Growing graft

No, this is not another post about sleaze in Germany’s or America’s or any other country’s politics. Enough of that serious stuff (for now)! Instead, it is one of the far-too-rare fruit posts at Fruits and Votes.

In February, I grafted a scion of a Seuri pear onto my Ya Li tree. These are both varieties of Asian pear. Here is what the graft looked like in May, after it had started growing:

Seuri graft in May

The graft union is beneath the green tape that is wrapped around the branch. The growth of the scion at this time was about seven leaf nodes (maybe 8 inches or less). Just to the left of the graft you can see another one that did not “take.” (The white paint is to pretect the tender scion from the sun.)

And here is what it looks like in mid-December:

Seuri graft in December

In the intervening months, the scion is now at least four times as long as it was in May. You can still see where the graft union is: the lowest green tape. You can also see a stake that I put in late in the spring in order to pull the scion off away from the rest of the tree, so that as it grows it will fill in a section of tree distinct from the Ya Li. Asian pears really want to grow upright, unless you train them otherwise–an extreme example of such training being the Okusankuchi below, which is an espalier on the fence of the corralito:

Espaliered pears and apples

In the original version of this post, I mis-identified the espaliered pear. I do have a Hosui, but that’s not it.
Hosui is another Asian pear, and one of the most exquisitely flavored ones. Farther down the fence you can see some espaliered apples. I don’t know much about Okusankuchi, except that it is described in the catalog as being more tart than most Asian pears, which made it sound interesting. Apparently, it is either higher chill than the others, or just needs to be more mature before it blooms, because it has not had more than a few sporadic blooms so far. And late in the spring, which makes me think inadequate chilling is most likely the problem.*

Asian pear trees are so beautiful in their fall colors! And, as these photos together show, the corralito is in the midst of the grapefruit grove. (The photos of the graft are looking southeast; the one of the espalier is looking northwest, with the graft at the photographer’s back.) The large evergreen trees help shelter the young deciduous trees from wind, and also help trap cold air down here in the lowest part of the finca, thereby maximizing the winter chill needed for good bloom and fruit set.

UPDATE: The Okusankuchi did have a couple of fruit in 2006. The fruit is indeed a bit tart, but only a bit. It had a denser texture than most Asian pears. I would give it a high rating, but not as high as Hosui or Shinko.

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