Is there a better way to spend Earth day than gathering with friends to graft hundreds of cider apple trees? This past weekend we headed on over to Heartwood Farm & Cidery to continue building our own cider orchard.
Apple trees are grafted for several reasons - the first being that apple seeds, when planted don't grow true to seed, and in fact often carry very few of the parent trees traits. The second being that apple tree cuttings often don't root well.
We graft in early spring, when the vegetative wood (scion) is still dormant and can be joined to the rootstock. We used both the whip and tongue technique and omega tool to perform our bench grafts.
Labelling newly grafted cider apple trees
For our second round of grafting we've chosen Geneva 200 & 202 stock - both semi-dwarf trees that will produce an earlier crop and are cold hardy with good disease resistance. We joined these with a variety of scion wood that we collected, including Golden Russet, Tolman Sweet, Liberty, and Wickson to name a few.
Newly grafted Tolman Sweet cider apple trees
In the next week or two, we'll be planting these out into our nursery at the farm and grow them out for another year before planting them in the orchard.