|Even with the annual maintenance tasks improving the health and vigor of the trees, a few will succumb to old age and/or severe weather conditions. In an effort to preserve the genetics of the historic varieties, OPRD foresters have been actively grafting scion wood from the parent trees onto new rootstock. The scion wood grows into a tree that is identical, genetically, to the parent tree and thus ensures the survival of the historic variety. These trees are grown for two years in a nursery setting, after which they are out-planted in the orchard.
How do you start a new fruit tree?
If you guessed, "plant a seed", you are partially correct. A seed from an apple will grow an apple tree, but it will not be "true" to the variety of tree the fruit was picked from. The new tree will produce apples in a few years, but they will likely have little flavor and will taste nothing like the parent tree's apples. On occasion, delicious fruit will be produced, tasting much different than the parent tree's apples. Thus is the beginning of a new variety of apple!
If you want to start a fruit tree from a variety that you enjoy eating, you will need to find a mature tree of that variety. In the winter while the tree is dormant, cut a short branch that has several buds on it. (This is called a scion.) Graft this branch onto a generic root stock, water it well and watch the buds leaf out and grow as springtime arrives and the weather warms. Be sure and graft apple branches to apple root stock, pear branches onto pear root stock, etc.
Nursery of baby fruit trees. Grafted tree planted in an Orchard
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