Established in 1990, the Historic Orchard
contains hundreds of 19th century apple varieties on twelve scenic
acres. The orchard is open to the public from March through December.
2010, the Board of Directors approved planting a new orchard at
Heritage Farm. The main impetus for this project is to have an orchard
in a location more accessible to visitors, and to start trees on hardier
rootstocks more suitable for northeast Iowa. The orchard will consist
of new propagations of the best varieties in our Collection.
are propagated in our orchard by grafting the desired apple variety to
existing rootstock. Although there are many grafting methods, just two
are used at SSE and taught in workshops at Heritage Farm throughout the
Bench grafting, also called 'whip and tongue' grafting, is done when the
rootstock and scionwood are still dormant. Scionwood from a terminal
twig is used, and the method is most successful when scion and rootstock
are close in diameter, anywhere from the width of a pencil up to 1
inch. Two cuts are made in both the scionwood and rootstock, creating
'tongues' that interlock the two pieces. The graft is immediately
wrapped, waxed, and stored in a cool, moist place for 7-10 days until
the cambiums heal together. For step-by-step instructions on bench grafting, watch this video by SSE Orchard Manager Dan Bussey.
Bud grafting is also commonly referred to as 'T' or 'shield'
grafting. It is done in late spring or early summer when the rootstock's
bark slips easily and the cambium layer is growing rapidly. The scion
bud is grafted onto first-year rootstock by making a T-shaped wound in
the rootstock's bark and inserting the bud into the wound. The new graft
is held in place with rubber band wrapping that disintegrates after