How do you do grafting?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Grafting Made Simple: How I Do Grafting

Step 1: Vertical Incisions
When I approach grafting, I start by making four vertical incisions through the bark of the rootstock. These incisions should be around 3 inches long and begin at the top of the rootstock. By making vertical cuts, I create a space for the scion to be inserted later on.

Step 2: Prepare the Scion
Next, I turn my attention to the scion, the part of the plant that will be grafted onto the rootstock. I carefully select a healthy scion that matches the desired traits I want in the final plant. I then prepare the scion by making a diagonal cut at the base, creating a slanted surface that will fit snugly into the vertical incisions made in the rootstock.

Step 3: Connect Scion and Rootstock
With both the rootstock and scion ready, it’s time to bring them together. I align the slanted surface of the scion with the vertical incisions on the rootstock, ensuring a tight fit. This connection is crucial for successful grafting, as it allows the flow of nutrients and water between the two plant parts.

Step 4: Secure the Graft
To ensure the scion and rootstock remain firmly connected, I use grafting tape or rubber bands to secure the graft. This helps to prevent any movement that could disrupt the healing process. It’s important to apply enough pressure to hold the graft in place but not so much that it damages the delicate tissues.

Step 5: Protect the Graft
After securing the graft, I take steps to protect it from external factors that could hinder its healing. I apply grafting wax or a similar protective substance to cover the exposed surfaces of the graft. This helps to prevent moisture loss and keep the graft safe from infections or pests.

Step 6: Secure the Plastic
To create a controlled environment for the graft to heal, I cover it with a clear plastic bag or dome. This creates a mini greenhouse effect, trapping heat and moisture around the graft. It’s important to ensure the plastic is well-secured to prevent it from blowing off or shifting, which could expose the graft to unfavorable conditions.

Throughout the grafting process, it’s crucial to handle the plants with care and maintain cleanliness to minimize the risk of infection. Additionally, it’s important to choose the right timing for grafting, as different plant species have specific optimal periods for successful grafting.

I find grafting to be an exciting and rewarding technique, as it allows me to combine the best traits of different plants and create new varieties. By following these simple steps and paying attention to the details, grafting can become a straightforward and successful practice for any gardener or plant enthusiast.