Fruit tree grafts are used as multiplication and reproduction methods in a wide variety of plants and trees, being very effective in this type of trees. In general, the process of making a graft consists of making a cut in a branch and inserting it into another tree. However, in practice, this process is much more complex and there are different techniques to ensure that the graft is successful and the fruit tree continues to grow and bear fruit.
If you want to know well how to graft fruit treeskeep reading this EcologíaVerde article in which we tell you two techniques and more details.
What is a graft in gardening, horticulture and agriculture
Before we start talking about the techniques for grafting fruit trees, it is necessary to know the reason for this process and its objective. As we mentioned, a graft is used as a method of multiplication and reproduction of a tree. In this case we define a graft as a piece or piece of the bud or stem of a tree that we fix to a pattern (which is the plant that will receive the graft) in order to produce leaves, flowers, fruits and stems. A graft is not always done for commercial purposes to obtain larger fruits, more resistant plants or even self-pollinating varieties.
Before performing a graft, we must know the compatibilities between the different fruit trees to increase the chance that the graft will develop well. That is to say, you cannot insert any branch in any fruit tree that you want. It is advisable to make grafts on trees that are from the same family, for example, an orange variety on another orange tree. The usual thing is to choose a rootstock to make the graft that is as resistant as possible to diseases and that develops well on the soil in which we are going to plant it.
There are different types and techniques of grafting such as yolk, groin or approach techniquesbut the most used is double slit or crown technique. The technique will depend on the objective to be achieved with the graft and the time. For example, the yolk ones are usually made closer to the spring season. Multiple grafts can also be made on the same rootstock.
As an example, the vast majority of fruit trees are produced by grafting buds of the desired variety onto a cultivated rootstock. If we look closely, we can see a small bulge or curvature at the point where the bud was grafted. In other words, a large majority of fruit trees are actually the roots of one species of tree and the trunk or buds of another. There are some varieties that do not need to be grafted, such as the olive or fig tree. On the other hand, the rosebushes that we buy are usually grafted and many ornamental plants such as mimosa or cypress are also grafted.
Steps to make a graft in fruit trees
The basic steps to graft a fruit tree are:
- Cut the branch of the tree to be grafted when the first shoots begin to develop. Do it at an approximate 45 degree angle.
- Match or join two cut branches using an insulating tape or a grafting tape. The pairing must be done with force, without being so excessive as to cut off circulation in the branches.
- Cover the graft with a paper bag or other material to protect it from rain, excessive sunlight, or insects.
- Wait between 3 or 4 weeks, so that the branches grow together.
- When we see that the branches have already grown well and sufficiently, it will be time to remove the paper bag, the rubber bands and the grafting tape, leaving the branches to grow on their own.
Double cleft grafting in fruit trees
Double cleft grafting is one of the oldest grafting techniques and is currently the most widely used in horticulture. It is usually used for change the variety of a tree or rejuvenate a tree aged. Usually, this graft is usually applied to trees with a trunk diameter that does not exceed 10 centimeters and the time in which it is usually done is during the winter.
For make a double cleft graft on a fruit tree the following steps are followed:
- Prepare two branches with a bevel on both sides.
- Make a clean and straight cut in the standard tree and a longitudinal cut.
- Insert the two branches cut from our graft into the slit made in the pattern tree, one on each side. These should be adjusted so that their outer barks contact the bark of the parent tree.
- Tie everything and untie them when the buds have begun to sprout and are between 5 and 10 centimeters long.
To end this guide on how to graft fruit trees, we recommend that you also consult this other EcologíaVerde guide in which we tell you how to take care of fruit trees.
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