The fine art of grafting weeds

Several years ago, a seedling of some Malus-type plant showed up next to one of the apricots. I tried to rip it out, but, the roots were too well established for brute force. Despite having beaten the poor thing, I just left it. The tree has since recovered, grown, and last year put on some footage in a skyward dash.

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The buds are small, and the growth quite delicate. I believe it is some sort of crabapple.

At any rate, I figured I might as well try grafting onto this well rooted specimen. I took scionwood from my Ashmead’s Kernal apple, and inserted these into the cambium layer of the lopped little tree.

With two sides grafted beautifully, I hope at least one side is a success.

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I also grafted via a similar method onto a “weed” mulberry that has grown up by our garden shed. It was about ten foot tall before I lopped it to four foot. I inserted three scions of named varieties I have growing in Mortal Tree.

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Wild mulberries can take over a decade to start fruiting, while cultivated varieties have been selected for quick fruiting. Some of my cultivated varieties of mulberries that were two year old when I bought them fruited the first year I planted them in Mortal Tree!

Since this weed mulberry was showing no signs of fruit, I figure the grafting may even get me fruit sooner than if I had left the tree to mature. Here’s hoping I’m right.

4 Comments

  1. Loved reading about your experiments. I haven’t tried grafting, but I will have plenty of rootstock around to experiment with because I recently learned that my friendly local ground squirrel collected the fallen peaches and plums that I didn’t get around to picking up and “planted”them throughout the yard and in all my large pots. At a guess, I have a dozen young stone fruits sprouting, and probably more on the way. Maybe this is a use for them.
    There are several named mulberry types that I want and have bought repeatedly, but they always die back to the graft over the winter. I can’t figure out why, since mulberries are a common weed tree in my area. It’s a perplexing failure. One day I’ll write a post about invasives that I have failed with.

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    1. O you are lucky! Well, we’ll see how lucky. But that sounds like a goldmine of opportunity even if you don’t graft the seedlings. Some of the most productive stone fruits I have seen were planted by no human hand.

      I have had similar problems with mulberry. One loss after another. I changed supplier and had huge success. Try Raintree Nursery. They don’t cut back their grafted seedlings they send you. I’m not sure if that’s the difference, but I only had to buy from them once. The Kukuso is by far my favorite -the most precocious, enormous fruit, and very vigorous. And the biggest leaves.

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