Saturday, February 25, 2017

Create Your Own Apple Tree by Mari Hackbarth

1909 Illustration of a "Colorado Orange" Apple,  USDA

What kind of apple trees do you think Johnny Appleseed planted as he sowed swaths of seeds to establish orchards across the Midwest?  It turns out that every seed he planted grew into a unique apple tree!  Planted apple seeds will not produce a tree or fruit exactly like the original fruit or tree the seed was collected from.  If you grow an apple tree from a Macintosh apple seed, you will have an apple tree, but not a Macintosh apple tree.  Apples are an example of a plant that can only be reproduced exactly by a technique known as “grafting”.  Grafting is the process of joining two plants together.  The upper part of the graft (the scion) becomes the top of the resulting plant, and the lower part provides the root system.

Curtis Utley, photo courtesy CSU Extension
Curtis Utley, Horticulture Agent for Jefferson County CSU Extension  will be teaching his annual  “Apple Tree Grafting Class and Hands-on Workshop” on April 5, 6, 7 and 8, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

In this 3 hour class, you will learn the science, biology & techniques for grafting woody plants. You will learn several different techniques, including the Cleft graft, Whip graft, Whip and Tongue graft, Side graft and the Bud Graft. You will also learn which technique is best for different situations.  Best of all, you will graft your own semi-dwarf apple tree to take home and plant!  There will be a number of scion varieties for you to choose from.  In years past the selection has included:
  • Heirloom varieties, such as Colorado Orange (Colorado, late 1800s), Cox Orange Pippin (England, 1830’s), Golden Russet (New York, 1840’s)
  • Main-crop varieties, such as Williams Pride, Sansa, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Liberty, and Mutsu 
  • New varieties, such as Honeycrisp (1991) and GoldRush (1992).
Honey crisp apple, photo courtesy University of Minnesota
Pre-registration is required. To register, visit The cost is $25 and space is limited. The class will be held at the Jefferson County CSU Extension Office at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 W. 6th Avenue, Golden, CO 80401. 

For more information, please call Jefferson County CSU Extension at 303-271-6620 or email Curtis: