Willow Crossing Farm, Johnson, VT
Join us for a day of hands-on fruit tree grafting. We’ll begin the day in the classroom understanding the science of grafting, and bench-grafting apples, plums, and other stone fruits. After a farm-sourced lunch, we’ll go out and ‘top work’ multiple varieties onto pears, apples, plums, and other stone fruit. We’ll discuss some pruning basics, different grafting strategies for ‘fruit salad trees’, healing damaged trees, reworking new varieties, revitalizing old orchards, enhancing cross-pollination, and space considerations. We’ll look at and evaluate both successful and failed past grafts.
We’ll contextualize our work in briefly telling some history of our farm and touring our incredibly diverse collection of nuts, berries, vines, nitrogen-fixing plants, and regenerative DIY farm infrastructure.We’ll also explore the incredible history of grafting, the range of grafting possibilities, and practice with professional grafting tools which make for more successful grafts by novices and experts alike.Each attendant will leave with an apple variety of their choosing on semi-dwarf or standard rootstock, or a stone fruit variety of their choosing on native american plum rootstock.$25-100 sliding scale includes light lunch, cider, and your own grafted fruit tree to take home. No one will be refused for lack of funds.Details about a St. Patricks Day dinner, drinks, and live traditional music to follow the event are HERE.
We’ll also be offering this event again in April.Please RSVP here or register at:www.prospectrock.org
Zach Leonard is a master horticulturalist and as been the farm manager of Elmore Roots Nursery for more than a decade. He and his family have created High Hopes Farm, a diverse off-grid homestead.
Keith Morris has been collecting and experimenting with rare fruits, nuts, and medicinal plants since 1996, and is professor of ecological design at the University of Vermont. He’s slowly built his family’s farm debt-free with sweat-equity and has contributed to creating resilient and diverse food systems on 5 continents.
Here are some guidelines if you are doing any scionwood collection:
If you know of any especially good apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, hardy almonds, apricots, or other stone fruit- please feel free to bring some scionwood to share and/ or propagate more of them. To collect good scion wood for grafting, use the healthiest, most robust wood you can find. It should be growth from the previous year with healthy flat buds (preferably no spurs) that is around 1/4″ in diameter. Most times this wood is 12″-18″ long and contains 6-12 buds. Try to collect on a dry day with temps near or above freezing. If possible, collect from the top or vigorous outside branches so as to get the strongest buds. Do not collect from the base of the tree or suckers from the ground as they are likely rootstock and will not produce the desired variety. Bundle the sticks and wrap the cut ends in a damp paper towel. Then wrap in a plastic bag and keep in the refridgerator or a very cold root cellar (around 32 degrees F). The freezer is too cold. Label the bundle clearly with the variety name and any other pertinent information (duct tape w/ sharpie marker is good) If you do not know the name of a favorite apple or fruit tree, label it ‘unknown’ and include a brief description and location collected. Only use clean sharp pruners and sterilize them with a swipe of alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
There will be plenty of scionwood to go around if you do not collect any.