What Is Grafting?
Grafting, when the term is applied to plants, is taking a part from one plant and making it grow on another plant. Most usually we see this with tree crops. Apples and oranges are good examples, the fruit you buy in stores has been grown on grafted trees. The trees you buy in a nursery are also likely to be grafted if they are a named variety. A large number of shrubs are also grafted for foliage or flower colour. We include information on budding as well since the two are so similar in nature.
While many of the perennial flowers and fruits we might have in our homescape are grafted, grafting also can occur in wild plants. When two compatible plants grow close enough to touch they have been known to grow together at the point they touch - this is grafting. Research has also shown that roots form natural underground grafts in many plants.
We have an email list, a type of forum, where you can post questions
and engage others interested in grafting in written discussion. This
site is designed to further the exchange of information on grafting
plants. This site is allied to the rare fruit educational site
Quisqualis and we hope to complement each other in the educational
opportunities we provide.
Why Graft Plants?
There are a number of reasons to graft. The most frequent is to reproduce a plant that has favorable characteristics. When grown from seeds most plants are not 'true', that is they do not produce an exact duplicate of the parent plant. This is because they are the result of pollination and will have differences in their genetic code. Plant an orange or apple seed and it might grow into a tree with tasty fruit. It also might grow into a tree with fruit whose taste is unacceptable. With grafting you can plant the same seed, and then, at the right time, cut the top off and attach a piece of a desirable orange or apple that grows into an exact copy of the desirable parent, complete with tasty fruit. The same is true for flowers and some types of foliage. Even cacti are grafted.
Some people enjoy grafting several colours of flower on a single plant while others might graft several varieties of fruit on a single tree. Trees like this are frequently called "fruit salad trees". While we have been mentioning apples and oranges you cannot graft apples and oranges to each other. The plants in question need to be reasonably close in their botanical relationship. On an orange you might graft several types of oranges or grapefruit and lemon. Collectors and nurseries will sometimes graft budwood onto an established plant so that they have a reserve to harvest from to make other grafts. (One collector we knew had over 50 varieties of citrus on a single tree).
The seed part is called rootstock and the part you place on top the scion, graftwood or budwood. Where the two pieces meet is the graft union and this is usually secured with grafting tape, wax or, in some cases, small nails.
How Can I Learn To Graft?
As YOU participate in the fascinating art of grafting you will help this site to develop - the site is here for you. One thing that has surprised us is the variation in techniques used by the professionals — one of the reasons we write "art and science" of grafting. We have observed successful grafters in several States and continue to be surprised by how much the 'right way' differs. Our advice is that you find the techniques that work best for you, in your location. Location is a factor in how you modify grafting techniques.
Humidity, soils, heat, wind, Genus, species and even variety can have an influence on just how to get a successful graft. This is one reason we suggest novices start out with plants that are known for taking grafts with ease. Hibiscus, Citrus, Casimiroa all are good for learning. If you have a favorite let us know and we'll post it.
We also suggest that you make practice cuts on plants you have no intention of completing grafts on. Any plants you plan to prune might give you practice materials. The better you learn how to make the basic cuts the higher the chances of success.
The best way to learn to graft is to go to a successful grafter and have them teach you. Unfortunately most are professional nursery operators or researchers and they have little time to devote to teaching. Watching a successful grafter at work is almost as good, and a good way to do this is with a video. We are trying to combine video and an ongoing question and answer through our email group with this site. An additional advantage with video is you can watch a segment repeatedly, until you get it right.
Sales of the grafting DVD out of California (CRFG-OC) will continue as we believe it complements our own work on a Florida centered DVD and emphasizes the differences in grafting techniques between hot humid Florida and the California climate. Again, details are inside the site.
Grafting Supplies coming soon!
Our email group is located at: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PlantGrafting/
Send your email here to subscribe: PlantGraftingfirstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in rare fruit you might visit Quisqualis.
Informaion about our educational products is being updated!
Read about the CRFG-OC DVD here soon.
Links coming soon!
Use a plastic bag to increase grafting success.
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