CORVALLIS, Ore. – Most plants multiply from seeds following germination and seedling development. Others reproduce when their parts – stems, roots or leaves – are combined with another plant to encourage growth as a unified plant.
The process is called grafting and budding. The resulting plants from these vegetative (asexual) combinations are called clones and are identical to the parent plant.
An updated publication available through the Extension offices of Oregon State University, Washington State University and University of Idaho describes in an 18-page illustrated book why gardeners and growers graft and bud, and how to do it. "Propagation of Plants by Grafting and Budding, PNW 496" is available online free of charge.
In grafting, a piece of stem containing three to four vegetative buds is inserted into the stem of the plant that will be the root system for the unified plant. For budding, or bud grafting, a single vegetative bud on a stem is excised and attached to the stem of the rootstock. It is called a budded plant and is preferred when plant material is in limited supply.
"The major objective of grafting or budding is to multiply plants identical (true to type) to the parent plant," said G.N.M. Kumar, an associate professor department of horticulture and landscape architecture at WSU. "Although other methods of propagation are simpler, grafting and budding in plants such as fruit trees are used commonly to repair damaged plants or derive certain benefits from root stocks, he said."
In certain cases, grafting and budding can allow cultivation of fruit varieties when climate or soil in the area to be planted are not favorable to start new trees, Kumar said. "Grafting and budding can allow us to change the out-dated variety of a well-established orchard. This will be more economical than establishing a new orchard."
The booklet describes factors that affect success of grafting or budding and provides information on grafting and budding methods, best season to propagate and tools and materials required to achieve success in grafting and budding.