafts growing well.
> On other trees that I bench grafted and then planted, well, not a single
> graft has taken so far. This technique is especially usefull in an
> experimental orchard like mine. Many of the varieties I'm testing are only
> available as scionwood, so its a way to get a nice, healthy tree producing
> apples in only 3 years in a zone 3/2 climate. I also topworked a few trees
> to compare the results. They are also producing this year. However there
> is no advantage to topworking in terms of getting fruit sooner, and its a
> lot easier to put a couple of bark grafts on a small stump than it is to
> regraft several branches of an existing tree. This technique DOESN'T work
> well on larger trees (much over 2 inches in diameter). My guess is
> "decapitating" them and putting on bark grafts is too stressfull, and the
> larger trees often die, or at least don't set the grafts but rather send out
> what seems like a million root shoots.
> Bernie Nikolai
> Edmonton, Alberta (full bloom or just past on the apples and saskatoons now)
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