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Frugal Gardening: Learn How to Graft and Create Your Own Fruit Salad Tree

By Edited May 11, 2015 7 16

Gardening can cost a fortune if you have to buy all your plants, trees, and flowers. Apart from that you still have to buy the fertilizers, pots and gardening tools for your garden. 
I am writing a number of frugal gardening articles to help save money and still have a great garden without it costing you a fortune. 
This article is all about learning how to Graft plants so you can create your own fruit salad tree. Although you need to start at the beginning and graft simple plants first before expecting to create one of these trees straight away.
Have you ever heard of a fruit salad tree? If not then I will explain. Yes, it is a real life fruit tree, although these can have eight different types of fruits, belonging to the same family all on the one fruit tree.
You can do this by grafting a bud from all different types of fruits, each fruit bud needs grafting on to their own separate branch. Each one will retain their own unique taste and ripen at different stages. 
Frugal gardening: Growing fruit trees

Benefits of growing a fruit salad tree

Backyards are becoming smaller all the time; therefore, this would be an ideal fruit tree for a family. You can produce several types of fresh fruit and only water and look after the one tree. Instead of having six to eight different trees you can choose how to graft your tree. 
You may love peaches and apricots so you can have two branches each with apricots and peaches, one branch with plums, and two branches with nectarines that will give you fruit for years to come. Graft your tree to suit what kind of fruit you prefer.
Instead of having an orchard in your back yard, you could have three trees with many different types of fruit in a small area of your yard.
These are not a cheap fruit trees if you intend to buy one. It will depend on your particular garden center and what types of trees they order for that area.
Types of Fruit Salad Trees
Before you think of creating your own fruit salad tree you have to understand the many types of different fruits:
Frugal gardening: Citrus Fruits
Citrus trees –Starting with the most common ones, you have the orange, mandarin, lime, lemon, tangelo and the grapefruit.  Bear in mind these come in another group, for instance the orange has the naval and Valencia, plus many more. Grapefruits have the yellow, a more bitter fruit and the beautiful tasty blood-red; to me they taste nearly the same as an orange. 
Frugal gardening: Cooking Apples
Apple trees – You can only graft apples with other types of apple trees. Then again, you can still divide your tree into separate branches of cooking apples and eating apples.
Stone fruit – The name says it all, each plum, apricot, peach and nectarine can have its own branch. 
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Information on grafting

Parts of the plant

Rootstock - The base of your tree that becomes your root system for the grafted branch. 
Scion - The stick with the buds, which you will graft onto the root-stock for your fruit to grow on.
There are many types of grafts: Bud grafts, side grafts, saddle grafts. It depends on your personal choice and which one you have more success with, although I believe the bud graft is more successful.
The choice of grafting method will depend on the age of tree and the time of year when grafting. It is easier and often more successful to do the T bud grafting on fruit trees. Ideal if you would like to create your own fruit salad tree.
Although, I would suggest you gain more experience with grafting before attempting to try that idea if a beginner.  
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Bud Grafting

Choose a healthy bud that has not started to shoot. 
Remove bud - Make a cut under the bud and slice up, into the stem. Make another cut above the bud; now squeeze the sides of the cut bark above the bud.  This should remove the bud in the bark with a slither of bark attached.
Insert Bud – Cut a T cut into the root-stock, then insert the bottom of the bud under the top of the T and slide it down through the cut keeping it centered so it touches the top of the T. 
Wrapping – To protect bud, wrap raffia or similar around the bud.  Start at the top and work your way down. The cut needs sealing, although, leave the bud itself uncovered or it will not shoot.
When the bud has grown, cut off the raffia.  Then once the new bed develops into a new branch you can cut off the stock branch.
Cleft Grafting
Cut a V shape cut in the rootstock, and then cut a pointed end on the stem you want to graft. Slip that into the V Cut and tie firm with raffia or similar garden grafting tape.
Saddle graft
This is an upside down version of the one above.
Always remove any growth beneath the graft. These would drain the strength from your new grafted plant.
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Fruit trees can be grown in larger pots or if on a real hard budget you may want to use a planter bag to start with. 
These are sold as potato bags with a special flap to harvest them.  They can also be used as a pot, as long as you use good fertilizer your trees or whatever you put in them will still produce healthy plants.
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Reasons for Graft Failure

Grafts can fail for a number of reasons.  Here are a few reasons why:
  • Graft done at wrong time of year
  • Scion and stock not compatible
  • Scion or stock not healthy
  • Dormant scion
  • Graft attacked by disease or birds
I hope this information will help you to experiment with grafting and of course there are many other types of tropical fruit trees to grow spectacular fruit that produce more fresh fruit for your family. There are so many ways you can save money by becoming a frugal gardener. One of these is growing plants and shrubs from cuttings

Multi grafting fruit salad trees



May 9, 2014 11:27am
This is fascinating stuff! I love the idea of saving space by grafting several different fruits onto one tree. Your article has me wishing I had space in my yard to try it...
May 10, 2014 4:48am
Thanks Ruby, you do, they can even be grown in large pots. Although I would only do a couple of varieties like orange and mandarin or peaches and plum. Just pick out your favorite fruit. Thanks for stopping by and commenting much appreciated.
Jun 2, 2014 11:18am
Nice Article on a technique that is awesome!
Jun 2, 2014 9:13pm
It is a great idea especially if short of room in your yard, thanks for commenting ladybugblue
Jun 21, 2014 9:46am
I heard about this a couple of years ago and thought "brilliant." Thank you for more detailed information about grafting. Take good care, Rose
Jun 21, 2014 8:41pm
Thanks Rose, You can save money and have fresh fruit, they also take very little space to grow them.
Jul 17, 2014 11:44am
How neat is that! I had no idea you could graft fruit trees in that way. Great article.
Jul 17, 2014 11:18pm
Thanks jmastbrook, glad you stopped by to read it. Hope it will give you something new to try if short of room in your yard.
Aug 23, 2014 8:00pm
How have I never heard of this phenomenal tree before .... It seems a relatively easy thing to do yourself too. New project I suspect, for me. Great article.
Aug 25, 2014 2:37am
Thanks LittleTwoTwo, Yes it is simple to do. But if your wish to buy one from a nursery they are more expensive than other fruit trees and most of the time you have to order them. Good luck hope you do give it a go.
Aug 26, 2014 11:25am
Great information! I never knew how. I always find the trees fascinating. To see oranges, limes and grapefruit, or whatever the combination always makes me do a double take. Great idea to save space, plus it give you some fruit without being overwhelmed by it all. Very interesting. Pinning.
Aug 27, 2014 12:52am
Thanks Merrci, glad you like the idea, now all you have to do is give it ago and start eating your own fresh grown fruit.
Sep 8, 2014 6:46am
This is such a great idea - I had never heard of a fruit salad tree before. I wish I had a greenhouse so I could try the citrus version - wouldn't make it outside here in Wisconsin! Thanks for such an interesting article!
Sep 8, 2014 11:28pm
thanks emolson, for stopping by. Sounds like you have very cold weather is that it. We have frosts here and it often kills a lot of my garden plants.
Oct 6, 2014 9:53am
Wow, this is a great article, informative and packed with know-how! I love gardening but I've never tried to Graft, which is a form of cloning. I'll give it a shot next spring. Two thumbs and a rating..
Oct 6, 2014 9:21pm
Thanks Marlando, yes it is definitely worth a go. And it saves space in your garden too.
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  1. Wikipedia "Grafting." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafting. 2014.
  2. Fruit Tree Propagation "Fruit tree propagation." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit_tree_propagation. 2014.

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