I mentioned in a previous post that we did a grafting course – Hard grafting. One of the bonuses was that we got to make one to take home. However, before that Dave showed us some impressive knife skills with a different sort of graft – a whip-and-tongue graft. This time you need root stock and scion of similar size. Just cut vertically into both sides of the cut and then push them together like a bit of tongue and groove woodwork. This makes a very neat graft and a strong one. There are 4 planes that connect and grow together and not just 2. However, if I do any more grafts, I think I will stick to the modified rind graft – I don’t think I have the knife skills needed just yet!
Back to root stocks, there are a lot of different one that you can choose from. They all do different things to the scions. As I mentioned the ones we grafted for the orchard are on MM106. MM106 grows trees to about 10-13ft, making them ideal for the garden or our community orchard and fruit start in 3-4 years. One of the other people there wanted a more vigorous stock, they have a larger orchard – they used M25. M25 give a full sized tree 15-20 feetand fruits in 5-6 years.
As we want to make an apple arch and “hedge” at the bottom of the garden, Dave advised us to use a different stock – M9. This gives a smaller tree and can be used for cordons and grow to not more than 9 feet. Interestingly the root ball is fibrous but the trees fruit only 2-3 years after grafting. However, the plant always need staking but that is ok as we want to train them over an arch. We picked different varieties – Ashmead’s Kernel and Eden. Ashmead’s Kernel has scored really well on taste tests at Day’s Orchard apple days – its a good dessert apple with a little bit of russet on the skin. Eden is a bright red dessert apple that is also supposed to have an excellent flavour.
We have the newly grafted trees at home now and in pots. As these are bare root stock, we will plant them in the final location in the winter. Later this year we need to work out what we will do with the 6 cordon trees that we need to complete the hedge. Maybe a couple of Yorkshire varieties and the same from Worcestershire and possible a couple of pears. I have my eye on a Yorkshire cooker called Dog’s Snout – it looks a bit like an upside down pear!