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Visiting professor leads workshop on tree grafting

Dr. Joe Sabol of Cal Poly shared his expertise with students in the Ag Systems Management class during a recent visit to the high school. Photo contributed

On Mar. 15, Dr. Joe Sabol of Cal Poly came to Atascadero High to teach apple tree grafting to the Agriculture Systems Management students. The class is the capstone course of the Agriscience Career Pathway.

Dr. Sabol, along with other Members of CA Rare Fruit Growers, taught 20 students how to graft scion wood to rootstocks. The class pruned scion wood from an apple tree on the east side of the B building and grafted it onto rootstocks. Ms. George, who teaches the class, said, “Grafting fruit trees is a skill that students can apply to their own trees right away,” Ms. George said.

Grafting is a horticultural technique used to join parts from two or more plants so that they appear to grow as a single plant. In grafting, the upper part (scion) of one plant grows on the root system (rootstock) of another plant. Once grafted, the new plant that grows from the scion will be exactly like the plant it came from. This method gives the plant a certain characteristic of the rootstock; for example, hardiness, drought tolerance, or disease resistance.

The newly grafted trees will remain on campus at the Ornamental Horticulture unit, where students will care for them until the end of the school year, when they will be able to take them home.

Ms. George and her students, who are finishing a three-course career pathway in Agriculture appreciated the professional expertise of the visitors to her class. She said, “The assistance of the members of the California Rare Fruit Growers make the activity fun and engaging.”

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