We do the best we can every year to pick out new varieties at the nursery, mostly using gut feeling about how these varieties will work in our lineup. For whatever reason, they don’t always work out. Sometimes they revert back to an old gene, not producing the way we thought they would. Other times depending on the soil and weather conditions, that particular variety just doesn’t take off in its environment. There isn’t a lot you can do for the tree if this is the case, but what we can do if the tree is young enough, is graft a new variety to that root stock.
To graft a tree over from one variety to another you must first expose all but one limb (see picture above). Peaches and Nectarines are interchangeable while plums can only be grafted to plum trees.
Once the limbs are exposed you have a few hours to a few days to graft depending on weather conditions (the dryer the better).
Several notches are then sawed into each freshly cut limb.
Wood that was gathered during the fall pruning season is then cut into small pieces and inserted into the slots. The wood has been stored in our cold storage since November and kept moist by coating it with sawdust.
The final step is to coat the exposed ends with tree seal to ensure that no moisture gets in and rots the grafts.
Our grafting crew.