Do you know the grafting technique and the possibilities it offers you? Have you ever wondered how to create a rose tree identical to another, with unique properties in terms of the beauty and aroma of its roses?
Cloning plants by grafting
The graft, in any case, is the union of two fragments of vegetables united as intimately as possible; of two plants in a single individual. As a general rule, the grafted plants must belong to the same botanical family.
In a graft, we can define two parts. One part is the foot, also known as the rootstock, which comes from cuttings or seed. This provides the necessary elements for the growth of the graft through its root system. The other part, the grafted one, is the aerial one, which comes from the yolk or scion, also called the stem. It contributes to the characteristics of the vegetable to multiply and it will be the one that gives the flowers and the fruits.
The grafting technique has many advantages. Grafting is a method of multiplication.
One of the main purposes of grafting is to achieve the faithful multiplication of a hybrid. Another great advantage is that of acquiring a better adaptation in adverse soils, whether calcareous, dry or saline, with this technique we can cultivate species in soils where it would be unlikely to do it successfully without grafting. We can also adapt them to the cold, getting later varieties.
Applications of the grafts
The graft will allow us to modify or improve the structure of certain trees, adapting it to our needs. For this reason, it is very widespread in fruit trees because it manages to reproduce high-quality fruit trees and conserve them at short stature, which facilitates the harvest of the fruit, the use of space and resources.
We will influence, with the graft, in the flowering and we will obtain more abundant blooms, individuals with bigger flowers or with different flowers in the same individual.
Thus, on the same foot of rose, we can have different types of roses.
As with fruit trees, grafting allows us to cultivate varieties of flowers that are difficult to cut or reproduce by seed.
Another of the most important advantages of the graft is that it allows us to obtain individuals more resistant to plagues and soil diseases.
It is a technique widely used in horticulture, in varieties such as tomato, eggplant, watermelon, melon, cucumber and pepper, allowing us to save infections in the root system, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. radical in the case of tomatoes or Phytophthora caps in peppers. In most cases, the plants get better resistance to nematodes. It should be noted that the grafting technique can be practised in organic farming.
Although it is clear that the advantages, as we have described, are multiple, there are some drawbacks. The longevity of trees is one of them. The transmission of viral diseases in the grafting process is another.
In general, there are two methods for grafting, plectrum and yolk, there are different techniques within each of them.
Some concrete examples of grafting
A great example of grafts in trees is the case of the mulberry (Morus Alba). With this graft, large areas of shade can be obtained without the need for old trees. With the proper grafting and pruning, we will provide shade to large areas with few specimens because the trees will grow wide and not high.
Grafted mulberry trees are widely used in public parks and open-air car parks in some areas of the peninsula for having an easy pruning and providing great shadows.
This type of trees is very indicated to place in gardens since they create an atmosphere of very pleasant freshness in summer and, to the being of the deciduous leaf, they allow that in winter the sun enters.
As we have already mentioned, roses are also grafted. With the grafting of roses, we can create plants in which the buds start at 1.5 m high or more. This will be very useful in cases where there is a wall or any kind of high fence, where it is difficult to grow roses because of the shade and moisture that the same wall creates on our soil. These are ideal spaces for roses grafted in this way because we will get the buds of the rose above the wall, getting favourable conditions for the development of buds and flowers.
A good example of grafting on the Frankfort (born of seed) is in the prized cherry tree. The majority of specimens (whether Bing, Burlat, Picota or Napoleon among others) are grafted on a foot of Prunus Avium. This is a wild cherry tree of great vigour and very rustic. It is present in many forests and mountain ranges of the Iberian Peninsula although it is not autochthonous. In spring it is very easy to spot thanks to its exuberant flowering and its size (it can reach 25m in height).
In the next publications, we will enter in detail on the different ways of being able to graft, the subsequent care to the graft and the conditions that we must have to avoid the most common problems.