Bud wrapped to rootstock
Budded apple tree bursting into life
Kerry Pippin apple trees
Successful budding, a type of grafting using rootstock that continues to grow until the following winter/spring before being cut back to let the chosen variety take over. It’s all about making a connection between the rootstock and the bud.
These are two apple trees, Kerry Pippins, that I budded on a course a couple of years ago.
Filed under Garden, photo
Kerry Pippin apple trees
The Irish Seed Savers is an organisation concerned with the preservation of heritage varieties of vegetable seeds and of Irish heritage apple trees. Two summers ago I took part in a workshop on propagating apple trees through budding one variety of apple onto a rootstock which controls the eventual full size of the tree. We could choose any variety for the fruiting top from the heritage orchard that they maintain, I chose two varieties but only the Kerry Pippins were successful.
It strikes me as strange that the first of January is considered the beginning of the year here. It is still pretty much in the middle of winter and there is very little life in the garden. It is only as the days get noticeably longer and warmer that I really feel that the new year has begun. Having said that there is some signs of growth already, the spring bulbs in their containers are poking above the compost and the rhubarb has been showing off since before Christmas. Hard frosts and some hail and snow have checked its growth but hopefully the plants have not been seriously damaged by the weather. Only time will tell.
Slight snow fall on the road
The apple trees that I budded in July were sent to me bare root along with potting material and instructions on their early care. I have potted them up and look forward to seeing them grow, hopefully they will do well. In the future I will plant them out in the front garden to give pretty blossom in spring and tasty fruit in autumn.
Three budded apple trees in fashionable orange buckets
My plans for the garden this year:
- To finish painting the block wall at the end of the fruit garden
- To put together another two raised beds in the fruit garden
- To devote time and attention to the three new apple trees
These are my (sort of) new year’s resolutions and I shall see how I will get on with them over the year
This weekend I went on a budding workshop with the Irish Seed Savers Association in Scarriff. Budding is a type of clonal propagation similar to grafting using a bud from the variety you want to grow and grafting it onto a rootstock. It is often used for roses and for many trees. I covered the theory in college but we couldn’t do a practical and when I saw this course advertised I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it out. It is carried out in the summer while the rootstocks are actively growing and it is also usually done in the field.
We were working with apple trees, which are usually budded or grafted onto rootstocks that have been developed to control the eventual height and spread of the tree. Cormac, the tutor, started off by describing what we would be doing that day and talking about the reasons for budding and the different methods that can be used. Then we got a chance to practice making the cuts in some spare wood from an old tree. The bud wood is taken from this year’s growth and we practised taking off the leaves leaving only a small piece of the stalk and cutting out the bud keeping just enough of the wood so as to make good contact with the rootstock. We also used some thicker twigs as practice rootstock material which we had to make practise cuts in while holding it on the floor as though it was growing in the ground. We then practised tying the buds to the rootstock using a plastic tie which keeps out the rain and also prevents the wood from drying out.
Bud wrapped to rootstock
After practising for a while we went out to choose the varieties we wanted to grow. Some people had particular varieties in mind but I just picked a couple that were suggested to me. Cormac helped us pick good budding material from the trees. Then we headed up to the field that the rootstocks were growing in. Now was the moment of truth where we found out if the theory and the practise work had helped us to get the technique right. We each had three rootstocks to bud to and our bud wood carefully labelled with the variety and our own name for future identification. My first attempt did not go quite right but I was pleased with the other two grafts. If the buds take we will get the trees sent out to us to plant in our own gardens in late winter or early spring while they are dormant.
I had a very enjoyable afternoon and picked up some useful information and valuable practical experience and I look forward to seeing if my efforts paid off for the future.
Filed under College, Garden