• Apple Seeds Fall Far From the Tree
• A Twig in Time Saves Mine
Grafting captures the best traits of the rootstock and the scion wood. For instance, the rootstock can control whether the tree is full-sized, semi-dwarf, or dwarf. It brings with it certain hardiness, disease resistance, soil preferences, and the like. The scions, however, control the apple variety, ripening season, and pollination characteristics. Some apple varieties require pollinating from another variety, while others can self-pollinate.
And what about those seeds that the child Burford collected? Those were used to grow new rootstock for later grafting.
Modern orchardists may use a scion or a bud to accomplish grafting. With scion wood, representative twigs are harvested during the dormant season, kept cool and damp until spring, then grafted on in the spring. With bud grafting, autumn buds are harvested and then grafted onto the limbs or rootstock prior to annual dormancy. According to Burford, grafting almost always will succeed as long as sound contact is created between the thin vascular cambium layer of grafted tissues and the graft is kept from drying out. The images below originate from the Cider Museum Hereford, in the heart of England’s cider region.
To learn more about apple grafting and heirloom apples, try the following links:
• Lucy Cook’s All About Apples featuring Tom Burford and apple-cheese pairings
• The Cider Museum Hereford
• Tom the Apple Man, another English site
• The Willow House Chronicles
• The Howling Duck Ranch