The grafts of fruit trees are used as methods of multiplication and reproduction in a great variety of plants and trees, being very effective in this type of trees. In general, the process of grafting consists of making a cut in a branch and inserting it into another tree. However, in practice, this process is much more complex and there are different techniques to ensure that the graft is a success and the fruit tree continues to grow and bear fruit.
If you want to know well how to make grafts of fruit trees, keep reading this article in which we tell you two techniques and more details.
What is a graft in gardening, horticulture and agriculture
Before starting to talk about the techniques for grafting fruit trees , it is necessary to know the reason for this process and its objective. As we mentioned, a graft is used as a method of multiplication and reproduction of a tree . In this case we define a graft as a piece or piece of the bud or stem of a tree that we fix to a pattern (which is the plant that will receive the graft) in order to produce leaves, flowers, fruits and stems. A graft is not always carried out for commercial purposes to obtain larger fruits, more resistant plants or even self-pollinating varieties.
Before making a graft, we must know the compatibilities between the different fruit trees to increase the probability that the graft will develop well. That is, you cannot insert any branch in any fruit tree you want. It is advisable to make grafts on trees that are of the same family, for example, a variety of orange on another orange tree. The usual thing is to choose a pattern to make the graft that is as resistant as possible to diseases and that develops well on the soil in which we are going to plant it.
There are different types and techniques of grafting such as bud, groin or approximation techniques , but the most widely used is the double cleft or crown technique . The technique will depend on the objective to be achieved with the graft and the time. For example, those of yolk are usually made closer to the spring season. You can also perform multiple grafts on the same pattern.
As an example, the vast majority of fruit trees are produced by grafting buds of the desired variety onto a cultivated stock. If we look closely, we can see a small bulge or curvature at the point where the bud was grafted. That is, a vast majority of fruit trees are actually roots of one species of tree and the trunk or buds of another. There are some varieties that do not need to be grafted, such as olive or fig. On the other hand, the rose bushes that we buy are usually grafted and many ornamental plants such as mimosa or cypress, are also grafted.
Steps to graft fruit trees
The basic steps to graft a fruit tree are:
- Cut the branch of the tree to be grafted when it begins to develop the first shoots. Do it at an approximate 45 degree angle.
- Pair or join two branches cut by means of an electrical tape or a graft tape. The pairing must be done with force, without being so excessive as to cut off the circulation in the branches.
- Cover the graft with a paper bag or other material to protect it from rain, excessive sunlight, or insects.
- Wait 3-4 weeks for the branches to grow together.
- When we see that the branches have already grown well and enough, it will be time to remove the paper bag, the rubber bands and the graft tape, leaving the branches to grow on their own from now on.
Double cleft grafting in fruit trees
Double cleft grafting is one of the oldest grafting techniques and is currently the most widely used in horticulture. It is usually used to change the variety of a tree or to rejuvenate an aging tree . Usually, this graft is usually applied to trees with a trunk diameter that does not exceed 10 centimeters and the time when it is usually done is during winter.
To make a double cleft graft on a fruit tree , the following steps are followed:
- Prepare two branches with a bevel on both sides.
- Make a clean and straight cut in the master tree and a longitudinal cut.
- Insert the two cut branches of our graft into the slit made in the master tree, one on each side. These must be adjusted so that their outer barks contact the bark of the master tree.
- Tie everything together and untie them as soon as the buds have started to sprout and are between 5 and 10 centimeters long.