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​Why Are Tree Grafting Supplies Needed?

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In our most recent blog, we discussed the three primary tree grafting supplies that people need when they’re pairing scions to rootstocks. A dedicated, sharp knife is vital for creating clean cuts and harming the bark as little as possible. Tree wax is important to create a seal so that insects, bacteria, and viruses don’t invade. Biodegradable grafting tape keeps the scion and rootstock held together tightly until they can form a physical bond, literally growing together.

But why are tree grafting supplies needed? To graft, of course! But that brings up an important question: why does the process of tree grafting exist at all? Most people know of only one or two reasons that trees are grafted, some of which we mentioned at the link above. But we have come up with six good reasons to people need grafting tools and supplies.

Some Fruit Wouldn’t Exist Without Grafting

Approximately 200 years ago a mutation on an orange tree in Europe led to a seedless orange, the appeal of which was obvious for those who didn’t want to deal with picking out the seeds during breakfast.

Unfortunately, a lack of seeds also meant that there was no way to plant new trees. Grafting was the only means of making sure that this mutation was preserved, so branches (scions) were cut from that tree and transported to California where they were grafted onto other varieties of citrus trees (rootstock). As those new branches grew, scions were cut from them, meaning that every navel orange branch is genetically identical — a clone — of that very first tree.

A Tree Can Be Grafted To Pollinate “Itself”

Some plants do perfectly fine reproducing on their own, while others require a different plant in order to become pollinated. So if you own the only apple tree for miles around, it might never receive pollen from other trees and therefore never produce fruit. By grafting an opposite-gender scion onto a tree — whether at the nursery or even once it’s in the ground on your property — a tree is guaranteed to have a pollinating source very nearby.

Why the quote marks around “itself”? Well, technically the attached scion is part of the rootstock and is considered part of the tree. But it’s also genetically different, so in some ways it’s a completely different tree.

Scions Can Repair Damaged Trees

If you’ve spent years watching the tree in your front yard grow, it can be heartbreaking when it loses major limbs due to disease or damage. Scions can be added in order to fill out the empty space and encourage the tree to grow in a particular direction.

Rootstocks Can Bring Fruit Lower

Certain trees want to grow tall, which isn’t always the goal of orchards. After all, orchards want to get to every piece of fruit with as little effort as possible, because it increases their yield and makes picking faster. By grafting the scions onto rootstock that stays low to the ground, the shape and size of trees is kept under control.

Rootstocks Might Fight Off Problems Scions Can’t

If you’re wading through water and holding a cookie, you’ll probably hold that cookie high over your head in order to protect it.

This is just a strange way of illustrating the following point: rootstocks might be able to weather problems that a scion can’t. If the scion’s natural trunk and roots are susceptible to a particular soil-boil disease or fungus, they might be grafted onto rootstock that is better at fending off these problems.

Make A Tree!

Have you ever seen a fruit cocktail tree? If so, you’ve seen a tree that has been grafted. These trees have scions from different trees grafted to the rootstock so that a single tree can provide multiple kinds of fruit. These are great options for people with very little backyard to make use of.

Get Grafting!

Even if you never graft a tree in your life, we hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about the process. And if you’d like to get started grafting, check out our grafting tools and supplies right here!

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