June 8th @ 10 am: Grafting Citrus with Arny Bernstein

Five things you should know:

One: Arny has over 80 different varieties grafted onto his 20 to 25 citrus trees, so clearly the  man knows what he is doing.

Second:  if you glance at the photo above, you will see Arny demonstrating cleft grafting at our scion exchange in 2017 ;  so you know he has long been an excellent teacher as well.  (He also supervised our graft-your-own session in 2019 and zero blood was shed.) As if this isn’t enough, he has  been running the Grafting Program at UC Berkeley for the past two years and is also establishing a grafting program at Lotusland in Montecito.  With Bill Brandt, he teaches grafting throughout the LAUSD high school system.    Having joined CRFG in the early 70s, he is perhaps its oldest member and fondly remembers being taught grafting back then by Wilbur Wood, one of the grand old men of our organization.

Third:  February was deciduous grafting season;  but this is citrus grafting season.  It is time to strike while the iron is hot and the bark is slipping.

Fourth:  since the arrival of Citrus Greening disease, it is illegal for us to exchange citrus scion wood.  The only legal source in California is the Citrus Clonal Protection Program at UC Riverside.   You can order some truly amazing varieties here.  Registration is free. The budwood, alas, is not.

This page has links to a video explaining the order process along with some grafting demos from the talented Fruitmentor.  Note that cutting is only done once a month.  If you want your scion wood in your fridge ready to use after Arny’s class, you should have your order in by June 2nd.  It will ship June 5th.

And Fifth: We will be back in our regular MultiPurpose Room in Culver City.  Your favorite snacks and/or fruit to share will be most welcome.




Just a reminder…

We fruit growers are a hardy lot so the Scion Exchange and Grafting Demos will be going on this coming Saturday, rain or shine.  Fortunately the forecast seems to be on our side, but as always we will be prepared to move everything inside should the need arise.

Another reminder, we are not allowed to exchange scions of trees still under patent or about to be patented.  Dave Wilson Nurseries has sent us this list of  verboten varieties.  (They actually sent us a  much longer list but that was mostly commercial varieties to which we have no access down here)


Scion Exchange/Grafting Demos on February 10th @ 10 am

If CRFG is known for one thing (okay, apart from Fruit Facts) it is the annual Scion Exchange and Grafting Demo Day.  West LA Chapter will be holding its version, free and open to the public,  on February 10th,  in the MultiPurpose Room of  the Culver City Veterans Memorial Building.

Members, bring your labelled scion wood between  9:30 and 10 (please, no citrus!).  Grafting demos will begin at 10 with at least 3 different experts in attendance for grafters of different experience levels.  Bruce Blavin, who teaches grafting to school children, will make sure even the noobiest will go home an expert.  AJ and Glen  and Sagi   will instruct the more experienced in advanced techniques like veneer grafts and whip-and-tongue.

The Scion Exchange will begin as soon after 10 as we can get all the wood set out.  Per usual, members who have brought wood to share will get first crack at selecting someone else’s scions.  After them, the rest of the chapter membership will get its shot at clutching that elusive special wood to their bosoms.  And finally non-members, inspired by our demonstrators, can check out the always plentiful remains to make new trees of their own.

Of course, if you want to be in that first VIP batch, make sure your membership is up to date (or join!) and bring us wood .  Instructions on cutting scion wood are right here.

What shouldn’t you bring?  No citrus scions or budwood (this includes curry leaf) plus no plants still under patent.   And of course nothing that is sick or bug infested.

Such a wonderful talk by Marc Robbi

After all these years of fruit growing, surrounded by amazing mentors and lucky enough to hear expert speakers, it is still such a gift to learn something new.  And Marc Robbi’s talk on grafting persimmons was full of such gifts.  If you missed the Zoom, we now have it on our Google Drive (chapter members, ask for a link).  And if you were there, you will be thrilled to learn that Marc and Corrina have sent us a video specifically demonstrating the top working Marc recommended for persimmons.   You can watch it here!

Persimmons! with Marc Robbi of Fruitwood Nursery Saturday October 14th @ 10 am

Those of us who order scion wood from the wonderful Fruitwood Nursery up in Orleans, California can’t help being struck by the amazing number of persimmon varieties on offer (69 by  today’s count!) and the grafting knowledge – not to  mention kindness & helpfulness – of Fruitwood’s owners Corrina Cohen and Marc Robbi.  So when chapter members started clamoring for a speaker on persimmons, thoughts immediately turned to Fruitwood.  And now, despite the terror of the over-9000-acre Pearch Creek fire that has threatened Corrina and Marc for more than a month, Marc has agreed (the fire gods willing) to speak to us via Zoom on October 14th.

A little background from the Fruitwood website: “We have been propagating and growing perennial plants for over 40 years and are the former owners of Rolling River Nursery.com, which is now under the new ownership of Planting Justice in Oakland, CA. We are now offering nursery wood and divisions of all the same great plants we sold previously, taken from our mother plantings here at Rolling River Farm in Orleans, CA. Our huge selection of cuttings wood, scionwood, liners, seeds, rootstocks and divisions are available and shipped throughout the lower 48 states, and by special request beyond.  We supply everything the do-it- your- selfer needs to grow your own true to type quality starts of many popular fruiting plants. Growing your own is both fun and also an economical way to create your own edible landscape, orchards and other plantings large or small.

We are also offering custom propagation services such as bench grafting varieties of your choice for growing on by you, and contracting for the production of larger lots of certain varieties that we grow to size for commercial and other plantings. Let us know your needs and we will see how we may help. We can grow starts of most fruiting plants and also contract out to produce many native plants for restoration projects.

As always our growing practices are organic and sustainability oriented, motivated by the desire to contribute to a healthy, diverse and beautiful world for the future generations. We maintain our diverse collection of varieties as an effort to keep the rich genetic heritage inherited from humanity’s past fruit explorers and breeders available to the public and safe from extinction. All sales help to keep these plantings maintained, enlarged and going strong.”

Obviously we could have as easily asked Marc to speak on Apples (of which he sells 251 varieties of scion wood!) or figs (63 varieties!) or pomegranates (59!).  Persimmons however are among the fussiest fruit trees to graft not to mention the most beautiful and most reliable fruiters for us in Southern California, so we are just thrilled to have an expert guide us through the selection of varieties, rootstock, and grafting technique.

So tune in on October 14th at 10 am.  Zoom links will be sent out with member’s newsletters. If you are not a member but wish to participate, please Contact Us.

BTW, do not be deterred by the fact that almost all scion wood is currently listed as Out of Stock on the Fruitwood site.  They have not  yet begun cutting which – per the website – will begin in November.





Photo by Yoonbae Cho on Unsplash

Scion Exchange and Grafting Demos: February 11th @10 am to noon (scion drop off at 9:30)

The famous CRFG  Scion Exchange returns to Culver City on February 11th.  Unfortunately we have been pre-empted from our beloved MultiPurpose Room for all of 2023, but will be in the Garden Room which also has an outdoor patio for the Scion tables and social distancing.    (You can find a map of its location under Our Location.)

The grafting demos will be in the Garden Room itself.  For the safety of the presenters and  your fellow graft-learners, we would ask that you wear masks if you want to watch.

Instructions for cutting and storing scion wood as you do your winter pruning are here.

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