Multi-Grafted Fruit Trees are Perfect for Small Gardens

comments (5) April 22nd, 2011

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ChrisMcLaughlin Chris McLaughlin, contributor
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This is a 2-in-1 pear tree. Cool, right?
Photo courtesy of Stark BrosClick To Enlarge

This is a 2-in-1 pear tree. Cool, right?

Photo courtesy of Stark Bros

You may be familiar with the fact that nurserymen and gardeners commonly graft branches of one type of tree to a different tree trunk. This technique is used for various reasons. Sometimes a sturdy rootstock is chosen along with a different plant that has desirable flowers or fruit. The scion is cut from the desirable plant is then grafted onto the rootstock which creates a sturdier or more versatile plant.

Multi-grafting for a variety of fruit is a creative way to have several fruits produce on the same tree. These are sometimes referred to as "fruit cocktail" trees. Like the 4-in-1 apple tree with Fuji, Gala, Gold Delicious, Red Delicious apple branches grafted onto the same tree trunk. The same can be done with cherry, peach, plums, pears, and citrus.

The grafts are all created by using plants within the same genus. For instance, peaches and apricots belong to the same genus, Prunus, so they could be multi-grafted. Because plums and nectarines belong to this genus, they could also be grafted along side the first two. You'll find fruit cocktail trees that have as little as two fruit varieties grafted on or as many six.

We small-space gardeners are indebted to those that pioneered these trees and we're prepared to take full advantage. Not only do multi-grafted trees make it easier to grow multiple fruit varieties in a compact space, but they also allow for an extended harvest. If you want to give multi-grafted fruit trees a try in your yard or garden I'd check out Stark Bros first -- just 'cuz they have great trees and they're cool people. But, I added a few more resources for your perusing pleaseure.

Have you planted multi-grafted fruit trees? What was your experience?

posted in: fruit

Comments (5)

citrusgrower writes: I love citrus trees. Grafted ones grow fast and east. In los angeles we buy our fruit trees from
Posted: 5:28 pm on November 27th
ARWadoo writes: Hi
I am a gardener and have developed multigrafted apple,pear and appricot trees. Aple multi varities on M9 rootstock start bearing in the second year only. I would love to have a columnar rootstock , We do not hve a nursery in India growing columnar rootstock.
Posted: 1:42 pm on October 24th
pioneerlady writes: About 35 years ago, I planted a 5 n 1 grafted Starks Brothers' pear tree. Every fall, my friends and family enjoy eating and preserving the sweet fruit. Thanks Stark Brothers!
Posted: 9:22 pm on April 23rd
Juli_Dirt_2_Dinner writes: I have a multi-graft apple, a 5-in-1, that we put in last year. It looks healthy and is growing fairly evenly, which I hear can be a challenge with these guys. It was gorgeous this year blooming with all those different flowers on the various types of branches.

I took a grafting class this spring at Common Ground and am now experimenting with another apple, a pear, a plum and a couple of mulberry trees. So far they are all still alive! :-)
Posted: 3:37 pm on April 22nd
ThankGod4Gardening writes: Has anyone out there actually grown one?
Posted: 3:22 pm on April 22nd
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