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A Single Tree Produces 40 Different Kinds of Fruit

40 fruit

Image credit: Tree of 40 Fruit / Sam Van Aken.

The Tree of 40 Fruit of Sam Van Aken in the Syracuse University sculptor is definitely excellent example of hybridizing fruit trees. During the most time of the year, this tree seems quite ordinary like others. However, when the spring comes in, its blossoms present a colorful display of pink, crimson, and white. Afterwards, from July through October, this tree is amazing to bear 40 various kinds of stone fruit, such as almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums as well as nectarines.

According to Sam Van Aken, such feat is achieved through the perfect combination of grafting together several different varieties, like native fruit, heirlooms, and antiques. This is regarded to be centuries-old.

Sam Van Aken started with his trial involving in an orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. When he got the news that this orchard was to be demolished, he immediately leased it.

After working out a timeline of when each of the 250 varieties blossom in regard to each other, he would graft some onto the root structure of a single tree. After two years of his “working tree”, he would apply the technique called “chip grafting” to add more varieties onto the tree as independent branches.

By doing so, he inserted a sliver with a bud included into an incision in the working tree and then carefully taped it in place. After it was healed during the season of the winter, the branch would turn into another normal branch on the tree, which then would be pruned like ordinary tress.

At present, 16 of these Trees of 40 Fruit have been grown, with growing history of five years for each of them. The reason why Sam Van Aken chooses stone fruits is that they have many diversity with the characteristics of being inter-compatible. In order to keep deer away, some garlic and peppermint repellents were used in this respect.

When talking of his tree, Sam Van Aken said that by the means of grafting these different varieties onto the tree in a certain order, he could essentially sculpt how the tree was to blossom.

Source: Science Alert