17 April, 2021

Grafting in a Pinch

 The Benefits of Grafting

To get plants to productivity sooner

A better tasting, or better producing fruit tree

Contain a too-large plant by using dwarfing rootstock

Use a resilient rootstock in a soil that otherwise could not

To put two varieties of the same fruit on one tree

Books about Grafting

Reference material:

The Grafters Handbook – Not easy to read, not easy to find and when found it will cost as much as $300! However, if you run across one of these that doesn't cost $300, grab it. It has been THE manual for a very long time and it is the only book that covers ALL – not just the popular – grafts. The information in this book is going to be lost soon.

The Home Orchard, UCANR – one of the very best books that includes notes on grafting, but presents caring for home orchards. A truly well-written book, impeccable in it's presentation and incomparable in the breadth and depth of grafting. Wonderfully written.

A Grafting Glossary

Adventitious - said of buds, shoots or roots arising out of order; not initiated by apical meristems

Apical Meristem -the growth region in plants found within the root tips and the tips of the new shoots and leaves, a mature cork cell is non-living and has cell  walls that are composed of a waxy substance that is highly impermeable to gases and water

Bark – the outer layers of the rind, consisting largely of cork, serving to protect the inner rind and cambium. See rind.

Bud – to insert an eye, or bud, when bud-grafting

Bud grafting – grafting with an single eye or bud, detached from a shoot along with a portion of rind and, in some cases a small slice of the wood

Callus – healing tissue arising from the cambium at wounds

Cambium – the layer of meristematic tissue between the wood and the rind from which further elements of both develop

Clone – vegetative progeny of one plant

Compatible – said of plants which when grafted together form a good, sound and permanent union

Cultivar – internationally agreed technical term for what, in English, is known as a variety .

Eye – a single bud or group of buds

Graft – where the scion meets the stock, the completed operation of grafting, the union, a term often wrongly used for scion

Graft – to prepare and place together plant parts so that they may grow together

Incompatible – said of plants which when garfted together fail to form a lasting union

Meristem – tissue capable of growth, either primary from which new organs develop (primordial of leaves, stems, roots) or secondary, by which special tissues (cambium, phellogen)

Meristematic – pertaining to meristems

Mother Tree – a tree selected as a source of scions, cuttings or seed

Petiole – leaf-stalk

Phellogen – meristematic cork producing tissue in the outer region of the rind

Rind – all the tissues external to the woody core of stems and roots, often termed bark

Rootstock – root-bearing plant on which the scion is grafted.

Scion – part of plant used for grafting upon the stock plant

Tissue – the substance, structure or texture of which the plant body, or any organ of it, is composed

Xylem – botanical name for wood

Safety First!

Before you begin to graft, think about your safety first. The knives you are working with are – or should be – very sharp. Keep that thought first in your mind. Always cut away from yourself, never towards yourself – this is the root of most accidents. We are trying to get a knife through some stubborn material and without a second thought, turn the knife towards our fingers without even thinking. Know where the first aid kit is and, if necessary, the closest emergency room.

Grafting Tools/Supplies

Essential Tools:

1 Knife exclusively for grafting cuts, many sizes and shapes, don't go cheap on this knife.

A means to sharpen that knife at the bench or in the wild (of course you could have two knives, one for bench work and one for field work, the only concern is that you have the means to keep them sharp!)

Sharpening devices – whatever cranks your tractor and helps you keep your blades sharp (you are more likely to be injured by a dull blade than a sharp one)

Some way to make the graft stable – Parafilm is the hot tip! Rubber bands are a pain

A small first aid kit. I am serious. And brush up on your ability to do first aid.

In teaching grafting, it proved important to keep students in pairs. Person A watches as Person B works with the knife and they switch. For your first few grafts, have a friend or fellow student watch you and then switch and you watch them.