Combining an apple and orange tree into a single tree is an intriguing and unique gardening project. While it may sound like a feat of fantasy, grafting allows you to grow two different types of fruit on one tree. Here’s a simple, easy-to-follow guide to growing your very own apple-orange tree combination.

What You’ll Need:

  • A healthy orange tree (rootstock)
  • A healthy apple tree branch (scion)
  • Sharp grafting knife or pruning shears
  • Grafting tape or plastic wrap
  • Clean cloth and disinfectant

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Choose the Right Time

The best time to graft is during the early spring when the trees are just beginning to grow. This ensures that the graft heals quickly and the two plants can grow together successfully.

2. Select Healthy Plants

Choose a healthy orange tree as your rootstock. The rootstock is the base tree that will support the grafted branch. Select a healthy branch from an apple tree as your scion. The scion is the branch that will be grafted onto the rootstock.

3. Prepare Your Tools

Ensure all your tools are clean and sharp. Disinfect your grafting knife or pruning shears with alcohol to prevent any infection.

4. Make the Incision on the Orange Tree

Choose a strong, healthy branch on the orange tree. Make a clean, horizontal cut on the branch where you want to graft the apple scion. The cut should be about an inch long.

5. Prepare the Apple Scion

Cut a healthy stem from the apple tree, making sure it has at least two or three buds. Trim the bottom end of the apple stem into a wedge shape to ensure a snug fit into the incision on the orange tree.

6. Grafting the Apple onto the Orange

Insert the wedge-shaped end of the apple scion into the cut on the orange tree branch. Ensure that the cambium layers (the green layer just under the bark) of both plants are in contact. This is crucial for the graft to take.

7. Secure the Graft

Wrap the grafting area tightly with grafting tape or plastic wrap to hold the apple scion in place. Ensure that it is secure but not too tight to damage the stem.

8. Care for the Grafted Plant

Keep the grafted area moist but not waterlogged. Water the tree regularly and provide it with adequate sunlight. Protect the graft from harsh weather conditions and pests.

9. Monitor Growth

Over the next few weeks, monitor the grafted area for signs of growth. The apple scion should start to develop leaves and eventually fruit. If the graft is successful, you’ll soon have a tree that can produce both apples and oranges.

10. Remove the Tape

Once the graft has healed and the apple scion is growing well, you can carefully remove the grafting tape. This usually takes a few weeks to a couple of months.

Tips for Success:

  • Be patient. Grafting can take time, and not all attempts may be successful on the first try.
  • Ensure both plants are healthy and well-watered before and after the grafting process.
  • Experiment with different apple and orange varieties to find the best combination.

By following these steps, you can create a unique tree that produces both apples and oranges. This not only saves space in your garden but also adds a touch of wonder and innovation to your gardening efforts. Happy grafting!