Having recently found out that Pears, Quince and Medlar can be grafted onto Hawthorn I’ve been experimenting with cleft grafting these onto existing hawthorn trees.
This is Doyenne du Comice pear cleft grafted onto a 20 year old hawthorn.
I have grafted onto a stem about 2 inches in diameter. The stem behind has been left as a sap drawer and will be removed next winter.
Knowing that Hawthorn will take such varieties opens up a lot of possibilities.
There is great potential for creating linear orchards (or ‘edible corridors’) within existing hedgerows.
Scrub land on town and city outskirts quite often have plenty of hawthorn and crab apple (onto which all varieties of apple can be grafted). This can be seen as established rootstock ready to be turned into a productive orchard with very little work.
Hawthorn and crab apple will grow on very poor soils. If they are used as rootstock then this will extend the potential for creating orchards in such places where it wouldn’t usually be considered.
The next 3-4 weeks are the ideal time for cleft and rind grafting.
I will be using this time to try out these methods.
This hawthorn on the Old Rasecourse Common near Oswestry was pruned last year and has put on plenty of healthy growth. This new growth can now be grafted this winter or budded next August with either Quince, Medlar or Pear.
I’m assuming this thorn has self seeded. If this is the case then this is the perfect rootstock for the area. The tree will be of true local provenance, being the offspring of generations and generations before it all well adapted to local conditions.
The Old Rasecourse is used by hundreds of people every week. There is potential to create lots of fruit trees from the existing Hawthorn stock.
If areas like this can be made slightly more productive in terms of providing a free sustainable food source, then it will be a small step toward reducing our dependancy on imported and non-local food sources.
If anybody reading this has any experience of cleft or rind grafting I’d be grateful for any advice. (This is my first season at attempting it so I will have to wait to see how successful I’ve been)