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Care of a newly grafted apple tree

Leafing out rootstockOne of my favorite parts of homesteading is the daily surprises.  Sunday, the hummingbirds showed up and I learned that the tiny birds sustain themselves in the early spring on peach blossoms and the like.  Monday, I harvested our first two asparagus spears in preparation for the hard freeze.  And Tuesday I noticed that my baby apple trees were starting to leaf out.

Most of the trees' action so far is on the rootstock, which is normal but which requires a little care.  With newly grafted trees, you don't want the rootstock to put its energy into growing leaves and branches.  Instead, you'd like the plant to focus on healing up that junction between rootstock and scionwood, then to start feeding energy into the scionwood above.  To keep the baby trees in line, I went through and carefully picked off the sprouts coming off the rootstocks, and will repeat the task as needed until the scionwood is growing strong.

Like many aspects of homesteading, care of a baby tree doesn't take much time, but should be timely.  I think the biggest difference between someone with a green thumb and someone who kills every plant they try to raise is the willingness to spend a few minutes a day with their eyes wide open, then a few more minutes tending to whatever needs their care.  Just walking through our core homestead with my senses wide open is another of my favorite parts about homesteading.



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