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Grafting

Grafting

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Grafting is a horticultural
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

 technique whereby tissues
Tissue (biology)
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

 from one plant
Plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

 are inserted into those of another so that the two sets of vascular tissues may join together. This vascular joining is called inosculation
Inosculation
Inosculation is a natural phenomenon in which trunks or branches of two trees grow together. When occurring in plants, it is biologically very similar to grafting....

. The technique is most commonly used in asexual
Asexual reproduction
Asexual reproduction is a mode of reproduction by which offspring arise from a single parent, and inherit the genes of that parent only, it is reproduction which does not involve meiosis, ploidy reduction, or fertilization. A more stringent definition is agamogenesis which is reproduction without...

 propagation
Plant propagation
Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts. Plant propagation can also refer to the artificial or natural dispersal of plants.-Sexual propagation :...

 of commercially grown plants for the horticultural and agricultural trades.

In most cases, one plant is selected for its root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s and this is called the stock or rootstock
Rootstock
A rootstock is a plant, and sometimes just the stump, which already has an established, healthy root system, used for grafting a cutting or budding from another plant. The tree part being grafted onto the rootstock is usually called the scion...

. The other plant is selected for its stems
Plant stem
A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant. The stem is normally divided into nodes and internodes, the nodes hold buds which grow into one or more leaves, inflorescence , conifer cones, roots, other stems etc. The internodes distance one node from another...

, leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

, flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s, or fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

s and is called the scion. The scion contains the desired gene
Gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...

s to be duplicated in future production by the stock/scion plant.

In stem grafting, a common grafting method, a shoot
Shoot
Shoots are new plant growth, they can include stems, flowering stems with flower buds, and leaves. The new growth from seed germination that grows upward is a shoot where leaves will develop...

 of a selected, desired plant cultivar
Cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

 is grafted onto the stock of another type. In another common form called bud grafting, a dormant side bud is grafted onto the stem of another stock plant, and when it has inosculated
Inosculation
Inosculation is a natural phenomenon in which trunks or branches of two trees grow together. When occurring in plants, it is biologically very similar to grafting....

 successfully, it is encouraged to grow by pruning
Pruning
Pruning is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping , improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for...

 off the stem of the stock plant just above the newly grafted bud.

For successful grafting to take place, the vascular cambium
Vascular cambium
The vascular cambium is a part of the morphology of plants. It consists of cells that are partly specialized, for the tissues that transport water solutions, but have not reached any of the final forms that occur in their branch of the specialization graph...

 tissues of the stock and scion plants must be placed in contact with each other. Both tissues must be kept alive until the graft has 'taken', usually a period of a few week
Week
A week is a time unit equal to seven days.The English word week continues an Old English wice, ultimately from a Common Germanic , from a root "turn, move, change"...

s. Successful grafting only requires that a vascular connection take place between the grafted tissues. Joints formed by grafting are not as strong as naturally formed joints, so a physical weak point often still occurs at the graft, because only the newly formed tissues inosculate with each other. The existing structural tissue (or wood) of the stock plant does not fuse.

Advantages


  • Precocity: The ability to induce fruitfulness without the need for completing the juvenile phase. Juvenility is the natural state through which a seedling plant must pass before it can become reproductive. In most fruiting trees, juvenility may last between 5 and 9 years, but in some tropical fruits e.g. Mangosteen
    Mangosteen
    The purple mangosteen , colloquially known simply as mangosteen, is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The tree grows from 7 to 25 m tall...

    , juvenility may be prolonged for up to 15 years. Grafting of mature scions onto rootstocks can result in fruiting in as little as two years.
  • Dwarfing: To induce dwarfing or cold tolerance or other characteristics to the scion. Most apple
    Apple
    The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family . It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits, and the most widely known of the many members of genus Malus that are used by humans. Apple grow on small, deciduous trees that blossom in the spring...

     trees in modern orchard
    Orchard
    An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

    s are grafted on to dwarf or semi-dwarf trees planted at high density. They provide more fruit per unit of land, higher quality fruit
    Fruit
    In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

    , and reduce the danger of accidents by harvest crews working on ladders.
  • Ease of propagation: Because the scion is difficult to propagate vegetatively by other means, such as by cuttings. In this case, cuttings of an easily rooted plant are used to provide a rootstock. In some cases, the scion may be easily propagated, but grafting may still be used because it is commercially the most cost-effective way of raising a particular type of plant.
  • Hybrid breeding: To speed maturity of hybrids in fruit tree breeding programs. Hybrid seedlings may take ten or more years to flower
    Flower
    A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

     and fruit on their own roots. Grafting can reduce the time to flowering and shorten the breeding program.
  • Hardiness: Because the scion has weak roots or the roots of the stock plants have roots tolerant of difficult conditions. e.g. many showy Western Australia
    Western Australia
    Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

    n plants are sensitive to dieback
    Phytophthora cinnamomi
    Phytophthora cinnamomi is a soil-borne water mould that produces an infection which causes a condition in plants called root rot or dieback. The plant pathogen is one of the world's most invasive species and is present in over 70 countries from around the world.- Life cycle and effects on plants :P...

     on heavy soils, common in urban gardens, and are grafted onto hardier eastern Australian relatives. Grevillea
    Grevillea
    Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the protea family Proteaceae, native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Sulawesi. It was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville. The species range from prostrate shrubs less than 0.5 m tall to trees...

    s and eucalypts
    Eucalyptus
    Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Members of the genus dominate the tree flora of Australia...

     are examples.
  • Sturdiness: To provide a strong, tall trunk
    Trunk (botany)
    In botany, trunk refers to the main wooden axis of a tree that supports the branches and is supported by and directly attached to the roots. The trunk is covered by the bark, which is an important diagnostic feature in tree identification, and which often differs markedly from the bottom of the...

     for certain ornamental
    Ornamental plant
    Ornamental plants are plants that are grown for decorative purposes in gardens and landscape design projects, as house plants, for cut flowers and specimen display...

     shrubs and trees. In these cases, a graft is made at a desired height on a stock plant with a strong stem. This is used to raise 'standard' rose
    Rose
    A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers are large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows...

    s, which are rose bushes on a high stem, and it is also used for some ornamental trees, such as certain weeping cherries.
  • Pollen source: To provide pollenizer
    Pollenizer
    A pollenizer or polleniser, sometimes pollinizer or polliniser is a plant that provides pollen.In American English, the words pollenizer and pollinator are often confused: A pollinator is the biotic agent that moves the pollen, such as bees, moths, bats, and birds...

    s. For example, in tightly planted or badly planned apple orchard
    Orchard
    An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

    s of a single variety, limbs of crab apple
    Malus
    Malus , the apples, are a genus of about 30–35 species of small deciduous trees or shrubs in the family Rosaceae. Other studies go as far as 55 species including the domesticated Orchard Apple, or Table apple as it was formerly called...

     may be grafted at regularly spaced intervals onto trees down rows, say every fourth tree. This takes care of pollen
    Pollen
    Pollen is a fine to coarse powder containing the microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce the male gametes . Pollen grains have a hard coat that protects the sperm cells during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants or from the male cone to the...

     needs at blossom time, yet does not confuse pickers who might otherwise mix varieties while harvesting, as the mature crab apples are so distinct from other apple varieties.
  • Repair: To repair damage to the trunk of a tree that would prohibit nutrient flow, such as stripping of the bark
    Bark
    Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants. Plants with bark include trees, woody vines and shrubs. Bark refers to all the tissues outside of the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term. It overlays the wood and consists of the inner bark and the outer bark. The inner...

     by rodent
    Rodent
    Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

    s that completely girdles the trunk. In this case a bridge graft
    Bridge graft
    A bridge graft is used to supply nutrients to the upper portions of a woody perennial when the bark, and therefore the conductive tissues, have been removed from part of the trunk. This wound is often caused by rabbits or other rodents, stripping the bark away and girdling the tree...

     may be used to connect tissues receiving flow from the roots to tissues above the damage that have been severed from the flow. Where a watershoot, basal shoot
    Basal shoot
    A basal shoot, root sprout, adventitious shoot, water sprout or sucker is a shoot or cane which grows from a bud at the base of a tree or shrub or from its roots. This shoot then becomes, or takes the form of, a singular plant. A plant that produces suckers is referred to as surculose...

     or sapling of the same species is growing nearby, any of these can be grafted to the area above the damage by a method called inarch grafting. These alternatives to scions must be of the correct length to span the gap of the wound.
  • Changing cultivars: To change the cultivar
    Cultivar
    A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

     in a fruit orchard to a more profitable cultivar, called topworking. It may be faster to graft a new cultivar onto existing limbs of established trees than to replant an entire orchard.
  • Maintain consistency: Apples are notorious for their genetic variability, even differing in multiple characteristics, such as, size, color, and flavor, of fruits located on the same tree. In the commercial farming industry, consistency is maintained by grafting a scion with desired fruit traits onto a hardy stock.


  • Curiosities
    • A practice sometimes carried out by gardeners is to graft related potato
      Potato
      The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

      es and tomato
      Tomato
      The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

      es so that both are produced on the same plant, one above ground and one underground.
    • Cacti
      Cactus
      A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae. Their distinctive appearance is a result of adaptations to conserve water in dry and/or hot environments. In most species, the stem has evolved to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have evolved into spines...

       of widely different forms are sometimes grafted on to each other.
    • Multiple cultivar
      Cultivar
      A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...

      s of fruits such as apples are sometimes grafted on a single tree. This so-called "family tree
      Fruit Salad Tree
      A fruit salad tree is a fictional plant that produces a variety of fruits on one tree. To create this tree, multiple cultivars of various fruits are grafted to a single rootstock. Fruit salad trees can simultaneously grow a number of fruits from multiple fruit families....

      " provides more fruit variety for small spaces such as a suburban backyard, and also takes care of the need for pollenizers. The drawback is that the gardener must be sufficiently trained to prune
      Pruning
      Pruning is a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping , improving or maintaining health, reducing risk from falling branches, preparing nursery specimens for...

       them correctly, or one strong variety will usually "take over".
    • Ornamental and functional, tree shaping uses grafting techniques to join separate trees or parts of the same tree to itself. Furniture
      Furniture
      Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

      , hearts, entry archways are examples. Axel Erlandson
      Axel Erlandson
      Axel Erlandson was a Swedish American farmer who shaped trees as a hobby, and opened a horticultural attraction in 1947 advertised as "See the World's Strangest Trees Here," and named "The Tree Circus."...

       was a prolific tree shaper who grew over 75 mature specimens.

Approach



Approach grafting or inarching is used to join together plants that are otherwise difficult to join. The plants are grown close together, and then joined so that each plant has root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s below and growth above the point of union. Both scion and stock retain their respective parents that may or may not be removed after joining. Also used in pleaching
Pleaching
Pleaching is a technique to weave the branches of trees into a hedge or to form a quincunx. Commonly, deciduous trees are planted in lines, then pleached to form a flat plane on clear stems above the ground level. Branches are woven together and lightly tied...

. The graft can be successfully accomplished any time of year.

Budding


Grafting with a single eye or bud. Normally performed at the height of the growing season by inserting a dormant bud into a shallow slice under the rind of the tree. The bud is sealed from drying and bound in place. There are many styles of budding depending on the cutting and fitting methods, the most popular being shield budding
Shield budding
Shield budding is a technique of grafting to change varieties of fruit trees. Typically used in fruit tree propagation, it can also be used for many other kinds of nursery stock. An extremely sharp knife is necessary; specialty budding knives are on the market...

.
Other budding styles include the inverted T, patch budding, double shield, flute budding and chip budding.

Cleft



The most common form of grafting is cleft grafting. This is best done in the spring and is useful for joining a thin scion about 1 cm (0.393700787401575 in) diameter to a thicker branch or stock. It is best if the latter is 2–7 cm (0.78740157480315–2.8 in) in diameter and has 3-5 buds. The branch or stock should be split carefully down the middle to form a cleft about 3 cm (1.2 in) deep. If it is a branch that is not vertical then the cleft should be cut horizontally. The end of the scion should be cut cleanly to a long shallow wedge, preferably with a single cut for each wedge surface, and not whittled. A third cut may be made across the end of the wedge to make it straight across.

Slide the wedge into the cleft so that it is at the edge of the stock and the centre of the wedge faces are against the cambium layer between the bark and the wood. It is preferable if a second scion is inserted in a similar way into the other side of the cleft. This helps to seal off the cleft. Tape around the top of the stock to hold the scion/s in place and cover with grafting wax or sealing compound. This stops the cambium layers from drying out and also prevents the ingress of water into the cleft.

Whip


Also known as the whip and tongue graft, this is considered the most difficult to master but has the highest rate of success as it offers the most cambium contact between the 2 species. It is the most common graft used in top-dressing commercial fruit trees. It is generally used with stock less than 1/2 in diameter, with the ideal diameter closer to 3/8 in and the scion should be of roughly the same diameter as the stock.

The stock is cut through on one side only at a shallow angle with a sharp knife. (If the stock is a branch and not the main trunk of the rootstock then the cut surface should face outward from the centre of the tree.) The scion is similarly sliced through at an equal angle starting just below a bud, so that the bud is at the top of the cut and on the other side than the cut face.

A notch is cut downwards into the sliced face of the stock and a similar cut upwards into the face of the scion cut. These act as the tongues and it requires some skill to make the cuts so that the scion and the stock marry up neatly. The joint is then taped around and treated with tree-sealing compound or grafting wax.

The elongated "Z" shape adds strength, removing the need for a companion rod in the first season (see illustration).

Stub



Stub grafting is a technique that requires less stock than cleft grafting, and retains the shape of a tree. Also scions are generally of 6-8 buds in this process.

An incision is made into the branch 1 cm (0.393700787401575 in) long, then the scion is wedged and forced into the branch. The scion should be at an angle of at most 35° to the parent tree so that the crotch remains strong. The graft is covered with grafting compound.

After the graft has taken, the branch is removed and treated a few centimeters above the graft, to be fully removed when the graft is strong.

Four flap (or banana)


The four-flap graft (also called banana graft) is commonly used for pecans, and first became popular with this species in Oklahoma in 1975. It is heralded for maximum cambium overlap, but is a complex graft. It requires similarly-sized diameters for the rootstock and graftwood. The bark of the rootstock is sliced and peeled back in four flaps, and the hardwood is removed, looking somewhat like a peeled banana. It is a difficult graft to learn.

Awl


Awl grafting takes the least resources and the least time. It is best done by an experienced grafter, as it is possible to accidentally drive the tool too far into the stock, reducing the scion's chance of survival. Awl grafting can be done by using a screwdriver to make a slit in the bark, not penetrating the cambium layer completely. Then inset the wedged scion into the incision.

Veneer


Veneer grafting, or inlay grafting, is a method used for stocks larger than three centimeters in diameter. The scion is recommended to be about as thick as a pencil. Clefts are made of the same size as the scion on the side of the branch, not on top. The scion end is shaped as a wedge, inserted, and wrapped with tape to the scaffolding branches to give it more strength.

Natural grafting




Tree branch
Branch
A branch or tree branch is a woody structural member connected to but not part of the central trunk of a tree...

es and more often root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s of the same species will sometimes naturally graft, this is called inosculation
Inosculation
Inosculation is a natural phenomenon in which trunks or branches of two trees grow together. When occurring in plants, it is biologically very similar to grafting....

. When roots make physical contact with each other they often grow together. A group of trees can share water and mineral nutrients via root grafts, which may be advantageous to weaker trees, and may also form a larger rootmass as an adaptation to promote fire resistance and regeneration as exemplified by the California black oak (Quercus kelloggii).

A problem with root grafts is that they allow transmission of certain pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s, such as Dutch elm disease
Dutch elm disease
Dutch elm disease is a disease caused by a member of the sac fungi category, affecting elm trees which is spread by the elm bark beetle. Although believed to be originally native to Asia, the disease has been accidentally introduced into America and Europe, where it has devastated native...

. Inosculation also sometimes occurs where two stems on the same tree, shrub or vine make contact with each other. This is common in plants such as strawberries
Garden Strawberry
The garden strawberry, Fragaria × ananassa, is a hybrid species that is cultivated worldwide for its fruit, the strawberry. The fruit is widely appreciated for its characteristic aroma, bright red color, juicy texture, and sweetness...

 and potato
Potato
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Solanaceae family . The word potato may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species...

.

Graft hybrids


Occasionally, a so-called "graft hybrid
Graft-chimaera
In horticulture, a graft-chimaera may arise in grafting at the point of contact between rootstock and scion and will have properties intermediate to those of its "parents". A graft-chimaera is not a true hybrid but a mixture of cells, each with the genotype of one of its "parents": it is a chimaera...

" can occur where the tissues of the stock continue to grow within the scion. Such a plant can produce flowers and foliage typical of both plants as well as shoots intermediate between the two. The best-known example this is probably +Laburnocytisus 'Adamii'
+Laburnocytisus 'Adamii'
+Laburnocytisus 'Adamii' is a horticultural curiosity; a small tree which is a graft-chimaera between two species, a laburnum, Laburnum anagyroides, and a broom, Chamaecytisus purpureus +Laburnocytisus 'Adamii' (also known as Adam's laburnum or broom laburnum) is a horticultural curiosity; a...

, a graft hybrid between laburnum
Laburnum
Laburnum is a genus of two species of small trees in the subfamily Faboideae of the pea family Fabaceae, Laburnum anagyroides and L. alpinum . They are native to the mountains of southern Europe from France to the Balkan Peninsula...

 and broom
Broom (shrub)
Brooms are a group of evergreen, semi-evergreen, and deciduous shrubs in the subfamily Faboideae of the legume family Fabaceae, mainly in the three genera Chamaecytisus, Cytisus and Genista, but also in many other small genera . All genera in this group are from the tribe Genisteae...

, which originated in a nursery
Nursery (horticulture)
A nursery is a place where plants are propagated and grown to usable size. They include retail nurseries which sell to the general public, wholesale nurseries which sell only to businesses such as other nurseries and to commercial gardeners, and private nurseries which supply the needs of...

 near Paris, France
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in 1825. This small tree bears yellow flowers typical of Laburnum anagyroides
Laburnum anagyroides
Laburnum anagyroides is a species of small deciduous trees or large shrubs up to 7 m tall in the genus Laburnum, native to Central and Southern Europe. It is a popular ornamental plant, along with the other species in the genus, L. alpinum, and especially the hybrid between them, L. × watereri. L...

, purple flowers typical of Chamaecytisus purpureus and curious coppery-pink flowers that show characteristics of both "parents".

Scientific uses


Grafting has been important in flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

ing research. Leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 or shoots from plants induced to flower can be grafted onto uninduced plants and transmit a floral stimulus that induces them to flower.

The transmission of plant virus
Plant virus
Plant viruses are viruses that affect plants. Like all other viruses, plant viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that do not have the molecular machinery to replicate without a host. Plant viruses are pathogenic to higher plants...

es has been studied using grafting. Virus indexing involves grafting a symptomless plant that is suspected of carrying a virus onto an indicator plant that is very susceptible to the virus.

Herbaceous grafting


Grafting is often done for non-woody
Woody plant
A woody plant is a plant that uses wood as its structural tissue. These are typically perennial plants whose stems and larger roots are reinforced with wood produced adjacent to the vascular tissues. The main stem, larger branches, and roots of these plants are usually covered by a layer of...

 and vegetable
Vegetable
The noun vegetable usually means an edible plant or part of a plant other than a sweet fruit or seed. This typically means the leaf, stem, or root of a plant....

 plants (tomato
Tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

, cucumber
Cucumber
The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The plant is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit when ripe. There are three main varieties of cucumber: "slicing", "pickling", and...

, eggplant and watermelon
Watermelon
Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind and fleshy center...

). Tomato grafting
Tomato grafting
Tomato Grafting has been utilized worldwide in Asia and Europe for greenhouse and high tunnel production and is gaining popularity in the United States. Typically, stock or rootstock are selected for their ability to resist infection by certain soilborne pathogens or their ability to increase vigor...

 is very popular in Asia and Europe, and is gaining popularity in the United States. The main advantage of grafting is for disease-resistant rootstocks. Researchers in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 developed automated processes using grafting robot
Robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

s as early as 1987.

History


Grafting with detached scions has been practiced for thousands of years. It was in use by the Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 before 2000 BC, and then spread to the rest of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

. The practice was almost commonplace in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. Without the development of grafting, heterosexual fruit trees such as apples and cherries would never have been domesticated, as their natural sexual reproductive method prevents useful genes from being passed on consistently.

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