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Grafting Asian pear to ornamental Bradford pear

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Many of you have probably seen or know about the flowering pear called Bradford.

A friend of mine had his non-fruiting Bradford pear severely damaged in a snow storm a few years back, and he was about to cut the tree down. He also happens to be new to the world of permaculture, is planting extensive edible gardens, and hadn't yet dived into the power of grafting.

I came along and casually mentioned that, "I've heard you can graft edible pears to Bradfords..."

And he said, "Wow, I didn't know that!"... "Why don't we try grafting to this one."

I happen to have just pruned the delicious chojuro Asian pear at Paradise Lot and a few days later brought some scion wood over to try my luck (I'm a newby to grafting so it was a shot in the dark, and what better way then to practice on a tree that is damaged and going to be cut down anyway.)

And just to mention, I didn't have any grafting tools or materials, but looked online and learned some nice DIY grafting techniques including creating my own grafting wax: 1/2 candle wax melted with 1/2 bees wax mixed with a little baby oil (or any oil really to keep the wax from drying out). used a rubber band to hold the graft in place, then applied the wax around and over the grafting area (the goal being to keep the graft cut from drying out until it gets a chance to heal up). Then over that I rapped a 2 inch width, straight length of cut plastic grocery bag around the graft, rubber band, and wax to protect it all from the elements. Six months later the DIY graft "wrap" had all decayed from sunlight and frost.

Well, as you can see above, the experiment worked! The picture shows the second year of growth on my graft. And look at that perfect fruit!

Now anyone reading this has no excuse but to be grafting any Bradford pear over to european or asian stock.

My friend's plan is to cut the remaining damaged Bradford branches off the tree, eventually converting all of it to fully edible!!!

Go graft crazy and enjoy the bounty.

Photos by Eric Toensmeier and others.

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