Morrisville State College

 

 

Grafting, 1 + 1 = New

by Amber Wilsey 07

 Students in horticulture program here at Morrisville State College learn various techniques and skills for propagation such as grafting. What is grafting you might ask well the official definition could go something like this:

 

Grafting is a method of plant propagation widely used in horticulture, where the conductive tissues of one plant are encouraged to fuse with those of another.

In simpler terms, one plant part such as a bud or a shoot root is secured to another plants vascular tissue. This encourages the two plant tissues to grow together and presto you have two different plants growing as one.

Sometimes grafts happen naturally in the wild between to trees or shrubs of the same family that have been placed too close together. This can be very useful for fruit growers. Did you know that most of the apples and pears you eat have been grafted to a different apple or pears root stock? This is done to allow the desired fruit to grow in a habitat that it might not be possible. These methods are also useful in flower production.

We spend considerable in Plant Propagation, HORT 201, we spend a lot of time working with hibiscus plants which are tough and can take some student abuse. Hibiscuses have a growing season that lasts all year unlike apples and other woody plants. There also fast growers so it takes just a few weeks to get the results, not months! We use a bud or small twig from one hibiscus to serve as the scion. Then we pick another plant to serve as the root stock. Usually the two plants have different colored flowers so that the end result is something more colorful and beautiful than the original.

 

In the end it is the student’s technique and attention to detail that determines the graft’s ultimate success.

 

 

 

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