Grafting is the taking a shoot from one tree and inserting it into another, in such a manner that both may unite closely, and become one tree. These shoots are called scions or grafts, and in the choice of them, and the mode of preparing some descriptions of stocks, the following hints will be useful:
Those scions are best which are taken from the lateral or horizontal, rather than from the strong perpendicular shoots. The shoots of Apples, etc, should be taken from healthy trees late in autumn, or before the buds begin to swell in the spring, and buried half of their length in the ground, or in a cool and dry cellar; there to remain until the season of grafting.
For some descriptions of trees, the stocks are headed down near to the ground. In nurseries, Apples intended for standards are generally grafted about nine inches high only, allowing them to grow up standard high, and forming their heads upon the second year's shoots. In cider countries, the stock is generally trained up standard high; and when grown sufficiently large for the purpose, it is grafted at the height at which it is intended the head of the tree shall be formed. As respects trees in general, directions will be found under their appropriate heads.
This mode of grafting is generally practised on stocks of from one to two inches in diameter, and may be performed in the following manner: Let the head of the stock be carefully sawed off at a part free from knots, and the top pared smooth; then with a thin knife split down the stock through the centre to the depth of about two inches, and insert a wedge to keep it open for the reception of the scion. The scion must be prepared in the form of a wedge, with an eye, if possible, in the upper part, and inserted carefully, so that the inner bark of the scion and of the stock may both exactly meet. Large stocks require two scions, one on each side, and sometimes four are inserted. When done, tie them firmly together with bass, and then cover the grafted part with well-prepared clay, in an oval form, and close it securely.
This mode is sometimes practised on those parts of a tree where a limb is wanting. There are two ways in which it may be performed. 1st. The scion may be prepared in the same manner as for splice grafting, and the bark and wood on the side of the stock cut sloping; the scion being then adjusted as carefully as possible, it must be bound on and covered with clay. 2d. The scion being cut sloping, a cross-cut is to be made in the side of the tree on the top of a perpendicular slit; the bark of a tree above the cross-cut must be pared down slanting to the wood, and the bark raised as in budding; the scion being then inserted, it must be bound fast, and covered with clay.
This mode is often practised on small stocks, and it succeeds best when the scion and stock are of an equal size. The scion, which should consist of young wood of the former year's growth, may be cut to the length of about four inches. This and the stock are each to be cut sloping, for an inch or more, and tongued. Tongueing consists in cutting a slit in the middle of the slope of the stock downward, and a corresponding slit in the scion upward; both are now to be joined, so that one of the sides, if not both, shall perfectly coincide, and then securely bound with bass matting, and covered with grafting clay or composition. As soon as the scion and stock are completely united, the bass string may be removed.
The celebrated Mr. Knight practised this mode of grafting on very small stocks. The upper part of the stock is prepared in the form of a wedge, by two sloping cuts, one on each side. The scion is prepared by slitting it upward, and paring out the middle part on each side to a point. When the stock and scion are of equal size, the adjustment may be made perfect; but if unequal, one side must exactly meet. The whole is secured by a string of bass matting, and covered with composition or clay; but the string must be removed as soon as a perfect union has taken place.
This operation is often performed on Grape vines, just below the level of the surface, by the usual mode of cleft grafting. It is also performed on portions or pieces of root, where suitable stocks are scarce.
The trees, or shrubs, to be grafted in this mode, must be growing very near to those which are to furnish the grafts. The limbs or branches of each tree, which are thus to be united, must be pared with a long sloping cut of several inches, nearly to the centre; and the parts of each tree thus prepared are to be brought together, and finally secured by a bandage of matting, so that the bark shall meet as nearly as possible. The graft may then be covered with clay or composition; and when a complete union has taken place, the trees or shrubs may be separated with a sharp knife, by cutting off below the junction.
It may be here observed that, as young grafted trees it the nursery progress in growth, the lower side-limbs should be gradually shortened, but not suddenly close-pruned they are essential for a time to strengthen the trunks, and to the upright and perfect formation of the tree.