The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Dreaming of Almonds

Dreaming of Almonds

Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 472
I was contemplating about the seldom used practice of high grafting the other day. It's the process where you graft your scion up where you want the tree to branch out, thus the entire trunk (say 3-4') of the tree is from the rootstock. This is not commonly done as it gives a great number of locations for the rootstock to branch from, so extra work in stripping rootstock shoots off while establishing the tree. Why do it then? Apparently it's done so that rootstock is exposed to the elements much more. Citrus growers in marginal areas will do this with a rootstock species that is strongly dormant when the days are short. When they low graft on that same rootstock the scion breaks dormancy whenever the temperature spikes up. When it gets cold again the scion gets massively damaged. But when they high graft the scion stays dormant because the rootstock doesn't wake up and sends no nutrients to the scion leaving it waiting until the day length increases (that rootstock species doesn't want to break dormancy until June).

Getting to almonds...is there a Prunus rootstock that can do the same? Maybe peach? Any thoughts of others? Beach plum maybe? If the flower buds can just stay dormant until later in the spring we might just have something. I'm thinking peach because some of the northern varieties have very high chill hour requirements before breaking dormancy. I've got to get some scions of some of the "late" flowering almonds to see if grafting a branch high in my Reliance peach will do the magic. If it works to push back the blossoms then trying whole trees would be next (to avoid cross pollination with peach since it's the seeds we want). If that works what else might high grafting be good for? Apricots?
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