January and February are the time to collect scion wood.
Scions are young twigs that are grafted onto a mature tree. Very often, a single tree trunk can support several varieties of fruit or nut. Grafting scions to an orange tree can convert it to a lemon/lime/orange tree! I once had a single tree that produced nectarines, plums, pears and peaches! Grafting scion wood is an easy way to propagate multiple varieties of fruit from a single tree. This comes in handy especially when working with a small yard or a containerized tree.
Collecting scions is easy. First, gather the following:
Label the baggies with the name of each plant and the date, using the permanent marker. The scion wood will be kept in refrigeration until it is time to graft.
Scions should be 8-18” long and the diameter of a pencil. The best scion wood is normally found at the top of a tree, where it has received the most sunlight. Avoid using water sprouts and suckers because they do not have enough stored food reserves.
Look for vegetative growth, rather than flower buds. If you can’t tell the difference, lean towards more vertical growth twigs. If possible, collect scions from the previous year’s growth.
Because scions are still alive, be sure to treat them gently. Do not use cuttings that show signs of disease or pest damage. If you are pruning at the same time, be sure to not step on them as you work around the tree.
Scions can stay dormant in the refrigerator until it is time to graft, which is when outdoor buds begin to swell.
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
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