Veneer Grafting Procedure; Steps; Advantages

Veneer Grafting


What is Veneer grafting? Veneer grafting, or Inlay grafting, is a technique used for stock larger than 3 cm in diameter. The scion is recommended to be regarded as thick as a pencil. Clefts are prepared of the same size as the scion on the side of the branch, not on top. The scion end is shaped like a wedge, inserted, and wrapped with tape to the scaffolding branches to provide it more strength. May alternatively be defined as a rind graft or a bark graft.

At one time the side-veneer graft was a popular method for grafting varieties of camellias and rhododendrons that are difficult to root. Currently, it is the most popular method to graft conifers, especially those having a compact or dwarf form. Side-veneer grafting is generally done on potted rootstock.

This is the most widely used technique. A small portion of the wood is removed from the rootstock as low down as probable to reduced suckering, leaving a small veneer at the base of the cut. The scion is cut, matched & firmly tied into the rootstock. This Veneer grafting technique used trees are Abies (Fir), Acer (Maple), Betula (Birch), Picea (Spruce), and Pinus (Pine).

Things needed for Veneer grafting:

The things required for Veneer grafting is as follows;

  • A grafting knife.
  • Rootstock & scion of the same size, a quarter up to a half inch thick. Scion has at least 3 healthy buds.
  • String, a budding rubber, or related tight binding
  • Plastic tape
  • Sealing wax, a bed of moist sphagnum, or extra moisture control

Selecting and handling scion wood:

The best quality scion wood generally comes from shoots grown the previous season. Scions must be severed with sharp, clean shears and placed immediately in moistened burlap or plastic bags. It is good practice during the harvesting of scions & the making of grafts to clean the cutting tools regularly. This may be completed by flaming or immersing them in a sterilizing solution. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol works as a sterilant, although it evaporates quite readily. An alternative sterilizing solution can be prepared by mixing one part household bleach to nine parts water. However, this bleach solution can be extremely corrosive to certain metals.

For best results, harvest as much scion wood as can be used for grafting during the same day. Select healthy scion wood that is free from insect, disease, or winter damage. Be sure the stock plants are of good quality, healthy, & true to type. Scion wood that is frozen at harvest often knits more slowly & in a lower percentage. If large quantities of scion wood should be harvested at one time, follow these steps:

  • Cut all scions to a uniform length, maintain their basal ends together, and tie them in bundles of a known quantity.
  • Label them, recording the cultivar, date of harvest, & location of the stock plant.
  • Wrap the base of the bundles in moistened burlap or sphagnum, place them in waterproof paper bags, and seal the bags.
  • Store the bundles for small periods, if necessary, either iced down in insulated coolers or in a commercial storage unit at 32° to 34°F.
  • Never store scions in refrigerated units where fruits are currently kept or have been stored recently. Stored fruits & vegetables release ethylene gas, which can cause woody plant buds to abort, making the scions useless.
  • Keep the scions from freezing through storage.

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Veneer grafting steps:

The Steps required for Veneer grafting is as follows;

Sharpen your knife: When you cut with a dull knife you increase the force you apply, which will increase the risk of slipping. A dull knife is more probable to turn as it passes through the wood, making a wavy cut.

Make the first rootstock cut: Create a straight cut straight down into the rootstock, stopping when halfway across its thickness. Your cut must be an inch to 1 1/2 inches long & pass through internodes, a smooth segment of the stem. The bottom of the cut must stop just above the crown of the plant. Remove your knife.

Make the second rootstock cut: Make a small cut down & across the grain, just above the rootstock crown, to free the piece you just cut and make a notch for the scion base to rest in.

Make corresponding cuts in the Scion: The base of the scion must be angled to fit in the stock notch, a semicircle in cross-section. Its thickness & length should be the same as the removed stock piece so that the faces match.

Check that these cuts match: Place these cuts against each other now & see that they line up well, the bottom of the scion sitting on the stock platform and nesting there. When placed against each other, there must not be air gaps or exposed inner wood. If there is a problem correct it if possible, or discard the scion & try again with a new one of compatible size.

Place the scion and stock together & tie the graft well: There must be minimal or no air space between the pieces of wood. If the thicknesses are somewhat different, do not center the scion. Rather offset it to make sure one of the two sides line up easily. This graft depends completely on a tight tie with tape, so do this well, never releasing tension as you wrap; this can be tricky. If the pieces slip apart, just create tying again.

Seal the graft by applying sealing wax to the wrapped union, or place the graft in a bed of peat moss you will stay moistened.

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How to make a Veneer Grafting?

In the Veneer grafting procedure, use trunks or side limbs 1 1/2″ to 3 1/2″ in diameter. Leave 1 or 2 side branches below cut to keep the tree vigorous, to protect from sunscald and to keep graft from overgrowing. Cut straight across the trunk to limb with the sharp saw at a point above a section where the limb is straight. Choose a section of stock with a flat surface so the flat cut surface of graft stick will fit securely.

Cut a clean, protect by removing a thin layer of the rough outer bark. Depart the bark as thick as possible so as to hold the graft securely. Collect graft wood of desired variety in late February or early March month while the tree is dormant. Secure one year wood, 1/4″ to 1/2″ in diameter. Can utilize wood up to 3/4″ in diameter. Choose smooth, straight wood with 2 or 3 plump buds at each node.

Pack graft wood in a polyethylene bag, egg, can or wooden box with a moist material such as sphagnum moss, or shavings. Store as near 32°F as probable. Maintain graft wood in cold storage until the day it is used. Cut the graft stick with 2 or 3 strong buds & at least 6 inches long for easy handling. Use a knife as illustrated with a grating blade. Start the cut about 3 inches from the bottom of the graft on the opposite side & a little below the lowest bud. This “insurance bud” is in a reserve situation.

A slanting shoulder of 1/4″ to 1/2″ long will allow the graft to be located in an upright position. The slanting cut extends about half the distance through the graft stick, the remaining level cut is the similar thickness of the edge of the shoulder to the end of the graft stick. Make the entire surface of cut smooth & level. Avoid a wavy surface. Turn the graft stick over & make a chisel-shaped cut about 1/2″ to 1/4″ long on the back side of the lower end. This makes it easier to insert graft & provides a more uniting surface.

Place cut surface of graft besides shaved shield on the stock. Allow 1/4″ to 1/2″ cut surface shoulder to expand above the stock. Hold graft firmly standing with the left thumb. Start cut at top of stock on the right side of the graft. Cut during bark down to the wood. Draw the knife blade straight down the right side to within 1/2″ to 2/4″ of the bottom section of the graft. Create cut straight into the bark Do not angle the cut inward. Hold graft firmly at a location with a thumb of right hand. Do not allow the graft to go after first side cut is made. Catch graft with first 3 fingers of left hand & hold in exact position. Make the cut on the left side of the graft like to the cut on the right side.

Two parallel cuts during bark form an inlay pattern. This inlay pattern must be exactly the same size as the lower section of the graft. Press the flap of bark beside the graft with the thumb of the right hand to hold the graft firmly in the inlay slot. Relate firm pressure on top of the graft to force it into inlay slot. Push graft into the inlay slot until the 1/4″ to 1/2″ cut outside of the shoulder is above the top of the stock. This cambium around the bark of cut surface will form a callus roll that will cover the top of the stock & anchor the graft securely to the stock. Eliminate about half of the flap of bark with the grafting knife.

Fold each side of the separated end of the square of aluminum foil. Cover all cut surfaces with the foil, with the overlapping shoulder of the graft. Cut off one corner of a quart-size polyethylene bag to make a hole at that point. Slip the bag over the graft & work the graft through the hole. Pull the bag down gently until the cut corner rests below the “insurance bud.” Tie the polyethylene bag at the cut corner around the graft. Tie with a rubber band, small rubber budding polyethylene tape, so that the graft will not suffer girdling damage.

Attach the lower end of the polyethylene bag around the stock. Use polyethylene tape, plastic electrical tape, or a large rubber budding strip to protect the lower end of the bag. Use the shellac from a closed container with a paintbrush with a dauber, or from a plastic dispenser bottle with a flip spout.

A veneer grafted citrus tree.
A veneer grafted citrus tree.

Securing the Graft:

Hold the scion in place with a rubber grafting strip, tape, or grafting twine. Seal the entire graft area with warm grafting wax or paint. Eliminate the rubber or twine shortly after the union has healed. Not at all allow the binding material to girdle the stem.

Benefits/Advantages of  Veneer Grafting:

  • Grafted trees generate fruit quicker. A tree grown from seed may take 8 to 10 years to fruit, but a grafted tree will only take 2-4 years.
  • A tree grown from seed may create poor tasting fruit. Veneer grafting is completed to improve the taste and size of the fruit.
  • A tree grown from seed may not make fruit the same as the tree the seed came from. But a grafted tree will be just as excellent as the tree the cutting came from.
  • A grafted tree will continue to provide the same quality fruit for many years.
  • Grafted fruit trees can be sold to provide an income to the household.
  • By producing own seedlings and fruit, you save money.
  • Seedlings can be produced locally, saving time in point for the right fruit trees to plant.

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