Techniques of Plant Propagation - Part Two

Sylvia By Sylvia , 14th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Propagation

Budding and grafting come under the methods of asexual propagation of plant material to join two or more parts of plants to grow as one.


The practise of grafting plants in agriculture was evident for thousands of years. It was commonly practised in ancient Greece and in China even before 2000BC.

Budding and grafting come under the methods of asexual propagation of plant material to join two or more parts of plants to grow as one. It was mainly practised to propagate plants that were difficult to grow from cuttings and those that will not root well, including plants that do not have a good system of roots.

Grafting is also useful to speed up the reproductive stage in trees and induce the fruiting process in them that usually takes up to 15 years of growth to gain maturity and enter the reproductive stage, one such specimen is the mangosteen. Grafting can speed up fruiting to take place within 2 to 3 years. Heterosexual fruit trees have benefitted vastly by grafting. One example is the apple tree. The natural method of sexual reproduction of the apple tree’s useful genes was prevented from being consistently passed on and over time improved grafting methods have successfully overcome this. Grafting of economic fruit trees have also succeeded by reducing the overall height of trees and minimised accidents caused to workers falling from tall ladders.

The scion is the part of the new plant material that is used to graft on to a sturdy root stock or host plant which will be providing the root system to the new plant. The cambium layer is located between the bark of the stem and inner wood and this is where the wood cells are formed.

For a graft to successfully take effect there are certain criteria to be met. One is the compatibility of the scion and root stock.

Secondly both must be at same and proper physiological stage of growth.

Thirdly when the graft is in place, ensure that the cambial layers of the stock and the scion meets.

Fourthly keep the union of the graft moist until the scaring has healed and the bark has formed over it.

After care
For complete success in grafting it is essential that proper maintenance is followed after the grafts are done during the following two to three years. Depending on the maturity of the stock and scion grafting can be a slow process to take effect. Cut out the binding material shortly after growth starts. If allowed to remain girdling will take place.

Grafting methods

There are different methods of grafting, some of which are bark grafting, cleft grafting, whip or tongue grafting as illustrated.

Bark Grafting
This grafting method is usually used on large branches. The selected scion wood is best collected when the plant is dormant measuring about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Preparation of the rootstock is done by cutting at a right angle to itself using a saw for a clean cut. Diagonally cut 1/2 – inch on one side and 1- inch on the other side of the scion leaving 2 buds on the longer side of the cut. Then cutting a little wider than the scion, through the bark of the rootstock, and removing the top third bark from this cut, insert the scion. Ensure the longer cut stays against the stock wood. The graft is positioned firmly by nailing it in place with wire nails.

This type of grafting is prone to get infected before the graft takes on and the wounds are healed. Therefore it is essential to cut the rootstock at a slant to ensure moisture does not get trapped and is easily dripped off. Apply a coat of anti fungal treatment and cover all cut areas and wounds with grafting wax. An effective wax can be prepared by heating bees wax and mixing in a quantity of masonry cement to a slurry consistency.

Whip or Tongue Grafting

In this method of grafting the scion and rootstock which are usually of similar diameter is best at 1/4 to 1/2 inches in diameter. However, the scion may be a little narrower than the rootstock. This is a strong graft and will heal quickly as it provides a tremendous cambial contact. The secret is to make a long sloping cut usually about 2 ½ inches on the top of the rootstock and a match it by cutting the bottom of the scion with a similar cut. Then slice each cut surface downwards to enable the pieces to interlock when fitted together. Fit and bind into place. Cover the union and all areas that are damaged with grafting wax.

To be continued... Next Chapter - Budding


Bark Grafting, Graft, Grafting Methods, Whip Or Tongue Grafting

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author avatar Sylvia
I like to write, I write poetry and prose. I write on nature, the environment, in fact I write on any subject.

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