Grafting Techniques for Fruit Trees, Citrus Fruits and Vines

Grafting is a very important agricultural technique because it allows to obtain specimens of plants much more robust and resistant than the original ones. It is done by intimately joining two specimens: one of the two provides the lower part, then trunk and roots (the so-called rootstock) while the other provides the aerial parts of the plant (the so-called scion), then all the apparatus of buds and fruits. From their union comes a new plant with selected characteristics and better than those of departure. Grafting techniques are indispensable for propagation. The selection of the best characteristics of each element of a graft is essential to ensure that the resulting specimen has characteristics of excellence and that it gives better flowers and fruits, better resistance to disease and is more durable. Grafting on fruit trees can be done on almost any existing species but each grafting on fruit plants requires a different technique for the work to be successful. There are different types of grafting but the split grafting probably represents the road most traveled by most growers, because it is the one that offers the greatest guarantees of success, also in relation to the relative simplicity of realization. However, it is worth considering that there are different types of split grafting, each of which is designed for a particular type of cultivation or final result. The grafting of the cherry tree, the grafting of citrus fruits, the grafting of the lemon and, in general, of any fruit tree, is carried out with the technique of the split grafting or the bud grafting. To make perfect grafts it is useful to have a good mastic for grafting, a professional grafting machine and a tape for grafting or natural raffia.

The technique of whole split grafting is a very common solution and not difficult to implement. It provides that the rootstock is cut completely with a horizontal cut, behind which you must, then, make a second vertical cut, so as to form a sort of T: you must keep open the cracks just created in an artificial way to prevent the plant, as nature requires, proceed to the closure: to do this you must use wedges, possibly in acrylic material, which facilitate the grafting. These operations are fundamental to create the ideal housing for the scion, which is given a pointed shape by making two opposite oblique cuts. The scion is then inserted into the cut on the rootstock and to hold the position and ensure rooting, everything is sealed with mastic, a material that is completely safe for the plant. However, the mastic is not sufficient and for this reason a special ligation is also made that ensures perfect adhesion of the two parts of the graft.

Simple English Split Graft

Plant grafting using the simple English splitting technique is a variant of the traditional version and is used only in certain specific circumstances. It requires that the grafts and rootstock have the same diameter and that the cut is carried out with absolute precision, without the slightest deburring. In this regard, in fact, if you have chosen to use this type of grafting on fruit plants, you must use a tool with a very sharp blade, which can make a perfect precision cut. The upper part of the cut must be made just above the bud, while the lower part must be made on the other side. The cut must be perfectly oblique and not be too close to the bud but not too far from it for the graft to be successful. The realization of the double cut is functional to the optimal drainage of water, which flows on the opposite side of the bud, without touching it, so that it is not damaged by moisture.

English-Style Double-Slit Graft

It is a variant of the simple English graft, which in addition to the two engravings provides for another, always oblique, which makes the engravings assume a particular Z shape. This third incision is functional to increase the contact surface between the rootstock and the scion and, therefore, increase the chances of success of the operation, ensuring an even better result.

Lateral split graft

In this case, in the rootstock you have to make an oblique cut, whose angle is not excessive, in fact, the cut has almost a vertical aspect. Here you will graft the scion, which you have previously cut into a tongue, ie with the lower part thinner than the rest in order to facilitate the entry into the split. It is not a grafting technique that is usually used in the initial stages of the procedure but it is mainly used to thicken the aerial parts of the plant in case there should be missing branches.

Gem Graft

The bud graft can be a dormant type, when it is carried out in the early autumn period, or a vegetant bud if the grafting is carried out in the spring period. The buds must necessarily come from healthy shrubs and without the slightest appearance of weakness, let alone disease. In the bark of the branch you have to make an incision with a very sharp knife, starting from a distance of a few centimeters from the bud. The cut must be completed at a distance of about one centimeter from the bud and only at this point can the knife be extracted and, with it, the portion of the shield that has been engraved. The alternative to the shield is the removal of the bud by taking a ring or a bark plate. The inverted T- or T- graft is one of the most used in the type of bud grafting. A vertical and a horizontal incision is made on the graft holder to form a T, the edges of which are then raised to facilitate the insertion of the shield, in full respect of the polarity. In order for the graft to be successful, you must then tie and close the whole thing, so as to facilitate contact.

The inlay grafting is very particular, because the incision on the rootstock is made in accordance with the shape of the shield, then with the same shape and size, so that there is a maximum and total contact surface between the two parts.

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