Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Layering Bed for Apple Rootstock

A project I completed today is creating a stool layering bed for propagating apple rootstock. We recieved an order of both M26 rootstock and grafted apple trees earlier in the week from Siloam Orchards, the plan is to use half the rootstock for grafting this summer (a technique I'm still learning) while we use the other half for propagating more rootstock. There seems to be an almost total lack of apple rootstock suppliers in the Annapolis Valley (which is remarkable) so it would be great if we could produce our own. I don't know if we'll ever have enough to sell, but we can supply our own needs.

I tilled up a strip 3' by 15' in the rich soil at the very bottom of the orchard, right next to the pond. The little trees are spaced at just over a foot apart. The propagation technique I plan to use for them is to cut them back almost to the ground after they establish themselves for a few years. The trees will then send up new shoots (just like coppicing a forest) which I'll mound soil around. Under the soil the new shoots will produce roots off their stems, then in the dormant season the shoots (now rooted) can be exposed and cut right back to the tree's stool. The process can be repeated for years while the trees will forever remain fairly small, hence the tight spacing.

By the way, this is the reflective pond view the new trees will have:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Owen,

    A really good book with a lot of well illustrated grafting techniques is The Plant Propagator's Bible by Miranda Smith. It's a Rodale publication. You can get it at which has free shipping.

    It's not just Annapolis Valley that has few apple rootstock suppliers; the entire country has few. I finally found M9, B9, M26 and M7 in BC at Derry's Orchard & Nursery - . I tried Siloam but they were very slow in answering my email.

    Given the difficulty of finding a Cdn source, I ordered more than I need and will grow my own using stooling and French layering.