Uganda Update

You may recall last spring that a group in Uganda decided they could do their own apple grafting, and so I sent just the rootstocks and scionwood to them, along with some elementary grafting tools and an instructional video.  Well they got right down to it, and grafted about 1,000 trees in short order and in the process became the most experienced apple grafters in Kampala!

Well they must have done something right, as the above tree was grafted by them only nine months ago, and now is showing excellent form.  I counseled John Baptist here to prune off the branch in his left hand to allow the other one to become the central leader, but otherwise the tree is perfect and may start bearing onsie-twosies next year.  This is in the Lira district of central Uganda, and the climate description from the Lira webside is as follows:

“The continental climate of the district is modified by the large swamp area surrounding the southern part of the district. The rainfall in the district is bimodal with one peak during April-May and the other in August-October.
The average annual rainfall in the district varies between 1200-1600 mm (47-62″) decreasing northwards. The rainfall is mainly convectional and normally comes in the afternoons and evenings.
The average minimum and maximum temperatures are 22.5 C (72 F) and 25.5 C (78 F), respectively. Absolute maximum temperature hardly goes beyond 36 C (97 F), and absolute minimum hardly falls below 20 C (68 F).
The Equatorial Trough which brings rainfall passes over the district. The South easterly winds which also brings rains to the district passes over Lira. Land and sea breezes are common in the district. Wind run is low (1-4m/sec) during the rainy season and moderate (4-8m/sec) during the dry season.”

As you can see by the bananas, maize, and sweet potatoes in the background, this isn’t exactly tradional apple country; it receives zero chilling hours.  But apples will grow and fruit here, despite all the literature saying this can’t happen.  We’ll be sure to be sending updates as they harvest.

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10 Responses

  1. So apples can’t grow in hot countries, huh? They need winter chilling time, huh? Kevin Hauser is upturning all I thought I knew.

  2. What varieties have grown best so far?

  3. They’ve grown Anna, Dorsett Golden, Winter Banana, Jonathan, Rome Beauty, Bramley, and Granny Smith for years in Uganda Highlands; this is the first trials down in the lowlands, and I send them about 20 of our best heat-tolerant, productive varieties. We’re still testing some here in California from the Deep South of South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina.

  4. This is something I could really get my head wrapped around. Sounds like a great ministry. Maybe when we get moved back to California you could let me know who I could contact about growing for this.

    • Just give us and email and we’ll set you up.

  5. Kevin: I’ve watched all of your videos numerous times and jumped in and bought rootstock (EMLA 111 and M7), scions from about 8 varieties and tried my hand at grafting two weeks ago. I’m pleased to say that you are a fine teacher. I have numerous grafts that are starting to bud out. The next step is to find what apples grow well here in Monterey County and then get hooked up with a couple of schools to plant orchards. I would also like to find areas like you did in Africa that could use some help in getting started in raising apples. I know that is a couple of years off, but you got me excited to grow apples that others can use.
    Thanks, Jeff

  6. Thanks Jeff; you can hook up with Axel in Santa Cruz to see what has done well with him; he lurks around Cloudforest http://www.cloudforest.com/apples/ Let me know when you want to start sending to Africa; there’s a screaming demand there.

  7. Hi there,
    I couldn’t believe my eyes when i looked at this. i have a young apple tree in my compound that will soon need grafting but i wasn’t sure i could get a scion wood in Kampala. If anyone can help me get in touch with this people, i will be very great full.
    Thanks in advance.

  8. I am interested in growing apples on a large scale in Lwabenge, Uganda near the equator at Latitude 0.03564, Longitude 31.71142. Would you please tell me which varieties would be suitable for this region. Do you how I could get access to a the rootstock, scions, and grafting kit? Thank you.

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