Topworking Video

Our newest grafting video is out on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcB9nt2aueg that shows how to topwork an apple tree, where the entire tree is cut off and a new variety is grafted on.  Lots of growers with Red Delicious orchards are switching their groves over to new more marketable varieties like Fuji and Granny Smith.   This saves a lot of time over tearing out the trees and planting new ones.

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One Response

  1. Cool video Kevin! I really like a method called frameworking for changing over to new varieties. Frameworking is less traumatic to the tree and brings quicker fruiting. I learned about it from the Grafters Handbook which is an excellent and highly recommended book by an employee of the malling research station in England. It is a method that is less practiced than topworking, but has many virtues. The difference from topworking is that you retain the frame of the tree and just replace all the fruiting wood. It requires more effort and more scions, but it also allows one to fit more varieties on the tree with no time waiting to grow out a new framework. If there’s an existing side shoot where I want a branch, I graft onto it with whip and tongue or cleft.

    If there isn’t a shoot where you want a side branch, do a bark graft of some kind. I have a medium sized apple tree http://tinyurl.com/frankentree with 90+ varieties and many more to be added this year. Some will fruit the next year and many more will fruit on the third year I’ve even had scions with fruit buds and spurs already on them fruit the year of grafting! It is not a problem to fruit the new scions as quickly as possible because, since there is a full tree behind it and not a sapling, immediate fruiting will not stunt the tree. The scions must be left long with 7 to 10 buds. This allows the buds at the tip to grow shoots to make a new branch while the lower buds on the scion turn into fruiting buds the first year. As an experiment last season, I used a shoot 18 inches long (with a splint for strength) that is now covered in fruit buds for most of its length. It grew very nicely and I think the scion length aspect could probably be pushed further (with appropriate precautions for support and maybe means to prevent dessication).

    I feel that this method is better suited for the small scale or home orchardist in many cases and aspects. Topworking is much quicker and easier to be sure, but it is rougher on the tree (especially on larger trees) and the fruits are slower to come. I’ll try to blog about frameworking soon (that might mean within a couple years ;).

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