Topworking – how to graft multiple fruit to grow on one tree | Gardening Australia

Topworking – how to graft multiple fruit to grow on one tree | Gardening Australia

Sophie has a problem with one of her plum trees. It’s productive enough, but she just don’t like the taste of the fruit. See how an expert performs radical surgery to make a plum produce fruit that’s a pleasure to the palate.

The productivity of Sophie’s young orchard is increasing every year, but when she was harvesting fruit last season she discovered this plum was producing fruit that wasn’t up to scratch.
Wes Reddens is a friend of Sophie’s and sixth generation orchardist. Sophie’s hoping he can show her a way to fix the taste of my fruit tree that doesn’t involve digging it up and waiting for a new one to grow.
Wes is going to graft a new variety, called “top working”. He cuts the top off and puts on grafts of other fruiting plums on the lower part of the tree.
Wes says “There is a lot of call in the commercial orchards (for top working) when one apple or fruit goes out of favour something like a pink lady on to a red delicious which are no longer wanted.” Wes says this approach means Sophie can be enjoying new variety much quicker than she would with a whole new tree.
He uses a saw to reduce the tree. “We try to take it down to around waist height keeping in mind we have to leave something to graft onto of about pencil thickness” says Wes
The best time is in winter before the buds swell, although it does very a little bit from type to type.
Now for the grafting. As with all grafting, you have a stock – in this case the plum, and scion, the new material going on to the stock. Scion are just healthy prunings from a desired variety. To be successful they must have a living stem tip.
Wes uses a whip and tongue grafting technique, making sure to line up the cambium layer, and seals the graft with tape.
Wes says you don’t have to put the same fruit on the graft-as long as they are closely related enough. “Yes, and it doesn’t even have to be a plum, you could put an apricot on….but if they have different growth rates one side of the plant will get bigger than the other. You might have to prune to keep the tree balanced.
When do you know if the graft has taken? This scion should shoot away in spring a couple of weeks after similar varieties do.
“If you move into a new place and there is an ornamental fruit tree in the garden, an ornamental plum or say a crab apple, you can turn it into a productive tree by grafting.”

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  1. Celestial Joy on June 16, 2022 at 9:45 pm

    I remember my grandfather doing grafting, on our peach tree when I was about 4 yrs old. I am 63 now. Thank you for bringing back a fascinating memory. 👍😁🥰❤️🇦🇺

  2. Aleida Bianchi on June 16, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    I used woodglut instructions for this and I already did it 🙂

  3. Alan Shrimpton on June 16, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    Love that idea. Let’s see if my Hawera plum is any good otherwise its grafting I will do

  4. Mora on June 16, 2022 at 9:59 pm

    One of my favourites programs!!…… gardening Australia 🇦🇺

  5. Golden Reward on June 16, 2022 at 10:04 pm

    There is a new Rubber tacky tape that is better for this job and will fall away over time.

  6. FullMontyGaming on June 16, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Hi all,
    Does anyone have knowledge of a known hardwood/ semi-hardwood fruiting species Compatibility Guide for grafting?
    Example: (Pear > Quince) (Peach > Plum).

  7. Jeff Watson on June 16, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    Really nice demonstration of the whip and tongue graft, thanks Wes and and Sophie. I’ve seen top-working of evergreen tropical fruit trees like avocadoes and mangoes. To protect the grafts from the heat of the sun and from drying out, a small ziplock bag is placed over the graft and the scion, then a white paper bag is put over the top of the plastic bag.

  8. Johan Conradie on June 16, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    i have several here: peachnecprunplumcotcheral: no kidding: just keep the branches well balanced

  9. David Button on June 16, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    Nice work I love the cleft graft on fig trees 8 in one I use electric tape like yourself later 🎀

  10. Arriscando on June 16, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    Wow, this video is absolutely Perfect! I wanna try it out with native trees from Cerrado here in Brazil

  11. Mark Drenan on June 16, 2022 at 10:24 pm


  12. cb A bc on June 16, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    Nice video

  13. Sri Lankan Recipes on June 16, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    NICE Video

  14. Ngaire Pham on June 16, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    Can you give an example of what kind of tree can be grafted together? Thanks

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