Wednesday, May 29, 2013


OK, so along the way I have told several people that I would devote a post to the art of GRAFTING. I was born and raised in the central valley where at that time there were many fruit and nut trees and I was a curious child.

 I tried my first graft at age 6, and would have most likely succeeded if I had used an air tight tape instead of surgical gauze.

I later took a grafting class through the OSU Master Gardeners in about 2000, I then became a Master Gardener in 2005 and taught Grafting along with other subjects for some years. I have also taught Grafting through our public Library.

This is going to be pretty down and dirty, Firstly make sure you sterilize all materials, tools, and your hands. A solution of one part bleach to nine parts water is good for this. This is after all, Plant Surgery.

At this point we need to talk about the biology of the plants you want to work with, by the way Grafting only works on diploid plants. these plants consist of three basic parts. There is the Xylem, this is the woody part of the plant. Then you have the Phloem, which is the bark material of the plant. In between these two parts is the Cambium, this is the layer that produces the rest of the plant and where the plant grows.

Next we have to realize there are many types of Graft, each working basically in the same manner but just in a different form. Types of graft include the Cleft, Splice, Bridge, Bud, as well as others. The most commonly used Graft by the average person are Splice and Bud Grafting. Not all Grafts will succeed.
The basics of all grafts are; you need to make good contact of the cambium of the Root stock and the Scion wood, The graft needs to be kept Air tight (so it won't dry out), make sure all materials tools and hands are sanitized.

In Splice grafting long tapered cuts are made on both the rootstock and the scion wood, if you want a tongue can be cut in the middle to assist in holding position. This graft is usually done at the first slip of the bark in spring, about Feb. - March. Making good cambium contact tape together with black electrical tape or grafting tape, tightly. This needs to be air tight. In grafting Scion wood you only want 2-3 buds on the scion wood , no more. Seal the top of the Scion with 2-3 buds with Grafting Wax so it has less chance to dry out and die.

Bud Grafting is usually done in late summer where a swollen growth bud is taken from the Scion plant in a small shield shape. These are found at the base of the leaf stem or petiole.
Remove the wood (Xylem) from this piece. Make a T cut vertically on the root stock and open the Bark (Phloem) on both sides, exposing the Cambium, and insert the bud under the flaps making good Cambium contact. In this graft it's best to use Grafting Tape, wrap tightly but only put one layer over the top of the bud. this bud should heal but not grow until the next spring. If using on a small rootstock in the spring cut above the bud to force it's growth.

Sorry most of the graphics I used in my power point would not copy or transfer over to the blog, but please if you have any questions please ask! Oh before I forget Arbor Sculpture is using Grafting in making interesting living items. Willows work very well for practice.


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