Fruit Salad Trees

fruitMost big fruit tree orchards use grafted trees to combine a sturdier trunk and root plant with delicate branches that produce tasty and consistent fruit. A long-dead fruit tree can keep bearing fruit from branches attached to a different trunk. And it is possible to graft several different kinds of fruit branches onto the same tree!  

Grafting unites the tissues of two or more plants so that they grow and function as a single plant. One plant in the graft is called the rootstock, selected for its healthy or hardy root system. The other plant or plants, chosen for their fruit, flowers or leaves, are known as scions. You can join a scion to a rootstock in many different ways. In one of the most common techniques, you remove a branch from a plant whose fruit you want to reproduce and cut the broken end of the branch into a V-shape not unlike the reed for a woodwind. Shaving the scion in this way exposes its vascular cambium—a ring of plant tissue full of dividing cells that increase the branch’s girth. Once the scion is ready, you slice lengthwise into a branch on the rootstock—exposing its vascular cambium—and wedge the scion into the cleft. Successful grafting requires placing the vascular cambia of both the rootstock and scion in close contact. Another grafting method involves cutting small pockets between the rootstock’s bark and cambium and slipping scions into those pouches. To seal the deal, you bind the scion and rootstock with a rubber band, tape, staples, string or wax.

Ferris Jabr at Scientific American goes on to explain what happens inside the branch as grafting takes hold. But you don't have to do it yourself. He also has links to several nurseries that sell fruit salad trees for your backyard. Link -via 80beats

(Image credit: Fruit Salad Trees)


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I worked in the stone fruit business in California for a few years. The trouble with fruit salad trees is that the different varieties all have different levels of vigor. Eventually one or two of the varieties out-compete the others, which wither away and stop producing. The better thing to do if you're trying to get the most production out of a small space is multi-planting and rigorous pruning.
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I know that in San Francisco there is a group of people who have grafted fruit trees to normal trees in the city on side walks and in parks to have a "free" sustainable food source for the less fortunate. The city doesn't always allow it, without proper maintenance (who likes rotting fruit on the ground?), but some neighborhoods have taken to it and have dedicated people who don't mind the gardening adventure
I forget what the group is called, but i love the idea!
With so many parks with trees that are healthy and maintained one little branch that bears fruit is just a great idea.
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Even Wal-Mart near us sells "fruit salad" trees---typically mixtures of stone fruit, like plums, apricots, nectarines, peaches.
I bought a cheap one ($25?) years ago, but either due to it's fragility, or my incompetence, it didn't survive a year.
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Yes. I live south of Fort Myers FL. I also have a "regular" lemon tree that has produced fruit for the past few years. I grew a peach tree and had decent fruit one year. I'm about to remove that and get an orange or grapefruit tree to replace it.
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