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 treesCredit: TPhotos

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 FruitsCredit: TPhotos
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 ApplesCredit: TPhotos
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.
Plastic Garden bag for plants or PotatoesCredit:
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