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Plant Propagation - Grafting Fruit Trees and Plants

Plant grafting is a gardening technique, where a stem from one plant is attached, or grafted, permanently to another host plant. The grafted plant grows and thrives, receiving water and nutrients provided from the host.

The benefit of grafting is to take a desirable stem, like an heirloom, and grow it with the root system of the host. The root system of the host is more vigorous, and often has better insect and disease resistance. This allows the grafted stem to grow more vigorously, producing more and better fruit, over a longer period of time.

An added benefit, is for home gardeners. Suppose you have limited space for apple trees in your yard, and you like a variety of apples. By grafting a variety of stems onto one tree, you get to enjoy all those varieties on a single tree.

Grafting is most commonly practiced on fruit trees. For example, some fruit tree growers have successfully grafted as many as 7 different kinds of apples onto a single host tree!


Grafting Definition and Terms:

Using grafting techniques, a stem or branch cutting is taken from one plant, and grafted onto another.

The host plant is called the "Stock" plant or "Root Stock". It provides nutrients, plant vigor, and disease resistance.

The Stem to be grafted onto the Stock, is called the "Scion". It has desired traits, like flavor, size and color.

Grafting plants should be done in the spring, or early summer.

The two most common grafting methods are:

  1. Splice Grafting, also called Slant Grafting

  2. Whip Grafting, also called Tongue Grafting


Splice Grafting (or Slant Grafting):

Splice grafting is accomplished in just a few steps:

  1. Cut the stem off a Stock plant.

  2. Select the Scion from the growing end of a plant.

  3. Cut the scion of a similar diameter as the stock plant. The better the match, the more successful the graft.

  4. Match the Scion to the Stock.

  5. Hold the two parts together with a silicon grafting clip.

  6. Wrap grafting tape around the clip.

  7. If the graft is successful, the Scion will continue to be green and healthy. Then, in a few weeks, your graft will to show signs of growth.


Whip Grafting (or Tongue Grafting):

Here is how to perform a Whip Graft:

  1. Make a 2 1/2 inch cut, angled upward on the Stock.

  2. Select the Scion from the growing end of a plant.

  3. Make a similar cut on the Scion, but angled downward.

  4. Make a downward cut into the middle of the Stock, where you made the first cut.

  5. Make an upward cut through he middle of the Scion.

  6. Fit the Scion to the stock.

  7. Use grafting wax, to seal all around the connected pieces.

  8. Wrap grafting tape around the connected pieces.

  9. If the graft is successful, the Scion will continue to be green and healthy. Then, in a few weeks, your graft will to show signs of growth.


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