Six varieties of Apples on One Tree, thanks to Grafting
Most of the year, Drew Bohan can pick fresh fruit from his Carmichael, Calif., backyard. In his quarter-acre garden, he has more selection than any supermarket: More than 70 varieties -- and growing.
"I had more than 120 varieties in my little east Sacramento yard," he noted. "When we moved, I tried to bring my favorite trees, but I couldn't move everything. But that's OK."
It's an opportunity to try new combinations: Six peach varieties on one tree or eight different apples growing together off the same trunk. Or how about an all-in-one peach-plum-nectarine tree?
That's the magic of grafting; multiple varieties can grow in the same space.
Scions (pronounced SIGH-ons) are branches that can be attached or grafted to rootstock or existing tree trunks. That budwood will grow true to its variety regardless of what fruit the roots or trunks originally bore. Grafting can turn a peach tree into a nectarine or an apple into a quince. It also can add multiple varieties to one tree.
The popularity of growing food in suburban gardens has extended into fruits and nuts, noted Bohan. But lack of space limits what many gardeners can produce.
Through grafting, that limit can be stretched -- a lot.
"Take peaches," he said. "Most people have a peach tree and the whole harvest comes in two weeks. It's boom, then bust the rest of the year. I grafted several varieties of peaches onto the same tree. My harvest starts in early June and I'm still picking peaches in November. That's five solid months of peaches off one tree, not just two weeks."
"More and more people are ...