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Create your own ‘fruit basket’ trees with this help

This espaliered apple tree grows six different kinds of apples, thanks to grafting.
This espaliered apple tree grows six different kinds of apples, thanks to grafting. Sacramento Bee File Photo

Want to add more fruit trees to your backyard but don’t have the space? Grafting may be the answer; you can add several varieties to a single trunk. Learn how – and get everything you need for success – at the annual Scion Exchange, hosted by the California Rare Fruit Growers.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, hundreds of fresh fruit tree cuttings – scions – with be available along with healthy rootstock, tools and expert advice. The event will be held at the La Sierra Community Center, 5325 Engle Road, Carmichael. Suggested donation is $5 and includes membership in the CRFG. Bring large (1-gallon) plastic zippered bags and a marking pen to label cuttings.

Grafting cuttings onto an existing fruit tree allows growers to expand their selection of varieties as well as lengthen their harvest seasons. Different varieties – such as a peach and a plum – can be grafted to the same trunk to create a “fruit basket” tree.

Many unusual and heirloom varieties of apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and more will be available. Questions? Send an email to sacramento@crfg.org or click on https://crfg.org.

Now is also the best time to plant bare-root fruit trees. Good selections can be found at most local nurseries.

Other tasks to do this week:

▪ Remove old flowers from camellias and azaleas to avoid petal blight.

▪ Finish pruning roses. Pull off and discard any leaves that remain from last year’s growth.

▪ Start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed indoors.

▪ Plant bare-root perennials such as peony, bleeding heart, coral bells and astilbe. Plant blooming camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.

▪ Transplant or direct seed snapdragon, candytuft, lily of the valley, larkspur, Shasta and painted daisies and stocks.

▪  In the vegetable garden, plant Jerusalem artichokes, strawberries and rhubarb.

▪ Transplant seedlings of lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and kale. Direct-seed radishes, beets, peas and chard.