The tree of forty fruits | Sam Van Aken | TEDxManhattan

The tree of forty fruits | Sam Van Aken | TEDxManhattan


Translator: Bob Prottas
Reviewer: Ariana Bleau Lugo The Tree of Forty Fruit
is a single fruit tree that grows over 40 different
varieties of stone fruits, including peaches, plums,
apricots, nectarines, cherries and this year we’ll know
if it grows almonds. Throughout the majority of the year
it’s a normal looking fruit tree until spring when it blossoms in all these variegated tones
of pink and white and crimson. It returns to an ordinary looking
fruit tree until it starts to grow
40 different types of fruit. In order to start this project
I realized that I needed to collect hundreds of varieties of stone fruits. And after scouring New York
and finding only a few growers that were actually growing stone fruits, I realized the extent to which
we’ve created these massive monocultures. To give you an example,
the majority of stone fruits now are grown in the Central Valley
in California, whereas the majority of apples are grown
in New York and Washington State. The one place where I was able
to find stone fruits was at this orchard at the New York State
agriculture experiment station in Geneva. It turns out that central New York
during the 19th century was one of the largest producers
of stone fruits. And that this one single orchard was the 150 to 200 year history of that industry and contained all of the heirloom,
native, hybrid, and antique varieties. The problem was is that they were
going to tear this orchard out due to a lack of funding. Up until that point I grew up on a farm, but I hadn’t really thought
about farming for about 20 years, until I found out
they were going to tear this orchard out. And for some reason
I felt that it was a tragedy. And so I picked up the lease
on the orchard and preserved it until I could figure out
what to do with all the varieties. And so this is my nursery. I keep dwarf stock trees,
or what I call stock trees where over the past 5 years I’ve methodically taken
all of the heirloom, antique and native species
and grafted them onto my trees. From there, this nursery also
is where I grow the Tree of Forty Fruit. And so I start
the Tree of Forty Fruit as rootstock, where I take one of the varieties
from one of my stock trees, put it onto a root structure. After 2 years it’s pruned back
to create an open center or vase shape with 4 or 5 primary branches. After two more years
it looks something like this. So everywhere where you see white paint that’s where a different branch is. The process I use for doing the grafting
is called “chip grafting”. And for that I take
a sliver off of one of the trees that includes the bud. I insert it a like size incision
in the working tree, tape it, let it sit and heal in all winter and then I prune it back and hope that it grows. A few more years — So this is probably
about 5 to 6 years total. The tree looks something like this. You can see the red branches that indicate
where a different variety grows. This is how the trees
are then diagramed. They’re all color-coded diagrams to show you the years and what variety. So I work with over 250 varieties
of stone fruit now. What I’ve done is I’ve created
this sort of comprehensive timeline of when they blossom
in relationship to each other. So that that way I can design and essentially sculpt the tree
and how it blossoms. Eventually those blossoms become fruit. And so these are plums that I took from just one of the Tree of Forty Fruit in just one week in August. For a variety of reasons we continue to lose variety and diversity in the fruit that’s available for us. And working with commercial growers I found that the rationale in that and in what varieties are actually grown is determined by how long it will keep. The second is the size. Is it a single serving size? The third is how is its presentation? That is the color. People generally don’t like a yellow plum. And then finally,
after all that’s considered is the taste. That’s the reason why there’s
thousands of stone fruit varieties, but yet only a few
are actually ever seen at a market. And so I look at the Tree of Forty Fruit as an artwork, a research project, and a form of conservation. As an artwork,
what it does is it interrupts and transforms the everyday. As a research project, it creates
one of the first comprehensive time lines of when all these varieties blossom
in relationship to each other, which becomes important
when we consider pollination. And finally as a form of conservation, by taking all of these heirloom, antique and native species, grafting them onto
the Trees of Forty Fruit and then placing them
throughout the country, in some small way
I’m creating my own type of diversity and preservation. Thank you. (Applause)

99 thoughts on “The tree of forty fruits | Sam Van Aken | TEDxManhattan

  1. This project looks amazing, but the photos he's using look like they've been heavily edited in photoshop.

  2. I would really like to buy a tree with many different types of fruit like this. Locally we can only find trees with about three varieties.

  3. "People don't like a yellow plum" What ? Did you taste "Mirabelle" ?
    By the way it seems like a Thai guy has the same passion for multi-grafting.

  4. The large colorful tree is a rendering of a future look of the tree as it would be a decade or more in the future. If you pay attention to the progress of the actual trees in the video from year to year, the trunks are still pretty slender.

  5. What do you do with the trees that don't quite make the 40 fruit tree that you have placed in different places. If you have any trees that are not up to your standards I will very much like one! Or more. I have very limited space and a multiple fruit tree would be GREAT. Thank you

  6. why aren't we funding this ? 
    This is the most amazing peace of artwork I have ever seen , hoping to see more of these around soon , great work dude

  7. I love any form of grafting, it's time consuming and has been going on for year's…. remembers from my early year's in my homeland my uncle doing this but his was citrus tree's… his sweet lemons was a treat.

  8. Oh, give me a tree, where the snacks are all free
    where the almonds and apricots grow
    I’ll pick me a peach, oh a plum’s within reach
    and you never have too far to go
    Fruits and nuts on one tree
    live together cooperatively
    If humans did that, then right off the bat
    being picked would be downright see dee

  9. I need an want 10 , this is wonderful , also how the tree deals with hot summers , im in texas and is hot ??!

  10. I love this tree but why do all these videos have to have some bullpoop about making the world a better place. I mean sure that's great if it actually does but in this case it seems like he did it because its a freakin cool idea. Just come out and say it man, be honest and say "I made this tree because I thought it would be rad to make a a tree that could provide 40 kinds of fruit. I wanted to know if it was even possible and if so what would happen." Isn't that simple truth? When they start talking about helping humanity I'm immediately transported through every TED video ever made and want to puke. 

  11. wow, a whole lot of you have no idea how shit works, yet your sorry selves are commenting. Grafting works, 40 seems extreme but 5 to ten seems like it would work. the reason you do not just plant a tree from the woods, or even start from seed, is the pollination factor. most trees at orchards come from one parent cutting, a clone, and that variety is then cut and cloned/ rooted again and again and again. that is how you get a constant true variety every year and in many places. No telling what the taste and texture will be from the seed. Now this is not a bad thing either because new varieties or old ones can be renewed if you know the order of pollination to achieve the desired end product, pending on if the dominant and recessive genes all hook up right, a huge if. But ta say you cannot find the best apple from a pollination experiment is not possible is false, but  def unless controlled you will never know how it happened. I have grafted trees right now, on dwarf stock, and I am going to add a few to them so from 5 it will be maybe 10.

  12. There is no real tree, so what's the point? A poorly cobbled together photoshop image is nowhere near as impressive as actually grafting a 40 fruit tree. Go make a real tree then we'll be impressed. Or learn how to paint. Or do something real. Boring.

  13. How wonderful! I want one of these trees. Perfect tree for a single family home. You have done something truly outstanding!

  14. Beauty, is an understatement for the tree. Watching this video makes me love being a New Yorker. Just witnessing slowly how New Yorker's are being more and more interested in the environment is spellbinding. Please maintain the orchard and don't destroy such a lovely history. Preserve it for the next generation.

  15. It is so exciting to work at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas where Sam has installed one of these marvelous trees…come and see…

  16. What a great guy: a conservationist horticulturist and investor who understands his venue- and may make it pay well while enhancing both the beauty of nature as well as the lives of others.

  17. If cities were really on board with this, all the golf courses, and ornamental plants would be dug up. These fruit trees are considered a nuisance because they tend to leave a mess from lack of care.

    I am willing to eat the fruit, but most people are not. People have learned to trust grocery stores and fear eating anything they pick themselves from outside.

  18. I understand that he has really grafted these trees, but why is everyone getting so excited over an image that is obviously photoshopped? The lighting doesn't change between the shots of it in leaf and in blossom and the branch architecture and blossom of the tree are entirely unconvincing. The photos of the real grafted trees are a lot less impressive.

  19. My uncle living at Victoria, British Columbia, Canada has a few fruit trees each with varieties of the fruit blossoming at different time of the summer.
    He has a plum tree with 4 types of plums varieties, an apple tree with with 3 or 4 types, and a pear tree with 3 or 4 types. It is a great experience visiting him in the summer! 🙂

  20. Sam hit on a lot correct things. Most stone fruit comes out of California now. Many varieties are vanishing. Why? Well — at one time — everyone had fruit trees. Every house on my block where I grew up had one or two trees. Most people do not grow their own fruit anymore. They either don't have the land, the time, or are just plain lazy.

  21. Hmmm, I'm not an expert in botany, horticulture, agriculture or anything of this sort. But I do have a question for those of you that are – when you have all these different types of stone fruits grafted on a single tree and what would happen if they all bloom at or around the same time? Would they end up cross pollinating each other and create batches of hybrid fruits that can be inconsistent from one season to the next? 

  22. Someone needs to tell this guy that he shouldn't assume his audience knows everything he knows.  What's a stone fruit?  What defines a stone fruit?  Is he talking about fruit with pits, like cherries, peaches, etc?  He could at least very quickly say what it is his ENTIRE speech is about.  I imagine people online can look it up, but his live audience might be missing the details of the entire ted talk because he never defined one simple thing that his talk was about.

  23. This needs funding i hope someone gives this guy millions hundreds of millions, to fund this project, everyone will want a tree like this.

  24. Placez le curseur à 27 s. Laissez défiler et vous verrez qu'entre les deux montages, il n'a même pas pris la peine de changer le fond. Les nuages sont aux mêmes emplacements .
    Pourquoi ?

  25. this is simply amazing and for years I too thought this would be a great way to conserve and bring beauty. I wonder if there is a step by step to an amateur to be able todo  this in AZ ? if so please let me know.

  26. How can I get one of your amazing trees.  I love your idea.  The trees are not only beautiful to look at, but like you said. fruit too!.  Please sell me one

  27. NOW just imagine if everybody had at least one of these trees in their front yard! goodbye to supermarkets' fruit section~

  28. Why just stone fruits? If you join a branch that is too different will it be rejected? Also how does this effect its survivability per zones and tolerances? Like if you have a hardy root stock, could the roots help a delicate fruit branch survive in a drought or winter that the fruit would not normally survive?

  29. And in the earth are neighbouring tracts, and gardens of vines, and green crops (fields etc.), and date-palms, growing out two or three from a single stem root, or otherwise (one stem root for every palm ), watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Verily, in these things, there are Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs) for the people who understand. Noble Quran Ch 13 Vers 4

  30. I'll be starting to save some money so I can have one of these. Would be awesome I don't have to lug groceries around, just go outside and pick some fruit for breakfast. 🙂

  31. Would love to see an all flowering ornamental tree that combined things like cherry blossom, magnolia and lilac.

  32. Like he said, this is ART, not nursery stock. If your local nursery sells a tree for $150, and this guy is going to sculpt a tree for 10-20 years, that's not going to be something you can purchase.

  33. i AM GOING to try this at home…I actually was wndering if this was possible as I know trees are grafted…

  34. This is a lie, the complete tree photo is a montage, it does not have actual photos of the finished tree, it is possibly a future project, but it is not yet finished.

  35. para mi que solo trabajas con prunus me gustaría saber si podemos comparar los árboles yo no tengo quien me patrocine pero yo sé hacer árboles de más de 60 variedades ojalá tengas interés por lo que yo tengo haciendo ya más de 25 años

  36. So 6 almost 7 years later since the first tree was planted…nothing. Not one real picture.
    Oh, it's a TED "X" Event. That's all I needed to know.

  37. 😁😁😁😁😂😂😂😂😂 easy come to Morocco and I will show you how they are liying to youuuuuuuu people it's easy steps 😂😂😂😂😂

  38. Professor Sam Van Aken doesn't look like Einstein at all!
    😎He looks like the 80s TV dad we all had before!
    He is a rock star!
    Surely we miss Dad Dr Alan Thicke in Growing Pains❤.
    Now it becomes Growling Pains of Year 2000 onwards.

  39. "In the midst of the street of (New Jerusalem), and on either side of the river, was there THE TREE OF LIFE, WHICH BARE TWELVE MANNER OF FRUITS, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations," Revelation 22:2

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