The tree or 40 fruit is a single fruit tree that grows over 40 different types of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds the idea came from just sort of a fascination with the process of grafting.
Grafting of Fruit Trees
Grafting is used for two principal reasons: most fruit trees don’t come true to seed (seeds from a McIntosh apple won’t grow into McIntosh trees) and cuttings don’t root easily. The technique of grafting is used to join a piece of vegetative wood (the scion) from a tree we wish to propagate to a rootstock.
Grafting is a fun way to get more enjoyment from your home orchard. You can use grafting to create trees with several varieties or to introduce new varieties into your home orchard (An orchard is an intentional plantation of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production). Grafting can also be used to change varieties of trees in your existing orchard.
Sam Van Aken grew up on a family farm before pursuing a career as an artist. Now he works as an art professor at Syracuse University, but his most famous achievement – the incredible Tree of 40 Fruit – combines his knowledge of agriculture and art. It’s designed to be a normal-looking tree throughout the majority of the year, until spring, when it blossoms in pink and white and then in summer, bears a multitude of different fruit. The process involved collecting the cuttings in winter, store them, and then graft them onto the ends of branches in spring. In fact, almost all fruit trees are grafted, because the seed of a fruit tree is a genetic variant of the parent. So when we find a variety that we really like, the way that we propagate it is by taking a cutting off of one tree and putting it onto another.
Sam Van Aken decided on the number 40 for the Tree of 40 Fruit because it’s found throughout Western religion as not the quantifiable dozen and not the infinite but a number that’s beyond counting. It’s a bounty or a multitude. But the problem was that when he started, he couldn’t find 40 different varieties of these fruits, and this is despite the fact that he lives in New York state, which, a century ago, was one of the leading producers of these fruits.
It takes a year to know if a graft has succeeded; it takes two to three years to know if it produces fruit, and it takes up to eight years to create just one of the trees. Each of the varieties grafted to the Tree of 40 Fruit has a slightly different form and a slightly different color. And he realized that by creating a timeline of when all these blossomed in relationship to each other. They produce fruit from June through September. First is cherries, then apricots, Asian plums, nectarines, and peaches. For more exciting stuff please subscribe to our Facebook Page.
The key to maintaining our food security in preserving our biodiversity. 100 years ago, this was done by everybody that had a garden or a small stand of trees in their backyard and grew varieties that were passed down through their family. For more exciting stuff please subscribe to our Facebook Page.