In this video Ian Sturrock reveals the best way to grow the scion graft wood when propagating fruit trees. Bought fruit trees are comprised of two parts: the fruiting wood which is grafted on to a rootstock.
The rootstock determines how vigorous the tree will be and how large it will grow. This is how you can grow the same variety of fruit tree as a pot plant, a small or a large tree in the garden.
Ian grows heritage Welsh fruit trees commercially and so has ‘mother’ trees he uses to produce trees for sale. The rootstocks are bought in from a specialist nursery and then grafted to the fruiting wood.
In the video he explains how to stimulate the tree by over-pruning in the winter, into producing the type of wood wanted – one year old reaction wood – and by encouraging fast growth, ensure it is virus free.
Cutting the scion graft wood in winter (November or December) when the leaves have fallen and the sap has gone to the roots and low trunk produces the ideal wood for whip & tongue grafting in March.
Although Ian suggests keeping the graft wood in the fridge, it can be kept perfectly well plunged into damp peat or sand, sheltered from too much direct sunlight and preferably kept from freezing until March when it is required.
Cutting the wood in early summer before the leaves have been shed produces, with a little pruning, bud wood. This is ideal for T budding in July. For T Bud grafting the leaves are trimmed off, leaving the petiole or leaf stem on, prior to excising the buds for the graft.
Slightly later in the year the graft wood is harvested and prepared in a similar manner for chip budding, another method of producing fruit trees on a controlling rootstocl.
Growing Graft Fruit Tree Wood
You can see more of Ian Sturrock and find information on heritage Welsh fruit trees on his web site – Ian Sturrock and Sons.