When most people hear the word grafting, typically they think about tree farms and orchards, and some how fitting two separate trees together. The thing is that grafting has many uses besides just with trees. Grafting is an extremely common technique used in the gardening world. In fact, it is so common that some gardeners are using it without even realizing it. But what is grafting? Keep reading to find out more about this extremely helpful gardening technique.
- What is it? Simply put, grafting is a method for fusing two separate plants into one new one. This can take many different forms, but most often it is done when a small portion of one plant (tree, flower, or some other similar item) is inserted into the living tissue of another plant. Typically the way that this is done is by opening up one plant, and inserting a freshly cut portion of another plant into that opening.
- General advantages. There are several advantages to using the grafting technique, some of which are specific to the plant in question. However, there are a few generalized advantages that seem to cross all boundaries. The most common reason for grafting is to help in the propagation (or reproduction) of plants. Another common advantage of grafting plants is that, when successful, it can actually make the plant more hardy and sturdy.
- Artificial. Artificial means of grafting are the ones that are most often employed in the gardening world. This is where the two separate plants are actually forced together, usually through cutting a small part of one plant, and then making another cut into a larger plant, and inserting the smaller one into the larger one. This type of grafting is called cleft grafting, but some of the other methods are called awl, veneer, four flap (a.k.a., banana), stub, whip, budding, and approach grafting.
- Natural. Natural grafting is a method that takes a lot longer than artificial grafting to accomplish. Typically this type of grafting is seen when two or more trees, or branches, are close together and end up growing into one plant.
- Scientific uses. Besides some of the reasons given already, there are a few scientific uses for grafting as well. For example, grafting can often lead to creating a new species of plant, studying how plant viruses get transmitted, in addition to how pests can affect plants as well.