How hard is it to graft fruit limbs?
June 4, 2007 6:56 PM   Subscribe

How difficult is it to graft fruit stock onto root stock for the backyard horticulturist?

My neighbor has a huge avocado tree, about a third of which overhangs my yard. I am to understand that it doesn't bear too much fruit. I have an acquantaince with an avocado tree that bears tons of delicious fruit every year. I have been considering grafting a few branches from my friend's tree onto the part of my neighbor's tree that is within an arm's reach. Is this remotely feasible for an average gardener? Can you do a graft of only a few branches? Can a mature tree even take a graft?
posted by mzurer to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know much about it, but it doesn't look like anyone's responding so I wanted to tell you to give it a shot (but not before you tell your neighbor what you're doing). My mom only recently started gardening seriously in her yard, but she's done some grafts that look to be successful. She was raised in a farming family, but still, she'd never done it herself. I bet you're up to it, if you do some reading.

I would imagine it would be easier to graft onto an established plant since it wouldn't be as disruptive. And I don't know what you mean by "Can you do a graft of only a few branches?" - as I understand it, that's the typical case for a graft. I think one thing that might be an impediment is that most grafts I've ever looked at are near the root system, on the main stalk of the plant. I don't know if you'd want to graft onto an overhanging branch, since it seems like it would be harder for the nutrients to make their way all the way out to your graft.

I'm basically talking out of my ass here; this is based on what I've seen done in the (rather involved) gardens I've visited, not on any kind of experience of my own or scientific knowledge. I think a lot of people who are hobbyists use a lot of intuition in this stuff though, so maybe it'll be useful regardless.

I suspect there are good websites out there to help you with this, but never having done it myself, I can't really evaluate them. Good luck!
posted by crinklebat at 8:22 PM on June 4, 2007

My general experiance with graphting on to apple trees is that higher fruit baring branches grafted onto a generally low fruit bearing apple tree result in......more low fruit bearing branches.

Also, barring a variety difference, fruit bearing plants tend to lower fruit production as the trees get older (a google check shows avacados produce for decades to not sure about age as a factor). If this is the case, I'm not sure that grafting a younger/healthier branch on to an older/less-healthy plant will....bear fruit (couldn't resist!)
posted by wylde21 at 10:26 PM on June 4, 2007

I kind of agree with wylde21...and then I wanted to chime in that if you do try it, you've missed your chance for this year. You probably want to do some kind of branch graft so that you see the results quicker, and those are better done in the winter/spring while the plant is still mostly dormant. If you want to do a bud graft, you can still do that this summer. But it definitely is feasible for an average gardener, and you'd probably have a lot of fun doing it.
posted by emyd at 10:04 AM on June 5, 2007

It's totally possible -- and way cool. It'll still be a few years before the grafted tree starts producing, though.

I used to have a book on different kinds of propagation. Can't find it now, which means that it was probably lent out and never seen again. Any of these would do.

The Texas A&M site has some good info on propagation (scroll down). It includes specifics on where to place the graft and what kinds of grafts work best.

Good luck.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:02 PM on June 5, 2007

« Older Looking for an Elderhostel-like service in...   |   Chronological MediaWiki Category Listings Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.