Thursday 11 April 2013

Propagating An Old Apple Tree

One of the grafts I did was to propagate this old apple tree.
Beautiful old tree

This is in my neighbours field where I have been given permission to go shooting. Apparently the field used to all orchards planted up with Newton Wonder, this is the last tree that survives from that orchard and it's seen better days.
I thought it would be nice to take a cutting from this tree and give my neighbours a new tree to plant along side it so they'll keep being able to have the same apples in years to come, and to say thank you for letting me shoot there (although I haven't really had time for that lately).
Nice young, straight and thick growth to take a cutting from
I've grafted this on to an M25 rootstock so it will grow into a full sized tree.

Hippo inadvertently asked about root stocks in my last post so with out wanting to bore everyone with more apple talk here's a bit on what I know.
Apples don't grow true from seed, this is why we graft varieties we know on to root stocks. In doing this we're basically making a clone of that first tree that had those nice apples on it.
But what we graft the tree on to (the rootstock) decides how it vigorous it grows. So a Cox grafted on to an M25 rootstock will produce a tree that will be around 4.5m + in height whereas a cox grafted on to an M9 rootstock will produce a tree that's between 1.8m and 2.5m when fully grown. There are lots of root stocks to choose from but I tend to stick with the semi vigorous MM106 (or half standard) as I don't want to use a ladder to pick the apples and I want them to grow quite fast but still have some control over them.
Other things to take into consideration are things like an M9 will start bearing fruit a lot faster than an M25 and some are better suited to different soil or temperature conditions than others. There's loads on the Internet if you're interested in the subject!
This isn't only for apples but most types of fruit trees (all have there own set of rootstocks). Some even have to be double worked where two grafts are performed, an example would be where the bottom part is to influence the size of the roots and the second part is to influence how big the tree will grow and the third for the variety of fruit.
I'm willing to be corrected on any of this if I'm wrong! Anyone else got any information on rootsotcks to share?


  1. seeing your photo of the old tree immediately brought to mind the old (over 100yrs old) orchard on the property my son lives on at Wee jasper in NSW. Now my mind is in overdrive - so many old heritage varieties of various fruit trees - who do I know that could teach me to graft, I know my friends husband - YEs I am going to have a go at this!! Hope all of your grafts are successful. Me - I am going to try...

    1. Give it a try. I wish I'd tried this years ago, it's not as complicated as it first seems! Glad its inspired you to have ago!

  2. We used to look for fruit trees when doing archaeology in the blue ridge mtns of Virginia as the trees would out last the structures and you could spot them blooming from a distance. Same for flowers that come from bulbs.

    1. It's amazing what you can spot from a distance when you eyes get used to it

  3. Where do you get root stock from?

    1. I got some from a nursery off the interest (after a google search) and some from ebay (as well as the grafting wax and tape from ebay). I'm also gogin to grow my own rootstocks but more on that later!

    2. That'll be interesting!
      Jane x

  4. Doughty has a particular gift for unsettling stories, for making us ask difficult questions of ourselves, our own relationships and choices, and this is her strongest book yet. It's not a comfortable read, but it is entirely compelling. Nathan


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