When talking about fruit trees it is important to know that they are usually made up of two different parts. One is the root, which is known as rootstock or pattern, and the other is the variety, which in this case is the one that provides the fruit. Both parties are united by grafting, a topic we want to talk about on this occasion.
What are fruit grafts and what are they for?
As we have already said, the graft is formed by both the pattern and the variety, therefore, grafting simply consists of joining or inserting a part of one plant into another, thus allowing them to be joined and develop forming a single plant. It is worth mentioning that this practice of grafting has been carried out since ancient times, so that different fruit varieties of great interest have been transmitted from generation to generation.
It is important to understand that the mere propagation of the seed does not produce the desired variety, as it does not faithfully generate its characteristics as a result of the disintegration of its genetic traits. Grafting, on the other hand, offers a series of benefits that include, for example:
- Propagating a variety or species that otherwise could not be achieved or at least would be very complicated to achieve.
- Benefit from the characteristics of certain patterns that are capable of vegetating in certain areas where the crop has no opportunity to subsist on its own.
- Another advantage of fruit grafts is that they allow you to change a variety for a more commercial one, something known as reinjertation.
- It allows to grow varieties of fruit trees that are sensitive to root or neck diseases, using more resistant patterns.
The fundamental objective of grafting in fruit trees is to allow the multiplication of a variety or a mutation of the yolk or seed, maintaining its characteristics because with the grafts there is no disintegration of the same. Grafting is used to propagate species that do not have the capacity to produce viable seeds under certain environmental conditions. They are also used in species that produce very few seeds or in species that do not have a partial or total tolerance to propagation by stakes.
Many times fruit grafts are also used when you want to adapt the trees to different conditions of both climate and soil.
Conditions that a fruit graft must meet for it to work
There are certain requirements or conditions that must be met for a fruit graft to work and offer us the desired results.
- Both variety and pattern necessarily have to be compatible. In other words, they must have the ability to come together and form a single plant.
- Both the variety and the pattern must also come from the same healthy plant material, therefore they must not present any type of diseases and must also be completely free of viruses.
- In the case of the cambium or generative zone, which is the area that is located under the bark, the pattern, as well as the variety, must be in full contact.
In addition, the grafting has to be done in the right season so that both the variety and the pattern are in a suitable physiological state to carry out the vegetative activity. If difficulties are found in separating the bark, this is usually an indicator that the season for grafting is not adequate.
Right after grafting, all cut areas should be carefully protected using plastic tape or protective paste. This is done with the intention of preventing desiccation, as well as to prevent infections in the tissues of the plant.
Finally, the grafts should also be cared for and regularly checked until the variety grows sufficiently. At this point, the sprouts of the partron must be eliminated, as well as the sprout of the variety.
How are fruit grafts classified?
Currently there are different types of fruit grafts that in practice do not offer much benefit, while others have slight differences between them. Two different types of vegetative material are generally used:
- The one-year-old barb or piece of branch with 2 or 3 buds
- The yolk with or without wood attached, depending on the type of graft
It is worth mentioning that the most practical fruit grafts and that in fact are the most recommended, are for example the barb grafts, including the cleft, the crown, the side or the English. If the execution season is taken into account, fruit grafts can be classified into:
- Spring fruit grafts, which are all barb grafts, in addition to the plate and chip.
- Fruit grafts of late summer, which in this case are mainly the escudete and the chip.
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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.