Tuesday, 15 July 2014

orchard magic

in the spring of 2011, with our fingers crossed, we began grafting for the first time. 
when i say we, it was essentially mark…he did all the research and orchestrating. we were the happy minions.
it was a family affair...our kids may have played hookey!

mark and spencer cut small dormant branches called scions 
and kept them in the fridge for many weeks until the timing was right.  
with all the appropriate equipment acquired and prepared, we were ready…

   they gave the mature trees a fresh cut on the lower branches to be grafted.

with a special knife, the bark was sliced and gently lifted to make a space for the scion.


the scions were tucked in...


margo and i painted the cut bark and scion tips with a special protective elixir called may wax. 
it looked like honey and smelled of bees wax. 

the new branches were then wrapped to keep them in place and prevent them from drying.   

cousin alex painted the mature branch with a very gooey, thick protective tar.


 this sealed the wounds…kind of like a bandaid for the trees.
  ...not so great on clothes though! 

it is really quite magical...

grafting allows us to change the variety of apples that a tree produces without tearing out the orchard. 
it would otherwise take 15 years to establish a new orchard.  
what was previously an orchard of macintosh trees
 is now a healthy productive orchard of jona golds...a lovely late september apple. 
don’t worry…we still have plenty of macs! 
it has been exciting to see the new growth every year and eventually blossoms and fruit. 
now in it's fourth leaf (a farming term for it's fourth year)...

we can invite guests back to enjoy picking in this orchard.

we learned many things together. 
we’ll be happy and proud to show you our work this fall.
warm farm hugs,

                                               carl laidlaw orchards

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