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Is it spring yet?

Last Saturday, April 23, offered a stark contrast to the same date last year.  Instead of apple trees sporting some pink on flower buds just busting to burst, a couple of inches of heavy, wet snow hung on buds just starting to push green.  Warmer weather is due this week, but it will be mixed with showers.  Growers are busy, applying oil for scale and mite control, chopping prunings, and pruning peaches.  The potential for a great crop is there – but memories of June 11 last year add angst to the equation.

Cleft grafts inserted, waiting for grafting compound.  Photo: W. Lord
Cleft grafts inserted, waiting for grafting compound. Photo: W. Lord

Bark or inlay graft in place and ready to cover.  Photo: W. Lord
Bark or inlay graft in place and ready to cover.  Photo: W. Lord

My pruning demonstrations are done for the year.  I will be demonstrating top-working older trees (grafting over to new varieties) on May 10 at Windy Ridge Orchard in North Haverhill (Meeting Notice).

Bill Lord, April 26, MMXI


Comment from Allison
Time April 26, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Hello! I enjoy reading your posts as my husband and I are novice apple farmers! We are concerned with all this rain and not enough chances to oil our trees, that our crop will be ruined :(

Comment from Mark Mattson
Time February 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Dr Lord – I have an ancient Baldwin apple tree (2.5 ft DBH) in my yard that was heavily damaged by the October 2011 snowstorm. I am considering grafting scions from this tree onto some new rootstock this spring of 2012 to preserve this specific tree. However I have read that all apples of a particular variety are parthenogenetic “clones” vegetatively propagated from a common ancestor. Is there any merit to saving this specific tree by grafting, or am I better off buying a Baldwin already successfully grafted onto a dwarf or semi dwarf root stock? Thank you. Mark Mattson 10 Feb 2012

Comment from Brett Hall
Time February 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm


Great site, thanks for all the great information. I have a question about grafting I was hoping you could help me with. I’m planting a small home orchard at the beginning of April when my bare-root trees arrive. They are coming from Stark and are “supreme” which is supposed to mean they’ll be well branched. I’d like to graft some scions to them as soon as they begin budding in the first year so that I can increase my variety count. Is it ok to graft to a newly planted bare-root tree within the first month of planting it?

Comment from Bill
Time April 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi Brett,
Yes, graft away.

Comment from Bill
Time April 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

While all apple varieties are indeed propagated asexually via grafting, many sports or mutations have occurred over the years and so there are many variants of the original. That said, Baldwin has been remarkably stable and I know of none for that variety so purchasing a new tree may make the most sense horticulturally. Of course, their is the sentimental issue too…if a dear relative had planted that tree years ago and keeping it alive via grafting a new tree from it helped keep that person close, then that is the better course to take. I have grafted many trees for people over the years for just that reason…a very good one in my opinion.

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