Virtual Apple Grafting Workshop
Learn to graft your own apple trees through our series of virtual presentations and small-group sessions. Scionwood, rootstock, and tools are optionally available through registration. See the full schedule and registration details below.
Kits will ship March 25-31. Note that scionwood can only be shipped within the contiguous United States.
There was a time in America when the ability to increase apple trees through grafting was common knowledge. Imagine a time when friends and neighbors shared their favorite trees freely with each other. And, if you had a tree that was truly wonderful, you could simply graft 10 or 20 more for your own orchard. Through the apple grafting workshop offered by Seed Savers Exchange, those days can return. With a good knife and some practice, anyone can graft new trees.
In this workshop, you will learn the techniques and processes required to successfully bench graft new apple trees. We’ll walk you through the process of splicing dormant scion wood and root stocks. Once the splice is made, the new trees will need to rest and heal under cool and damp conditions, then be planted outdoors. There are few things a gardener can do more gratifying than to graft and grow their own apple trees, and we look forward to walking you through the process.
Date & Time
April 9, 9:00-10:30am Central: Grafting Instruction with Q&A
(Session will be recorded and available for later use)
April 9, 1:00-2:30pm Central: How to Care for Your Young Tree, with Q&A
(Sessions will be recorded and available for later use)
Small Group Grafting and Knife Coaching
Choose your time for small group grafting & knife coaching (all times are listed as Central time):
- Friday, April 9 10:30-11:15
- Friday, April 9 11:30-12:15
- Friday, April 9 2:30-3:15
- Friday, April 9 3:30-4:15
- Saturday, April 10 10-10:45
- Saturday, April 10 11-11:45
Save the dates for additional instruction, with Q&A. Registration for these events is included in all registration options:
April 30, 1:00 p.m. Planting Your Tree: Q&A
You will receive a tree planting tutorial video via email prior to this session. This session will be a Q&A to answer any questions you may have after viewing the emailed video.
May 21, 1:00 p.m. Disbudding & Taping Up: Q&A
You will receive a disbudding tutorial video and a taping up tutorial video via email prior to this session. This session will be a Q&A to answer any questions you may have after viewing the emailed videos.
October 15, 1:00 p.m. Protecting Your Tree for Winter: Q&A
You will receive a tutorial video about protecting your tree for winter via email prior to this session. This session will be a Q&A to answer any questions you may have after viewing the emailed video.
Lindsay Lee, Seed Savers Exchange’s Orchard Manager and Horticultural Advisor, describes himself as an “old-school nurseryman”. He has logged over 45 years in the ornamental horticulture trades, with 30 of those running Willowglen, a seed-to-sale perennial plant nursery near Decorah, Iowa. Lindsay served as the grafting team leader in 1989 when SSE collected the first trees for its Heritage Orchard. “I believe the knowledge and skill of grafting has been eroding among gardeners,” says Lee. “It is my goal to rectify this by teaching gardeners to graft and share their favorite fruits.”
Scion/Root Kit Options
Select from one of three scionwood and rootstock kits, or choose the “No Scionwood” option if you have access to your own material. Each scion kit includes five apple scions, five rootstock (1/4" M-7), practice wood, and grafting tape. Specific varieties subject to availability.
Baldwin - Famous for its use as a cider base, this variety was found as a chance seedling in Massachusetts in 1740. A sweet-tart variety, with a halo of orange where the red blushing meets the light green skin. Dense, large, and hardy, this variety stores, cooks, and juices very well. Late to ripen, these are strong and vigorous growing trees that are best suited for Northern climates and resistant to many apple diseases. A cornerstone in homestead orchards for its variety of uses and durability.
Black Twig - So similar to a Winesap variety that it was once thought to be the same, this distinct variety originated around 1830 in the northern area of Lincoln county Tennessee. Also known as Arkansas, this variety is similar to Winesap in appearance but much bigger. Popular in the South for its ability to thrive in poor soils and its resistance to most common diseases. Thought to be Andrew Jackson's favorite variety (although there is much debate). A very tart apple, giving a nice tart flavor and tannis to ciders and those in search of a tart, mouth drying treat. Skin is red and slightly waxy, thick and good for storage. Said to be an annual bearer and ripens late in the season.
Foxwhelp - First recorded in 1664, this is one of the oldest and most traditional English cider varieties which originate in Herefordshire, England. This wonderful classic cider apple is small to medium sized, tart and very bitter, referred to as a bittersharp cider variety. The flesh can be red streaked, and finely textured, and the skin is yellow with bright red striping. The tree produces fruit in spurs, relatively late in the growing season. An excellent and essential addition to any cider looking for bittersharp notes.
Gano - Thought to be synonymous with Black Ben Davis, but recently proven to be a distinct variety. Considered a seedling of the original Ben Davis, and found in 1834 in Missouri by Ely Jacks. This variety turns a deep purple/brownish (but not black) when ripe, medium to large in size. The flesh is firm and yellowish, with excellent storage abilities. This apple is quite rich and tangy. This variety produces strong and vigorous growing trees, ready in early fall for picking.
Golden Russet - Discovered in the late 1700s in New Jersey, also referred to as American Golden Russet. A medium to small coppery golden apple that blushes under its trademark russeting. Sweet and tangy with agreeable sub acids, this apple has been a benchmark and highly sought after variety in cider production for decades. The flavor profile is deeply rich with notes of apricot and fig, even a bit spicy. Referred to by the cider world as the Champagne of cider apples. Tart when underripe, best to be picked later in the season when the sweetness takes over and great as a storage apple.
Fameuse - French for 'Famous' and also called Snow Apple, this variety is famous on farmsteads around the midwest as a great multipurpose variety. Planted widely in the Northeast by the first settlers, and widely distributed pre 1700s by French settlers in Quebec. Similar in size to a McIntosh, will blush intensely red over half of the green apple skin. Flesh is bright white, juicy, slightly tart, and springly. A crowd pleaser that thrives in colder climates and is early to ripen.
Lady - Originating in France and known there and in England as Api, this variety was believed to have been found in the Forest of Apis sometime in the 1500s. Prized for its highly aromatic character, said to have been carried in the pockets of ladies for its highly aromatic, pleasant aroma. Fruits are small to quite small, but you’ll enjoy every bite (even if it’s just two or three!). Rich, nutty and just a bit astringent with a tender skin, said to sweeten after storage pasted Christmas. Eaten fresh and used for decoration with an intense blushing over green to yellow skin.
Northern Spy - As the name suggests, and excellent Northern apple suitable for even mountainous areas. This variety originated around 1800 in New York, and has been popular commercially for home use. Skins are pinkish with an off white/cream flesh, with a mighty taste profile. Said to be both intensely sweet while also being sharply tart. While it may take a few extra years to fruit, this best quality dessert apple is worth the wait. Multipurpose similar to the Fameuse, excellent for baking, ciders, and fresh eating.
Wismer's Dessert - Introduced in Ontario by J. H. Wismer in 1897. As the name implies, this dessert apple does not disappoint. Medium to large, with a yellow green skin and deep crimson spotting. Thin skinned and juicy, great for fresh eating and mid season maturing. One of our favorite apples this year in the Heritage Orchard at Seed Savers Exchange.
Wolf River - Originating near the Wolf River in Wisconsin in 1856, you will be taken aback by its sheer size. This large red to pinkish apple is a site to see! Known to some as a 'one apple pie' because it only takes one to make a whole pie. It’s more dry texture makes it excellent for baking and the size will wow visitors in your home orchard.
The Combo Kit includes a mix of the Cider and Farmhouse kits: Baldwin, Golden Russet, Lady, Northern Spy, Wismer’s Dessert
Knife Kit Options
Select a knife kit with either a right-handed or left-handed grafting knife, or choose the “No Knife” option if your own grafting knife already. Each knife kit includes a grafting knife, thumb guard, and metal tree tags.
Refund Policy and Contact
We can offer full refunds up to March 22. After that time, we are unable to refund your registration.
If you have questions about this event, contact our customer service staff:
- Send us a note
- Call us at (563) 382-5990