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Grafting Plants

Grafting Plants for Crop Farming in South Africa

Grafting plants for crop farming is not a new practice. In fact, many European countries, as well as Japan and South Korea, have been doing large-scale grafting of plants for commercial-farming purposes for a long time now. Grafting is may often be referred to as an artificial way to grow plants.  

Grafting plants is a technique whereby the parts of two plants are joined to create a stronger plant with the unique characteristics of both the plants of which it is made up. The scion from one plant is transplanted to a groove made in the stem of the rootstock plant. In this way, it is possible to get the best characteristics of both plants using the technique of grafting. As such, a grafted plant is one that consists of parts from two – or even more – plants.

The two words that always come up in the conversation when one talks about grafting plants are “scion” and “rootstock”. The scion is the shoot, or the bud, that is joined to the rootstock. This part forms the main section of the rootstock shoot once the plant is mature. It is a stem and branches or leaves. Only the rootstock section does not form part of the scion. The scion is what determines the characteristics of the plant’s leaves, fruits, seeds, and flowers. In-depth research thus goes into the selection of the correct scion to be transplanted to the rootstock.

The rootstock is the lower part of the grafted plant. It is the part to which the scion is transplanted. This part of the plant has the roots and the lower stem of the new plant. The rootstock provides the characteristics of the root system and the support for the upper part of the grafted plant. When grafting plants, the grower joins the scion to the rootstock. The scion initially consists mostly of part of a plant stem

Grafting plants is therefore the technique and science of joining plants together. This is done for purposes such as higher production, more resistance to specific pests, better fruit quality, improved frost or temperature tolerance, etc. The technique thus aims to ensure better-quality plants for crop farming. Such plants frequently provide for better yields, crop stand, and uniformity of the plants.

Grafted seedlings for commercial crop farming are available from Hishtil SA in Mooketsi and the Western Cape.

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