By: Rebecca Konopka
Carter County Extension Agent
Most fruit trees that can be grown in Kentucky do not come true from seed. For example, a tree grown from a Golden Delicious apple seed will produce an apple tree, but the fruit will have different characteristics than Golden Delicious in color, taste, and shape. This is why fruit trees are reproduced by asexual propagation, such as budding and grafting. The desired cultivar, Golden Delicious in the example above, is budded or grafted onto a rootstock, a close genetic relative suitable for the graft. Rootstocks are selected to impart special traits—including dwarfing, disease resistance, and insect resistance. The grafted tree consists of the scion (e.g., Golden Delicious apple) and the rootstock (e.g., B.9). In most nursery catalogs, it would be listed as Golden Delicious/B.9.
Extension Offices in eastern Kentucky participate in an annual group rootstock order and now is the time to order pear and M7A apple rootstock for spring grafting. This program allows small fruit producers to group orders and purchase the rootstock at a cheaper price. Grafting demonstration sessions or videos will be held to help those who order learn to graft their own rootstock.
Orders will be taken until February 1st or until sold out. All rootstock is $1.50 each. Checks can be made payable to and mailed to the Carter County Extension Office at 94 Fairground Drive Grayson, KY 41143.
For more information, contact the Carter County office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.