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Topworking vs. frameworking

TopworkingIn addition to the simple grafts used to make new sapling fruit trees, it's worth learning about techniques you can use to change the variety of more mature trees --- topworking and frameworking.  These related techniques can both be used to completely alter the variety of a mature tree, or to add on a limb of a new variety when creating a fruit cocktail tree.

So what's the difference between topworking and frameworking?  Topworking is more drastic, removing more of the current tree (so it takes longer to recover), but also costing less time and money.  Frameworking keeps the main branches and adds on new fruiting laterals, using scions with six to eight buds and joining the two with stub grafting, side grafting, or inverted L rind grafting.  In contrast, topworking cuts limbs back further and generally uses cleft grafts, oblique cleft grafts (which Garner considers better than the former), rind grafts (if you can wait until April when the bark slips), or strap grafts (a very good graft if you are skilled enough to handle the complexity).

Frameworking treeI won't go into each kind of grafting technique here --- I recommend you check out The Grafter's Handbook or peruse some extension service websites if you want to give any of them a try.  But I'll be writing about this more next spring when I try again to change the varieties of my pear trees (this time probably using the more appropriate frameworking).

I hope you haven't gotten bored with all this talk of grafting, and that it's inspired you to consider making some changes in your own orchard.  We've got several experiments on the horizon in addition to our pear frameworking, including adding a pollinator branch to our plum tree, trying out more apple varieties by grafting a few limbs onto our existing trees, and grafting Asian persimmon tops onto our American persimmon seedlings.  Do you have any grafting experiments in the pipeline?

The Weekend Homesteader is full of fun and easy projects to help bring the beginning homesteader up to speed.



This post is part of our Grafting lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:





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I have a wild plum and a landscaping plum that I plan on grafting next year. This year I plan on spending trimming, pruning and topping and much as possible.
Comment by fostermamas Fri Oct 26 13:24:55 2012

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