Messing With the Clock

Let’s say someone asked you to ship trees to Burundi or Congo for the start of their rainy season, which is in late August or early September.  And chances are that the trees will sit in a sweltering customs warehouse for a week or two on the way to Rwanda, where they will be driven on a bus to neighboring Congo; thus, they need to be quite dormant.  How do you find dormant trees at the peak of growing season without resorting to Australia or New Zealand?

You start the rootstocks from Anna seeds, putting them in the refrigerator before Thanksgiving and sprouting them just after Christmas.  The seedling rootstocks above have been growing since then and were bud-grafted in early July, and are now ready for harvest.

These are dug up and the top of the tree lopped off right above the bud graft, barely visible as a white dot about 1/2″ from the left end of the tree trunk.  At this stage they are known as “sleeping eyes” and will be put in a bag in the refrigerator for two weeks to chill, which will re-set the clock on the low-chill Anna and hopefully make them sprout.  What gives me confidence that this might work?  See the photo below.

This Anna bud graft started pushing without any chilling at all, and produced this 8″ sprout with the rootstock still actively growing.  Anna and Dorsett Golden don’t need much of an excuse to grow, and will make the most of what energy is left in the roots even after the top of the tree was cut off while actively growing, before dormancy moves the energy down the the roots.  We’ll keep you updated on how this worked out once they’re planted in Central Africa.

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One Response

  1. Your such a helper.

    The africans seem very chuffed with their apples, a new way out of poverty.

    Keep up the good work.

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