Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop: Participants Leave with Fruits of Their Labor

Patrick O'Malley, Field Specialist Commercial Horticulture, Southeast Iowa

Problem Statement

There is a desire by both commercial and hobbyist fruit tree growers to have access to unique apple varieties that are no longer sold or difficult to find. Additionally, tree sales to consumers often have poorly adapted and/or unidentified dwarfing rootstocks. These obstacles could be overcome by knowledge on how to graft, sources of scion wood and availability of dwarfing rootstocks.

Programmatic Response

Scion wood was obtained from the ISU Hort. Farm and participants themselves. Rootstocks were obtained from a commercial wholesaler and consisted of Polish 2 (dwarf) and Polish 22 (very small dwarf). A fruit tree grafting workshop was held in Bettendorf and Fayette. The workshops were limited to 25 participants due to space requirements, and the need for one-one help. The workshop consisted of general discussion, sources of materials, slide demonstration of different grafting techniques, and hands on grafting of at least two scion/rootstock combinations per participant.


Workshop space filled quickly during pre-registration. Workshops were well received by participants, several of whom had never been to prior Extension programming. Each participant left with an enhanced knowledge of grafting techniques, and at least two newly grafted apple trees. Over 100 trees were grafted. The first of these trees should come into bearing in 2006. Subsequently, several requests have been made for repeating this workshop. A follow-up evaluation indicated approximate 75% success rate on initial grafts (those that failed the first time were to be re-grafted). Benefits to participants include an enhanced quality of life (satisfaction of growing and eating their own fruit), knowledge of grafting, and a potential ongoing total yearly value of $10,000 worth of Iowa grown apples.


May 2005
106 –- Green Industry (Commercial Horticulture)

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