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Seed Purity And Vitality


Agriculture For Beginners

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By a process known as _grafting_ you can force your tree to produce
whatever variety of apple you desire. Many people raise fruit trees
directly from seed without grafting. Thus they often produce really
worthless trees. By grafting they would make sure not only of having
good trees rather than poor ones but also of having the particular kind
of fruit that they wish. Hence you must now graft your tree.

First you must decide what variety of apple you want to grow on the
tree. The Magnum Bonum is a great favorite as a fall apple. The Winesap
is a good winter apple, while the Red Astrachan is a profitable early
apple, especially in the lowland of the coast region. The Northern Spy,
AEsop, and Spitzenburg are also admirable kinds. Possibly some other
apple that you know may suit your taste and needs better than any of
these varieties.

If you have decided to raise an AEsop or a Magnum Bonum or a Winesap, you
must now cut a twig from the tree of your choice and graft it upon the
little tree that you have raised. Choose a twig that is about the
thickness of the young tree at the point where you wish to graft. Be
careful to take the shoot from a vigorous, healthy part of the tree.

There are many ways in which you may join the chosen shoot or twig upon
the young tree, but perhaps the best one for you to use is known as
_tongue grafting_. This is illustrated in Fig. 64. The upper part, _b_,
which is the shoot or twig that you cut from the tree, is known as the
_scion_; the lower part, _a_, which is the original tree, is called the

Cut the scion and stock as shown in Fig. 64. Join the cut end of the
scion to the cut end of the stock. When you join them, notice that under
the bark of each there is a thin layer of soft, juicy tissue. This is
called the _cambium_. To make a successful graft the cambium in the
scion must exactly join the cambium in the stock. Be careful, then, to
see that cambium meets cambium. You now see why grafting can be more
successfully done if you select a scion and stock of nearly the same

Showing scion and stock from which it was made]

After fitting the parts closely together, bind them with cotton yarn
(see Fig. 65) that has been coated with grafting wax. This wax is made
of equal parts of tallow, beeswax, and linseed oil. Smear the wax
thoroughly over the whole joint, and make sure that the joint is
completely air-tight.

To make a root graft, cut along the slanting line]

The best time to make this graft is when scion and stock are dormant,
that is, when they are not in leaf. During the winter, say in February,
is the best time to graft the tree. Set the grafted tree away again in
damp sand until spring, then plant it in loose, rich soil.

Since all parts growing above the graft will be of the same kind as the
scion, while all branches below it will be like the stock, it is well to
graft low on the stock or even upon the root itself. The slanting double
line in Fig. 66 shows the proper place to cut off for such grafting.

If you like you may sometime make the interesting and valuable
experiment of grafting scions from various kinds of apple trees on the
branches of one stock. In this way you can secure a tree bearing a
number of kinds of fruit. You may thus raise the Bonum, Red Astrachan,
Winesap, and as many other varieties of apples as you wish, upon one
tree. For this experiment, however, you will find it better to resort to
_cleft grafting_, which is illustrated in Fig. 68.

Luther Burbank, the originator of the Burbank potato, in attempting to
find a variety of apple suited to the climate of California, grafted
more than five hundred kinds of apple scions on one tree, so that he
might watch them side by side and find out which kind was best suited to
that state.

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