A friend of mine shared this image with me today. I'll be honest with you, I have seen ads in seed catalogs that advertised grafted fruit trees that produce several types of fruit on the same tree, but I never really took them too seriously. I figured it was a gimmick to make quick sales. I assumed that the trees either would not produce well, or would produce inferior fruit. I'm beginning to rethink that.
This tree, referred to as the Tree of 40 Fruit is the brainchild of Sam Van Aken, a professor from Syracuse University. In an attempt to save heirloom stone fruit, Van Aken grafted over 40 different stone fruits to one rootstock to create a tree that produces over 40 fruits, such as plums, peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines and even includes almonds. According to Van Aken the tree produces fruit throughout the summer with manageable amounts of each fruit.
Van Aken grafted the growing tips (scions) of fruit trees to the original root system (rootstock) using chip grafting. The rootstock is approximately two years old and takes another two to four years to produce the first fruit.
Chip grafting involves cutting a wedge shaped section in the rootstock and removing the wood. An identical cut is made on the scion just below a bud so that the end of the scion fits perfectly into the cut out wedge in the rootstock. The scion is positioned in place, matching the cambium layers and taped. The tree is allowed to rest over the winter. In the spring, the wood from the rootstock above the graft is cut away to allow the grafted scion to flourish and produce new growth.
If you are interested in trying your hand at grafting your own trees, check out these Easy Grafting Techniques. I know I will be giving it some serious thought this year!
Until next time . . . HAPPY GARDENING!