Want to grow a fruit tree, but can’t decide which one? Wouldn’t it be great to have more than one type of fruit on a single tree? It’s possible to have this “fruit salad” effect in your backyard with the amazing technique of grafting.
Grafting is the process of splicing a branch or bud from one tree onto another tree. Grafting deciduous trees (trees that lose their leaves in winter) is done in winter when the trees are dormant, or leafless. Evergreen trees such as avocados are grafted mainly in spring. Grafting saves space and allows you to have fruit ripening at different times, stretching out your harvest on one tree.
But you can’t graft just any trees together. They must be related, of the same genus. So: apples (Malus) on apples, avocados (Persea) on avocados, persimmons (Diospyros) on persimmons, pears (Pyrus) on pears, etc. Stone fruits (apricot, nectarine, peach, plum) are in the Prunus genus, so you could graft all of them onto the same tree.
We are at the end of the grafting season for deciduous fruit trees, but it’s just beginning for avocados!
Read more about grafting and budding in U.C. Davis online publications about California backyard orchards.
There is a serious bacterial disease (citrus greening disease, or Huanglongbing) attacking citrus in Southern California. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has asked that laypersons do not graft citrus at this time, in order to prevent the spread of the disease.