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A different way to get an apple tree!


No, not from the shops or garden centre, or even from a seed (though growing from seed would be a voyage of discovery), with probably better odds than the national lottery of a commercially viable new variety, which could even be named after you. I’m thinking of cuttings, one of the easiest ways to achieve a new tree. Granted with a seed you only need to place it in a pot and cover with compost (although for best results a cold spell say 60 days in a bag in the fridge with some damp sandy grit would improve its chance of germination).

For a cutting look for good healthy shoots grown last season and when cutting aim to include just a little of the prior year’s growth. This basal cut should be below a bud, and use a sloping cut behind and away from the top bud. In terms of height aim for 6 to 9 inches and place the cutting in a gritty compost, out of direct sunlight and don’t let it dry out.

To improve your chance of success use horizontal branches or ones at a slight slope rather than upright shoots, it’s just that these take better. This process has an optimum time of the year in which it is likely to produce the best results, and guess what; February is the best month in which to carry it out.

It’s interesting to think that 200 years ago apples produced using this method were even said to be better than those produced by grafting. This though might have more to do with rootstocks having canker problems.

Apple Grafting

For more great growing tips from Robert, visit his home page

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