Guerrilla Grafting

The logical next step after guerrilla gardening is guerrilla grafting. There is a surprising number of abandoned old fruit trees scattered around the public spaces of Seattle – remnants of old orchards that were given up a long time ago. There’s a bit of a movement to restore these now, but progress is slow.

I’ve been interested in grafting, but never had any need or opportunity to actually try my hand at it. These old fruit trees were perfect candidates – they’re still fairly vigorous trees, but the apples are usually tiny cider apples that are not good eating. So early this year I collected some scionwood from our own apple trees and those of another gardener in Columbia City: Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Spitzenberg, and an unidentified variety.

Finally last Sunday, Wendy and I went out and on an excellent guerrilla grafting expedition. Altogether we performed about 10 grafts on 5 or 6 trees. Each grafting site has 1-4 little pieces of scionwood implanted and we used a variety of different grafting techniques. So while I don’t expect a high success ratio, I do hope to see at least a few of the grafts surviving. We should know within a few weeks, though it’ll take a couple of years before we can expect to see any fruit.

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