My friend Steven, creator of the incredible Frankentree, has put up a new in-depth post on grafting that’s very worth reading:
I get a lot of questions and interest about building frankentrees and frameworking. I’d like to do either a book or high quality in depth video either this year or next, but, in the meantime, here are the most important points for success. All of this is covered elsewhere, I just thought I’d put it all in one place with photos to make it more accessible. This is applicable to pears and apples. Plums are also pretty easy and should be more or less the same. Cherries I’ve had mixed luck with, but haven’t worked with them a lot. Most of my cherry trees are still single varietal. for now… For scions check out the North American Scion Exchange trading site. It is awesome! I’ve also just put scions in my web store. I am mostly sold out for this season, but there are a few left. I should have more quantity and variety next year.
When to graft. I actually don’t know when you should graft. I know what I can get away, but I’m not sure what people in colder climates deal with. And so your journey begins! Go forth and find that out! I can tell you that it’s okay to graft during bloom. Once the tree is really growing vigorously, grafts will still often take, but many times they will not grow much in that season, if at all. They may just actually sit there dormant till the following season. I’ve grafted dormant scions in July with some success, but they didn’t grow until the following year. It is also bad for the tree to butcher it all the way back after spring growth is well underway, so don’t wait too late. Early in the bloom season before growth really gets cranking is still an okay time. I can graft from anytime in February on into spring.
Topworking v.s. Frameworking: Topworking basically means cutting into larger limbs and adding a few scions to each stub in order to grow an entire new top to the tree. Frameworking retains the framework of the tree and adds more scions here and there in order to replace just the smaller branch structure and fruiting wood. The advantages to frameworking are pretty compelling. Quicker fruiting, less trauma to the tree and you can add more variety at one time. The advantages to topworking on the other hand are that it requires less work, less time and fewer scions. A topworked tree should grow back pretty fast, but…
(Click here to read the rest over at Skillcult)
Though I’m not up to Steven’s level of skill yet (though I’m nipping at his heels with my cross-species grafting experiments), I do have a high success rate with my redneck grafting methods and created my video Get Grafting! to help anyone interested in losing their fear of this wonderful gardening skill.
You can get the complete video for a donation of any amount here (or for free if you’re short on funds).
Bonus points if you can spot the joke I hid in it.
The Chickasaw plum I turned into a stonefruit Frankentree over the last couple of years has four different species grafted together… and if I was sticking around, I would have added more cultivars every spring.
Ah well, I’ll have to make a mango Frankentree at my next homestead.
There’s something to shoot for!