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The Art and Science. of Grafting. Adam R. Wheeler Graduate Assistant University of Vermont. So What is Grafting?. - Grafting is the ART of connecting two pieces of living plant tissue so that they will unite, grow and develop as one plant. Grafting Terminology.

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The Art and Science

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The Art and Science

of Grafting


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Adam R. WheelerGraduate AssistantUniversity of Vermont


So what is grafting l.jpg

So What is Grafting?

- Grafting is the ARTof connecting two pieces of living plant tissue so that they will unite, grow and develop as one plant


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Grafting Terminology

Scion - short piece of detached shoot containing at least one dormant bud. The upper portion of the graft producing stems and branches

Rootstock (understock or stock) - lower portion of the graft. Produces the root system of the plant.


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Vascular cambium - an area of actively growing tissue located between the bark (phloem) and wood (xylem). The cambium of scion must be in close contact with cambium of rootstock.


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Callus - mass of parenchyma cells that develop from wounded plant tissues.


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The History of Grafting

- First documented by the Chinese as early as 5000 B.C. when Feng Li, a Chinese diplomat, began grafting peaches, almonds, persimmons, pears and apples as a commercial venture.


Aristotle 384 322 b c and theophrastus 371 287 b c both wrote about grafting l.jpg

- Aristotle (384 -322 B.C.) and Theophrastus (371-287 B.C.) both wrote about grafting.


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- During the Roman Empire the Romans were famous for their grafted olive trees


The renaissance period 1350 1600 ad saw renewed interest in grafting l.jpg

- The Renaissance period (1350-1600 AD) saw renewed interest in grafting


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In the 16-17th century grafting was widely used in England


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- In the early 1800’s grafting became common place in the United States.


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- Today grafting is used by many major growers to produce hundreds of different types of agricultural and ornamental plants.


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So Tell Me How It Works!


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What’s The Point Then?


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1) ToPerpetuate clones

- Many plants (beech,

eucalyptus, fir, oak and

apple) root very poorly

from cuttings.

- Consequently, clones of

these species are often

maintained by grafting.


Japanese maples often form poor root systems when grown from cuttings and therefore must be grafted l.jpg

- Japanese maples often form poor root systems when grown from cuttings and therefore must be grafted


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2) To Take Advantage of Rootstock Disease

and Pest Tolerance.

  • Some rootstocks can tolerate unfavorable soil pressure from disease, insects and nematodes better than the scion’s root system.


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- Wine grapes are grafted onto native muscadine grapes to prevent problems from nematodes and phylloxera = yellow aphid.


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3) To Take Advantage of Rootstocks tolerance of poor growing conditions.

- Some rootstocks are able to withstand poor quality soils (compaction, poor drainage, dry, high salt levels) better than the scion’s root system.


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4) Some Rootstocks Can Speed the Growth

of the Scion Into Early Maturity.


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5) Some Rootstocks can increase plant growth rate and reduce nursery production time.

- Some shade trees (like Acer platanoides ‘Super Form’) can grow more quickly if grafted than if grown as a rooted cutting or even a seedling!


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6) Grafting Can Be Used to Obtain Special Growth Forms

- With ornamentals, it is common to use an upright growing rootstock and a “weeping” or “dwarf” scion


With fruit trees it is common to use a dwarfing rootstock to create a smaller sized plant l.jpg

- With fruit trees it is common to use a dwarfing rootstock to create a smaller sized plant


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7) Grafting Can be used to Repair damaged trees

  • Trees are often damaged from winter injury, rodents, machinery, or disease.

  • Grafters can use a bridge graft or a technique known as inarching to repair the damage.


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8) Grafting can be used to change cultivars on established plants (topworking)

This method is used to:

  • Change unproductive cultivars or those no longer in demand

  • Fix poor growth habit

  • Change cultivars that are susceptible to insects of disease


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What’s The Plan For Today?


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Budding - a specialty form of grafting performed in late summer. The scion is small and typically only consists of a single bud.


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Two Types of Budding


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Working with T-budding


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The End


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