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What does Grafted Mean?

Grafted Plants – Its Meaning Explained

Understanding the meaning of the word “grafted” helps to gain a better understanding of the value of grafted vegetable plants for growing commercial crops. Grafted plants in crop farming refer to plants that have been propagated from parts of different plants that have been joined together to form one plant. Its meaning is thus to join together with the intention of uniting the parts with the original plant, known as the rootstock, so the grafted plant is the combination of two or more parts of plants. A grafted seedling, meaning a seedling onto which a part of another plant has been joined, can be transplanted to the soil to grow as a single plant. To gain a better understanding, it is important to also understand the meaning of the words “rootstock” and “scion”. The rootstock is the lower part of the combined plant. It is the part onto which a part of another plant is transplanted – or grafted. The rootstock is also referred to as the under stock. It consists of the roots and often also the lower part of the stem. This forms the lower part of the grafted plant and provides the support for the upper part of the plant. The scion, meaning the upper part of the plant, is the part of the other plant that is joined to the rootstock, thus the “shoot” part of the rootstock. The scion consists of the main stem and its branches. Only the lower part of the grafted plant does not form part of the scion. The scion is the part of the plant from which the resulting plant gets its unique characteristics.

Grafting is well suited for mass production of plants that should ideally share uniform traits. The grafted plants have unique characteristics that enhance some of their abilities. For instance, they may have a particularly good ability to tolerate frost conditions or to produce larger fruits. Several such traits can be attained, such as a resistance to fungus, pests, heat, and more. The success of grafting is dependent on factors such as the plants’ closeness in taxonomic classification, the method of grafting that is used, and the scions that are joined with the rootstock. Enhanced rooting can also be attained. It is therefore nowadays possible to propagate vegetables such as eggplants, watermelons, and peppers from grafted seedlings.

With some plants having exceptional tolerance to specific viruses, it can be very ideal to use parts of these plants to join to a good rootstock, adding the tolerance traits to the rootstock. When therefore analysing the meaning of “grafted”, it soon becomes clear why this horticultural technique of joining plant tissue is used. For the purpose of large-scale vegetable propagation, one plant can be selected for its roots and the other plant for its superb fruit yield – and yet another for its disease tolerance. With the desired genes from one plant joined with the rootstock, it is possible to duplicate the future production of plants that exhibit the traits of the scion.

Grafting is done for several reasons, such as to improve plants’ disease resistance, hardiness of the roots, pest resistance in areas where soil-borne pathogens prevent the successful growth of a certain cultivar, changing of a cultivar, gaining genetic consistency, and improving the quality of vegetables. With many factors affecting the success of grafting, nurseries that apply the technique invest a lot in research to ensure the consistency of the desired traits. They research the compatibility of the scion with the rootstock to ensure successful outcomes.

Where to Order Already Grafted Seedlings

Farmers interested in propagating vegetables from grafted plants can order the seedlings from Hishtil SA.

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