The Essential Guide to Tree Grafting

Tree Grafting
Tree grafting can occur naturally or can be done with different grafting techniques. When grafting techniques are done in the right manner, the benefits can be amazing...
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Mar 9, 2018
Are you a curious gardener, who likes to experiment with the plants and trees in your garden? Then learning grafting trees can really prove helpful; whether it comes to gardening tomatoes and potatoes together, or creating a rose plant that produces flowers of colors that have never been seen before. There are many tree grafting benefits, one of the significant ones is that domestication of heterosexual fruit trees like apple or cherry trees would never have been possible if fruit grafting hadn't taken place. Because, in such trees the natural sexual reproductive method is such that it prevents the good genes from being passed consistently.

Other important benefits is that grafting trees helps to grow different types of plants or trees on the existing trees, and thus saves the plantation space. Also, due to this advantage there is no need to uproot the existing plants/trees to plant the new plants. So, basically the aim of grafting is to produce better trees/plants whether it is to support both the plants, or grow two types of fruits or flowers on the same tree stock.

What is Tree Grafting?

Grafting Trees
Simply put, fusing a stock with a scion (said as si-un) is tree grafting. A stock is the selected part of a plant for its rootstock or mostly called stock. The scion is the other part plant (which can be the shoot or sprout of the second part), that is grafted onto the stock. The genes of the scion are the desired genes which are aimed for duplication in the future. The criteria for successful grafting is when that the vascular connection between the stock and scion is established. This happens when vascular cambium tissue of both the plants is placed in contact with the stock and scion, and the tissue is maintained alive till the graft has taken place. This usually happens within a period of few weeks.

Successful Grafting
It will be useful while grafting plants or trees, if you study about the anatomy of tissue of the plant, and its identification so that you can align the cambium tissues of the stock and scion properly. For basic understanding of the alignment of this tissue, here is a simple example. Consider a cylindrical piece of stock which has 3 circular bands that can be seen from top at the center is red, middle band is green, and at the edge is the blue band. We have a piece of a scion which is shaped like a cutout piece of pie, that also has 3 color bands center band is cyan, the middle is magenta, and the band at the end is yellow. The cylindrical piece of the stock and scion need to be placed in such a way, that middle band of stock that is green and the middle band of scion that is magenta are placed overlapping each other. By understanding this alignment well, the job of grafting trees or plant will be an easy one.

How to Start Grafting Trees/Plants?

Tools Required for Grafting
There are various techniques involved in grafting trees, but if you are a beginner start with the most simple one like the awl grafting techniques, more known as the bark grafting techniques. The grafting tools required for this technique are a knife, few nails, grafting tape (which is a plastic flagging tape), and wax. You can order these supplies at a local nursery, or buy tree grafting kits containing all the above required garden tools online. Here are the steps you can use for grafting a scion onto the stock of a tree.

Stepwise Instructions
  • During late winter, cut a branch that is lowest to the ground, preferably 1 - 2 feet close to the ground.
  • Using a knife make an incision that is 5 cm long, and parallel to the direction of the scion limb that will be grafted on it.
  • Take a scion that is pencil-sized and make one smooth flat cut slanting across the lower end of the wood, by leaving an exposed portion that is 1.5 inches long.
  • Place the scion exposed portion firmly inside the incision that you made in the stock, so that the tissues can connect. Shave away a bit of the outside bark of the stock to connect the scion with the stock part better, and tap the scion gently to push in the incision better.
  • Nail the scion wood to the tree trunk gently with a small-sized nail.
  • Wrap the stock and scion with the tape to bind them together.
  • Coat the cut limb with wax, which will act as a dressing.
  • Now, all you have to do is to wait and watch for the new growth to appear.
This was all about grafting trees and a simple method of tree grafting for you to try. After you have successfully done the above grafting technique, experiment more by grafting vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes together, or combining two flowering plants together.
Grafting figs