Grafting

Why do we graft?

If you are lucky enough to germinate and nurture a fruit tree seed you cannot be sure what variety it will become.

There are only two ways of ensuring that a variety of fruit can be truly replicated.

One is to take a cutting (called a graft) and plant it in the earth. This will be a true replica of the variety but will take quite a long time to grow and become fruitful and will also grow to the normal height of that variety, which generally means a fairly large tree.

The second method is to take a cutting of the variety ( generally known as graftwood) and graft it to a rootstock of the same genre and by choosing the rootstock you can both ensure it is true to the variety and to the size of tree you require. It also generally means that your new tree will produce fruit rather more quickly.

To graft means that you take a cutting with several buds on it from an existing fruit tree and at the bottom of the cutting (graft) you slice a diagonal cutting to show the white wood and you do the same to a young branch on a young tree of the same species You then cover both cuts with a smear of grafting wax and join the two cuts together and bind them securely together with grafting tape.

This “new” tree should then be planted either in a very large pot or in a nursery and supported by a post or cane for two or three years until it becomes a “young” tree when it should be planted in its final position.

You can learn how to graft at Brogdale. Those attending the grafting course will be shown how to graft their own maiden tree using rootstocks. They will also be shown top work grafting to change varieties or produce a family tree. Advice will be given on equipment to use and where to source materials. Participants will leave with the knowledge to graft at home.

You can book a place on upcoming course dates here.

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The National Fruit Collection is one of the largest fruit collections in the world and is located at Brogdale Farm, near Faversham, Kent.

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