wildcat junkie

My 1st Attempt at Pruning and Grafting Apples

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18 years ago I planted several apple tree on my place. Not knowing much about drainage requirements, most of them did not survive. I sold some property that had several Cortland trees that survived. The only survivor left on my current property was a single Mackintosh tree.

 

After applying a plastic mesh to the trunk for rodent protection in winter and some 4' woven wire fence around the base for deer protection, it was neglected for all of that time. Since it was isolated from other species of apples/crabapples , it seldom bore more that a few apples.

Back in early March I took some cuttings for the Cortland trees now on my neighbor's property as well as some from a tree located on the outskirts of Potsdam, NY, about 18 miles distant. Over the years we noticed deer under that tree on winter evenings and the fact that the tree held apples into January. My guess is that it is some species of the Rome variety.

 

Earlier this week I pruned all of the brush and lower branches that were entwined in the woven wire fence circling the base as well as a lit of the intertwined branches in the crown of the tree.

 

It took quite a bit of tugging and cutting with fence pliers, nippers and a pruning saw to get to the tree.

 

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Now the tree looks much better.  I grafted the Rome and Cortland cutting higher up in the crown to keep deer from getting at those varieties so that they should hold fruity throughout deer season and beyond. The pink ribbons identify the grafts and variety so that I can monitor success and avoid pruning away the new varieties in the future.

 

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I will post picture of progress in the future.

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Never forget the 241 GIs that were killed in Beirut because of Reagan administration policies.

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If anyone with experience on this subject would comment or critique my methods, it would be appreciated. I'm strictly winging it here. What little knowledge  of methods & technique I have is strictly from what I have been able to get form Google on the pruning and the instructions that came with the tool.. What got me motivated this spring was the grafting tools being advertised on Amazon, eBay, and social media.

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I particularly like the "Ohm" type cut as it tends to stay together as the tape is applied.

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I applied plenty io the tape until the twig graft joint seemed to have as much stiffness as the branch it was grafted to. I will go out after breakfast to inspect the results after all the wind we had yesterday.

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Never forget the 241 GIs that were killed in Beirut because of Reagan administration policies.

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Best of luck to you Wildcat! Let us know how things turn out.

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"It's fun to win elections." -- Bill Whittle

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What you've done so far looks really good! I wish I could help you with this topic, but I know little about it. I am interested though! And will follow this thread to learn more. The grafting kit you have is something I've never seen. But I can see how it would work really well.

On our property, near where the original farm house was located, there is about an acre of apple trees that were planted in the early to mid 1900's. They still produce most every year. We always cut brush away from the bases and prune any dead stuff. We both have shot a few bow deer from, and close to, this little orchard over the decades. My partner shot his first bow buck there.

Still attractive to deer. But with a little more pruning and grafting, it could definitely be improved.

Good topic!

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My grandfather would have success grafting  a fruit tree limb on a fire cracker. I only wish I was more interested in the subject back then. The older verities still taste like apples.

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Wifey decided to run the grails this morning before breakfast so I went out and checked out the grafts. They all seem to have survived the wind. The parent tree is just starting to sprout leaf buds so I think my timing was right. I hope to see some life in the grafted branches soon.

 

One thing I observed was that when cutting the OHM tongue on the grafts, I could tell when I encountered a "dead" cutting. They were hard and would not cut like the softer "live" cuttings. I only encountered some of those in the "Romes". I grafted 6 "Rome" cuttings and about 5 of the "Cortland".

 

If you look very closely just to the right of the "highest step warning" label of the 8' step ladder in the picture below, you can just make out the platform of my 20' ladder stand. It's about 100 yards or so away from the tree.I will be doing some cutting back of the Popples in the fencrow after the hay is cut & baled. We didn't get that stand up until late October so we didn't want to disturb things too much at that time.

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Never forget the 241 GIs that were killed in Beirut because of Reagan administration policies.

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36 minutes ago, landtracdeerhunter said:

My grandfather would have success grafting  a fruit tree limb on a fire cracker. I only wish I was more interested in the subject back then. The older verities still taste like apples.

I can remember my Dad telling me about his Father grafting fruit trees.

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Never forget the 241 GIs that were killed in Beirut because of Reagan administration policies.

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There is one  thing on which I think I failed elaborate.. Most varieties of apple will not "self pollinate". The one exception I know of is Rome. The Rome variety is a rather poor grade, mealy fleshed apple. They used to be popular with commercial growers because of the self pollinating properties and the fact that the fruit would not drop immediately upon ripening. They could delay harvest until all of the fruit was ready and utilize picking machinery.

 

Having 3 fruit varieties in one tree will solve the poor pollination I have experienced in the past. The Cortland trees located on property I used to own just to the North would get pollinated by crab apples and some wild apple trees located along a right of way a little further north.

Edited by wildcat junkie

Never forget the 241 GIs that were killed in Beirut because of Reagan administration policies.

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