The usual method of increasing plants, provided by nature, is by seeds. Seeds increase species, but as the peculiarities of varieties can rarely be perpetuated in the same manner, there arose the necessity of finding a method of increasing a variety so that its qualities would not be altered, and this can be accomplished by budding. The possibilities of grafting and budding however, have certain limitations. Those trees only which are allied to each other respond so that the budding operations can be successfully performed.
As a general rule, the seed, cone, nut and mast-bearing wood should be worked on each other, and unless the stock and scion or bud are nearly related (such as varieties of the same species, species of the same genera, genera of the same order) the result will be unsuccessful.
Budding is an operation by which a bud, together with a portion of the bark, is removed from a plant and inserted beneath the inner bark of another plant or beneath the bark of the same plant. The best time for budding is when the cambium or sap is flowing freely, allowing the bark to be easily raised from the wood. When the stock and the tree or bush, from which the bud is taken, are in that condition, the operation will be successful and the union of the bud with the stock most readily effected. If the bark adheres firmly to the wood, it shows that the flow of sap has been arrested and in that case budding should not be attempted.
In operating, take a shoot from the tree or bush (from which buds are to be worked) and immediately cut off the leaves within one inch of the stem; make a transverse incision in the stock, and, from the middle of this, make a longitudinal one. A bud should now be removed from the shoot by taking the shoot in the left hand and entering the knife about one-half inch below the bud, more or less, according to the size of the shoot and of the stock; with a clean, sloping cut pass the knife upward and inward till under the bud, and then slope outward so that the eye or bud may be nearly in the middle of the piece thus detached. In doing this, the knife will necessarily cut off a portion of the wood along with the bud; this should be removed. To do so, turn the surface upward, holding the piece between the forefinger and thumb of the left hand, enter the point of the knife between the inner bark and upper extremity of the wood, raise the extremity a little, so that it can be taken hold of between the point of the knife and the nail of the thumb, and then by a twitch remove the wood. Be careful to see that, along with the wood, the core of the bud is not also removed. If the core comes along with the wood the bud is unlikely to be a success, and another bud should be taken.
The bud is now ready for insertion. With the ivory handle of the budding knife, raise the bark of the stock at the incision before mentioned; commencing at the corners immediately below the cross-cut, slip in the handle of the knife gently and carefully avoiding any forcing or scratching of the wood or bark. When the bark is sufficiently raised to admit the bud, take the bud by the leaf stalk and gently insert it by the assistance of the ivory handle. Let the upper part of the bud be at the cross-cut of the stock so that the bud may fit closely to the upper edge of the cut. The operation, to be done well, should be done quickly, for the organizing tissue is very delicate and soon becomes injured by exposure.
The bud, after having been inserted, must be bound by fine matting or worsted, and, in doing this, care must be taken not to move the bud in any way which will cause friction and so injure the tissues below it. In tying, commence below the end of the incision and pass the tie closely round as far as the bud, keeping the bud close to the stock. Continue binding closely until reaching the cross incision; make one or two turns above the cross-cut and fasten the ends of the tie. The operation is now completed.
As soon as it has been ascertained that the bud has taken, the ties should be loosened and retied, to prevent the galling of the bud by the ties becoming too tight.
When the bud has become thoroughly established, which will be known by the bud swelling and beginning to make new growth, the stock must be cut back close to the bud. Should the bud make a strong, soft shoot it may be necessary to support it for a few weeks by tying the shoot to a stake until hard, firm growth is attained.
There are many other modes of budding, but the method described will be found the best for general use.