Starting Your Own Fruit Trees

Written by Thomas Leo Ogren


*Note: This article first appeared in Grandiflora Magazine.

Starting Your Own Fruit Trees

Thomas Ogren I flat out love growing fruit trees and have been crazy about them all my life. Or at least, as much of my life as I can remember. Actually,repparttar very first thing I can clearly recall involved fruit trees. I was about three, possibly four years old. It was a warm, lazy spring weekend and my older sisters were gone somewhere with my mom, but my dad was home, working inrepparttar 113433 garage. I wasnít allowed to crossrepparttar 113434 street by myself, but downrepparttar 113435 block, acrossrepparttar 113436 street, was a beautiful pineapple guava tree growing inrepparttar 113437 middle of some grouchy old manís lawn. The tree had a huge crop of large, green, totally delicious fruit, butrepparttar 113438 owner wouldnít let any of us kids pick guavas from his tree, much less climb it. He claimed that we would breakrepparttar 113439 branches. He would however let us have fruit that fell onrepparttar 113440 ground, but these guavas were generally too soft and mushy. That day I walked downrepparttar 113441 street by all by myself, seeing no adults or even any other kids around. I looked at that tree and dashed acrossrepparttar 113442 street. The old man was nowhere around and I climbed up his guava tree and started stuffing big, fat guavas in all my pockets. I picked as many as my pockets could hold and climbing back down I did indeed break a few small branches. Looking both ways (of course!) I ran back acrossrepparttar 113443 street with my loot. Back at home I found my dad still inrepparttar 113444 garage and I showed him my stash, expecting him to yell at me for crossingrepparttar 113445 street. But dad never did makerepparttar 113446 connection and thus my first episode of crime was all in all, a total success. Some fifty years later I now have five guava trees growing in my own yard, all grown from seed. I also have many other fruit trees, all of them homegrown ones.

Fruit From Cuttings Some fruit is so easy to propagate I always wonder why everyone doesnít try it. Grapes, figs, mulberries, and pomegranates are all easy to grow from directly-stuck cuttings. I cut off a piece of dormant wood, 12-18 inches long, and I bury almost all of it inrepparttar 113447 ground where I want it to grow. I leave at least one good bud above ground. Sometimes to insure a better take, Iíll stick five or six such cuttings inrepparttar 113448 same spot. If they all grow, thenrepparttar 113449 next winter I dig uprepparttar 113450 extra ones and give them to friends. I use cutting wood that grew last year and find that wood that is about pencil thickness or somewhat thicker rootsrepparttar 113451 best. I recently accidentally discovered a way to get plum wood to root for me. I used a long whip of plum branch (dormant wood) as a stake in a one gallon pot of some fancy gold heart ivy. To my surpriserepparttar 113452 plum wood rooted and started to growrepparttar 113453 next spring. I now do this on purpose, using plum wood that is from last yearís vigorous growth. I select plum whips 2 to 3 foot long, with no branching on them, and stick each one allrepparttar 113454 way down intorepparttar 113455 center of a gallon pot of some well-rooted perennial flowers or herbs. A surprising number of these plums grow, and since they are "on their own root,Ē they donít need to be budded or grafted. Try it.

From Seed I have a spot in my backyard next to my compost heap, and here I toss any and all old pits from plums, apricots, peaches, and nectarines. I toss apple and pear seeds in here too. Atrepparttar 113456 end ofrepparttar 113457 summer I shake an inch or so of old compost overrepparttar 113458 area and see what grows. Since I do this every year, I always have a ready supply of seedlings each year. Inrepparttar 113459 winter months, or inrepparttar 113460 very early spring months if you live in a zone 4-7 area, dig up some of these year-old seedlings, bare root, and pot them up one to each one gallon pot. I use a 50-50 mix of potting soil and garden dirt. I then waterrepparttar 113461 pots, setrepparttar 113462 potted seedling on a table, clip off most ofrepparttar 113463 top, leaving 4-6 inches of trunk above ground, and then cleft graftrepparttar 113464 seedling. Cleft grafting is, I think,repparttar 113465 easiest method and it works well with apricot, peach, plum, nectarine, quince, apples and pears. I use a thin bladed knife and tap it (tappingrepparttar 113466 back ofrepparttar 113467 knife blade with a small hammer or a piece of wood) directly intorepparttar 113468 center ofrepparttar 113469 cut seedling, going down only about one inch. I cut scion wood (whatever you want to convert your seedling to) that is from last yearís growth. I like to use scion wood that has a diameter that is slightly smaller thanrepparttar 113470 diameter ofrepparttar 113471 seedling Iím going to graft it to. The grafts, or scions, should be about 3 to 4 inches long and each should have several good, dormant buds. The scions can be cut to shape with a sharp pocketknife. Try to get your scions cut smoothly, with a gradual taper. The scions are then tapped into place inrepparttar 113472 split seedling (the rootstock), making sure thatrepparttar 113473 cambiums of both scion and rootstock match on at least one side. The cambium isrepparttar 113474 thin green layer of wood that is just insiderepparttar 113475 outer bark. To keep your work from drying out, coverrepparttar 113476 entire finished graft with a thick coating of grafting tar or grafting wax. I also put a dab ofrepparttar 113477 tar or wax directly onrepparttar 113478 exposed cut tip ofrepparttar 113479 scion. Be careful as you do this, not to knockrepparttar 113480 scion out of contact withrepparttar 113481 rootstock cambium. Now, unless a kid, bird, or a cat bangs into this graft and knocksrepparttar 113482 scion askew, if you did it right, come springtimerepparttar 113483 scion will sprout and grow. Voila! Youíve got a grafted fruit tree. You can graft peach onto almond, apricot, plum, peach or nectarine rootstock, and visa versa. For sandy soils peach or nectarine makerepparttar 113484 best rootstocks, but for heavy clay soils, plum is by farrepparttar 113485 best. Apples can be grafted on apple seedlings, as can pears. Pear can also be grafted on apple stock. If so inclined, scion wood from quince can also be grafted onto apple or pear. An apple or pear grafted onto a quince rootstock will be a dwarfed tree. If your soil is clay, a pear rootstock grows best. If sandy or loamy, apple is preferred. I grow these new fruit trees on inrepparttar 113486 gallon pots for a year, making sure to cut off any sucker wood that arises from belowrepparttar 113487 graft. Keep them well fertilized and watered and they will often grow 3-5 feet in one summerís time. The next year either plant them or give them away to friends. If you have a potted fruit tree seedling whererepparttar 113488 graft fails to take, simply cut offrepparttar 113489 unsuccessful grafted part. You can re-graft itrepparttar 113490 next dormant season. If you have year old seedlings left inrepparttar 113491 ground that you wonít get around to digging and grafting, consider chopping them off just aboverepparttar 113492 ground inrepparttar 113493 late fall. The next spring these seedlings will grow up with multiple trunks. The next winter dig your second-year seedlings with multiple trunks, thin them back torepparttar 113494 strongest 2 or 3 stems, and then cleft graft each ofrepparttar 113495 stems to something different. I have made many three-in-one trees this way, part plum, part apricot, and part nectarine. These make extra nice presents. You can of course just as easily graft each branch to a different cultivar ofrepparttar 113496 same species, such as three different kinds of plum onrepparttar 113497 same rootstock. A tree like this is often very fruitful, since it will cross-pollinate itself.

Insecticides & Fungicides/Spreader-stickers, Wetting Agents: Getting the most out of Your Sprays

Written by Thomas Ogren


Spreader-stickers, Wetting Agents: Gettingrepparttar most out of Your Sprays

Thomas Ogren

Spreader-stickers or if you prefer, sticker-spreaders, are agents we can add to garden sprays to make them more effective. These additives are commonly used in commercial horticulture and in agriculture, but for some reason are as yet relatively unknown to most gardeners. Sticker-spreaders can be made of many different components, organic or inorganic. Oftenrepparttar 113432 actual ingredients in a particular brand of sticker-spreader will be kept secret, as a proprietary formulation known only withinrepparttar 113433 company producing it. Some brands use silicone-based surfactants, oils, emulsifiers and buffering agents, while others may use odd combinations of things like fish oil and fatty acid soaps. Several are made entirely from some sort of emulsified soybean oil. Actually, common dish soap will act as a sticker-spreader, it just wonít be as effective. To be totally technically correct here, sticker-spreader is a combination of two adjuvants. Adjuvants are materials added to spray mixtures to increaserepparttar 113434 effectiveness ofrepparttar 113435 main active ingredient. If we want to be completely correct with our terminology here, we probably ought to note too that spreaders are adjuvant surfactants. Surfactants are adjuvants that reduce surface tensions of solutions, helping them spread and cover leaves more effectively. Stickers are adjuvants that aid inrepparttar 113436 attachment to a surface. The water-soluble wax product often used to spray Christmas trees to keep them turgid, Wiltpruff, is also sometimes used as a sticker-spreader. I recently did some comparison spraying of roses in my own garden. I was sprayingrepparttar 113437 roses with a homemade combination to keeprepparttar 113438 darn deer from eating them intorepparttar 113439 ground. With both batches of spray I used, per gallon of water, two raw eggs, four cloves of garlic, and a cup of skim milk. I blended allrepparttar 113440 ingredients in a blender before putting them inrepparttar 113441 sprayer. I sprayed two different sections of roses. Inrepparttar 113442 first section I usedrepparttar 113443 above mix, withrepparttar 113444 addition of 6 tablespoons of dish soap. Inrepparttar 113445 second section of roses I usedrepparttar 113446 same mix but used two tablespoons of a commercial grade sticker-spreader.

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