A great friend and neighbor, Misty, came to Leafhopper Farm to offer a lesson in grafting. Our WWOOFers were eager to hop in and learn with this great lady and her wonderful experience. We focused on the apple trees, specifically the five heritage varieties we have established on the property.
As a group we collected scion wood from the elder trees and then engaged with root stalk that’s been established in our tree nursery the last few years. These root stalks were in serious need of grafting, and it was a perfect chill day to get outside and cut.
It took an afternoon to fully graft the five young stock trees with freshly cut scion wood. Each root stock will have a single variety grafted on to prevent confusion. We labeled each of the trees to remind ourselves of which scion variety came from which mature tree. This record keeping is invaluable in tracking the health and overall success of the different kinds of apples.
Leafhopper Farm considers fruit trees and important part of our food forest plan, and grafting new varieties to further our orchard is a great way to make fruit trees affordable. Apples tend to be the easiest type of fruit tree wood to work with, and we had established root stock for it. The farm also hosts cherry, plumb, and pear trees. We plan to continue our grafting experience with the more difficult types in the future.
We’ll check in with these trees throughout the summer to make sure the grafts have taken hold. Many of our first tries will probably fail, but that’s expected in the learning curve of grafting, and we know we can graft again and again until it takes. This new skill is so invaluable, and it was a pleasure to have an expert come share her knowledge with us here at Leafhopper Farm.
Special shout out to our WWOOFer team, Scout and Daniel, who worked tirelessly in getting all the scion wood harvested and grafted in a timely way. Work is always easier to complete as a group, and it was a pleasure spending this day together in the orchards, establishing long term viability for the land and our larder.