Q: In the Sunday paper there was an ad for a “fruit salad tree” which they claim can grow five different kinds of fruit. I was considering buying one, but first I wanted to find out what you knew about them. Do you think I would have success growing one? Have you ever seen one?
A: I’ve never grown one but I’m familiar with the concept. Grafting different varieties or species of fruit onto the same tree has been practiced for hundreds of years. The only requirement is that the grafts be biologically compatible. In other words, stone fruits (peach, plum, nectarine)can all be grafted on the same tree. Apples, pears and citrus fruit can be grafted to make a multi-apple, multi-pear or multi-citrus tree.
A multi-tree can produce fruit over a long season since early-ripening and late-ripening varieties are on the same plant. Trees must be pruned judiciously to make sure no limb dominates or shades out the others. Care, such as insect and disease control, is the same as with regular trees.
I hope you order one of the trees and keep records to let me know what happens. If you are interested in grafting your own trees, see Propagating Fruit Plants.