Graft

Share this post

My 10-year-old daughter broke her pinkie a few weeks ago while battling to catch a football in a Hail Mary melee on the school blacktop. She had surgery to pin the bone together so it would grow back properly. “She’s going to need a few sessions of finger therapy,” the surgeon told us afterward. My other daughter, who had accompanied her sister, smiled mischievously and whispered: “That’s where you talk to the finger to make it feel better about itself.”

While I’ve known some farmers who have talked to their trees in the springtime to encourage a successful fruit set, there’s a practice farmers employ that reminds me much of a surgeon fixing bones. It’s called grafting—it’s when tissue from one plant is fused with the tissue of another plant. Farmers graft their trees for multiple reasons. Whether it’s to help protect against disease or pests or to change varieties of fruit in order to diversify their crops, grafting can be an important tool for farmers to employ.

A farmer’s graft of a plant has a big impact on the outcome of their work. If a farmer takes an existing tree and cuts it diagonally on the trunk, leaving the root-stock in the ground, she/he can then graft a new scion (a new plant selected for its flowers or fruit) on top of the root stock. You may have read about this practice in the wine-grape industry as a way to help produce grapes with more hardy root stocks that are resistant to certain diseases. Backyard farmers can have fun with this concept too by taking an existing tree (say a plum tree) and grafting individual branches with new kinds of other fruit stems. If done correctly, so that the vascular tissues of both plants fuse properly, you could have a backyard tree that produces plums, peaches, and nectarines—oh my!

Sounds a bit Frankensteinian, but it’s just the way that humans have learned to adapt their farming techniques using natural methods. At this time of year, we’re hoping that the weather favors the farmers’ methods for propagating their trees by allowing for proper flowering, which leads to sweet summer fruit.

Remember to visit our  mix page or go to our  home page and click the ladybug icon to see what's in your mix this week.

Enjoy & Be Fruitful!

—Chris Mittelstaedt,  chris@fruitguys.com

 

Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required

 

Recent The FruitLife articles:

Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018
How to keep your favorite fruit fresh through the summer heat
July 19, 2018

More recent articles:

Quick, easy steps to spruce up your office space
May 14, 2019
Grilled portobello recipe
May 9, 2019
How to prepare physically and mentally for race day
May 9, 2019
Three simple ways to enjoy watermelon radishes
May 2, 2019
Easy spring salad recipe
April 25, 2019
Reduce plastic use with these earth-friendly alternatives
April 22, 2019
Food:
History of the tomato
April 18, 2019
How to make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet
April 11, 2019
How fostering psychological safety increases performance
April 8, 2019
Food:
How to prepare Ataulfo mango
April 4, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.