Last updated: November 18, 2021

What Does Grafting Mean?

Grafting is the process of joining two plants together (an upper portion and a lower portion) to grow as one. The upper portion of the plant is known as the scion, which is attached to the lower portion known as the rootstock.

This is most often done for fruit trees, and virtually all trees in orchards are grafted. Grafting in the orchard is done because the seeds of a fruit tree cannot reproduce true to their genetics. Therefore, the branch of a desirable tree is grafted to a suitable rootstock.


Maximum Yield Explains Grafting

Grafting is also performed to produce dwarf plants that are true to their variety. A less desirable plant can be changed by grafting a more desirable species to the rootstock.

Multiple varieties can be grafted to the same rootstock to produce a novelty tree that will produce several different fruits on the same tree. Most roses are also a product of grafting to a different rootstock.

Grafting can be performed either through a stem cutting graft to the rootstock or through budding, which is a process where a bud, but not an entire stem, is grafted. This is often the preferred method for apple trees, but is also used with other fruits as well. Wax is used to cover the grafted area and then it is wrapped with growing tape to protect it during the healing period.

A number of different plants can serve as the rootstock, but often hardy flowering quince is preferred because of its tolerance in northern climates. Grafting to a hardy rootstock enables plants to grow in a colder climate without suffering root freeze.

A plant produced through grafting can usually be spotted by a lump or ball-like growth at the base of the stem where it attaches to the rootstock. The grafted point should never be buried, or the rootstock will grow instead of the grafted upper portion of the plant.


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