Students will have an opportunity to sharpen their horticultural skills Wednesday when they learn how to graft one apple tree to another.
The grafting will be taught to Pioneer Valley High School students by members of the California Rare Fruit Growers. The process involves attaching or connecting a new variety on an existing tree to improve quality and production.
PVHS Future Farmers of America and agricultural students plan to start the learning experience with retired Cal Poly professor Joe Sabol and other CRFG members and wrap it up in the greenhouse.
Students receive one root stock variety and then pick what they want to invent. The grafting choices include Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala, Red Delicious or Red Barron apples.
FFA adviser Hector Guerra believes students are up to the rewarding challenge of starting a tree from scratch.
"This is a skill that not only can be used later in life, but also can be a gateway that shows students that they have the ability to create,'' Guerra said. "You get to witness the growth and maturation of your hard work, and it is a symbolic testament to individual growth and maturation of our agricultural program and life.''
Students stand ready to learn this new skill.
"I am extremely excited to graft a tree,'' said senior Mikey Ruiz, All-CIF wrestler and four-year ag student. "Before this class, I had no idea this was a thing. And then we get to take it home!"
— Kenny Klein is a media affairs coordinator for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.