WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT GRAFTING ROOTSTOCK
It is good to call the nursery and inquire what type of rootstock a tree is grafted on to verify that it will not exceed its advertised mature height and width. The grafting rootstock that is used will determine, in large part, just how much trouble you have with your tree.
The type of rootstock will determine the trees’:
- Size (Height and width)
- How much cold it can take in the winter as well as its drought tolerance
- How soon it will begin producing fruit (In general: 2 to 3 years for Dwarf; 4 to 5 years for Semi Dwarf; 6 to 8 years for Standard sized trees)
- The amount of fruit production
- What types of soil it will flourish in (Sandy, clay, wet, well drained, etc.)
- The longevity of the tree (Some grafting rootstock is prone to rot.)
NOTE: As an example, there are a number of different types of Dwarf fruit tree rootstocks. The same goes for Semi Dwarf and Standard sized trees.
RELATED ARTICLE: DECIDING ON A PLANTING LOCATION
When deciding between planting Dwarf, Semi Dwarf, or Standard sized fruit trees, take into consideration that you will still need a ladder to pick fruit even from a Dwarf or Semi Dwarf tree.
HARVESTING THE FRUIT
Inserting a ladder between tangled branches sometimes necessitates cutting off branches as you go. A long handled fruit picker helps, but it is sometimes hard to maneuver between the branches without knocking off unripe fruit in the process.
NOTE: Always wear protective eyewear when working among tree branches.
RELATED ARTICLE: USING FRUIT TREES AS ORNAMENTALS
If it is possible to drive a pickup right up under or beside a tree, you can climb up into the back end and will have a stable place to stand while you pick fruit, and can drive the boxes of fruit back to the house.
Many years ago, housewives would enlist the help of sons or neighborhood boys to climb up and help with the fruit harvest. One of my young uncles could climb like an ape. With one arm wrapped around a limb for support, he would pick fruit and carefully drop each piece down into waiting hands and outstretched aprons.
Just knowing that the fruit would be transformed into wonderful pies, cobblers, and jam to spread thickly on homemade bread made these children anxious to help out each season.
HAPPY PLANTING! Susan
For more in-depth information on GROWING YOUR OWN FRUIT