Learn how to graft fruit trees

posted by Randy Lemmon - 

When a citrus tree freezes, as many did early last January, they tend to come back from the root system. 

However, that growth will be from sour orange (trifoliate) root stock, so any future fruit that might be produced will likely be inedible. That can be disappointing and frustrating. But many don’t realize they could actually have a productive fruit tree again in as little as two years, if they just graft the right kind of citrus onto the stock

Many people feel that grafting is beyond them. But I can assure you that a degree in botany, biology or horticulture is not needed for fruit grafting. However you do need a tiny bit of education to succeed. Luckily, scores of classes are offered throughout the year at county extension offices, nurseries and garden centers. And once you learn the basics, you will experiment with it again and again to see what different fruits you can grow in this area. 

So, if you’re thirsting for this kind of knowledge, be at the Arbor Gate in Tomball at 11 a.m. Sunday when Professor Seth Knight, the Arbor Gate’s staff answer man, will hold a grafting class.  Professor Seth and I are always comparing notes on the problems and recommendations of the day. He’s lots of fun to talk with, and I promise you’ll be fully entertained while you learn about the basics of air layering, cleft grating and rooting cuttings.

Seating will be limited, so reserve a spot right now at www.arborgate.com.

Before retiring, Professor Seth was a horticulturist with the State of Texas for six years and a professor of horticulture for three decades in the Houston Community College System. He has taught courses in many areas of horticulture, including entomology, and worked with insects and plant health problems.

Grafting is not as difficult as you might think, and you can become quite proficient at it. With just a little knowledge, you can perpetuate some of the best fruit and help sustain some root stocks. While the stocks won’t likely ever produce again, they can act as a well-established home base for grafting purposes.

If you can’t make this Sunday’s class but still have an interest in learning how to graft fruit trees, check out some of these online resources:

GardenLine with Randy Lemmon

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