In this series we will delve into the world of tree grafting; covering the how-to basics and why you might want to.

What is grafting?

Grafting is a process that involves attaching a pre-existing trimmed branch from one tree to another in such a way that it connects and grows symbiotically with the adoptive plant.  Typically this involves growing different species of the same fruit on the same tree in order to acquire specific traits including flavors and disease resistance but can also mean transplanting an entirely different fruit onto a tree of another.  For example: a plum tree that also grows apricots is entirely possible.

Why should I try grafting?

“Why?” Is a good question for some, like why put your plant at risk?  Why spend the time finicking with something that may or may not survive when you can just grow another tree?  Well grafting has more benefits than you might think.  Not only is it an incredibly cool novelty to have two different fruits on the same tree but when you graft one variety of fruit onto another you can also enable the tree to become self-pollinating.  If you are unaware, after a fruit tree’s flowers bloom, it requires pollination in order to grow fruit.  This process is often fulfilled by natural events like by the carrying of the pollen by the wind or by the legs of honeybees.

It’s even true that some fruit trees are already self-pollinating such as some cherries, nectarines, peaches and apricots while other fruits such as apples, plums, and pears are cross-pollinating.  This means that they require the pollination of another variety in order to bare crop.  Grafting a new variety onto an existing tree brings the process much closer and almost guarantees pollination.  So by putting two varieties of pears on the same tree you get two flavors and self-pollination, bonus!  And although it may not seem like a huge benefit to some, having two varieties also allows you to save space which can mean a world of difference for both the small urban farmer on their apartment deck and the big timers growing massive orchards.

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