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New peach trees from old ones??

 
E Cochran
Posts: 26
Location: Central Oklahoma, zone 7
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I've been gardening, growing fruit trees for almost 40 years now, however, I have never attempted to graft any. We bought a piece of land in August and are still learning what all we have on it. One day while chasing a chicken into the woods I stumbled across a peach, fully ripe, and a free-stone to boot. Only then did I realize that I had a very old peach tree.

It isn't pruned well at all, needless to say (property's been empty for about 20 years). It has a main stem with a couple of long straggly branches coming off it. The only leaves are on the last three feet of each branch probably 12 feet up. The tree is also against the corner of a building. Nothing about this peach tree is ... ideal.

What I'd like to do is cut the two branches that are still growing and either root them or graft them onto another stock but I don't know how to do that or even if it's possible with such an old tree. What steps would I need to take? Can it be done in the fall/winter? We are expecting our first freeze this weekend. Or do I need to wait until spring? What kind of root stock would I use/how would I root them?

Thanks
 
Jeff Reiland
Posts: 64
Location: Central Iowa
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bike forest garden hunting
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You could definitely try some hardwood cuttings this winter. I haven't had the best of luck (low %) with softwood cuttings under IM mist but am trying a bunch of hardwood cuttings this winter too.

Here's a link, several other methods to try too... http://fruitandnuteducation.ucdavis.edu/fruitnutproduction/Stone_Fruit_Propagation/sfcuttings/
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1132
Location: Denver, CO
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Large old wood does not graft well. The graft can not supply such a large limb with food and water, and mechanically keeping the pieces together would be difficult. However, you could take small cutting of new, young wood to graft onto a rootstock elsewhere. Water sprouts often work well. Cuttings should be taken when the tree is dormant. You could probably buy rootstock trees from a specialty mail order nursery.

Also, if the tree is sick, disease will spread to the new grafted tree easily. And, it will probably be several years before a grafted tree produces.
 
E Cochran
Posts: 26
Location: Central Oklahoma, zone 7
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Thanks for the links and thoughts on this. Since I've never grafted anything I'll have to study up. This might be one of those situations where we just have to plant new trees. The old peach tree is up against the house, less than a foot from the foundation so leaving it is not really an option long term. I guess I can always try and if it works, we'll be ahead and if not, we can shed a few tears and buy something new.

I'm always game for a challenge.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 333
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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Raintree Nursery has good rootstocks for around 3.00. They have different varieties for different soils.
 
Jeff Reiland
Posts: 64
Location: Central Iowa
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Definitely try rooting cuttings and grafting, so fun to learn!
Late fall and winter are great for trying hardwood cuttings-


Late winter is great time since they are dormant but soon to wake up.  Get some rootstocks from ^Raintree and try it out with some cuttings/scion of your old tree. 
Here's 2 videos but there are so many available-



Good luck!


 
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