Grafting is not a subject I would normally advise you to get involved in. The reason for producing a grafted tree is to impart the growth characteristics of the root stock onto the scion. Grafting is used almost excusively in the production of fruit trees where the producer may wish to make a tree that only grows to a height of say 10ft, but produces a normal crop of fruit, this could be achieved by grafting the scion onto a dwarfing rootstock.

The only time you are likely to encounter a grafted tree in Bonsai is if you buy such a tree for conversion, or with some Pine and Maples verieties that do better on a more vigourous rootstock, White pine (Pinus parviflora) is put onto the more robust black pine roots.

Grafting has its place in Bonsai if you should need to replace a branch that has died or to put one where it would enhance the shape of the tree.

In the illustration to the right, the tree (a) would benifit from a branch in the area indicated by the red arrow, (b) shows the ideal tree. Tree (c) shows a shoot allowed to extend and (d) the branch in position.

the branch should then be left for a couple of years, to allow the graft to take. When you are sure the graft is ok, remove the unwanted section of the original shoot.

you may then begin to develop the branch.

Soon after collecting this Hornbeam I realised that the lower trunk was mainly scar tissue, most of the original bark had been chewed by rabbits. There were a few buds low down on the trunk. These were allowed to grow on and at the right time, prior to the leaves opening, holes were drilled through the trunk and the shoots passed through the holes, One year later the branches had swollen and the graft was complete. I left the tree for another year before removing the unwanted parts of the original shoots.

Here we see the tree in 2002. The grafts have taken and the branches are now developing.

Passing the shoot through the tree is, of course is only possible with deciduous trees, conifers will need to have a notch cut in the trunk and the shoot attatched firmly, with perhaps a staple, into that notch.

All foliage and buds should be removed in those areas that will end up inside the hole drilled for the shoot to pass through.


Flap Grafting

The foliage of this branch on a cascade pine was too far from the trunk. I decided that, by  grafting it furthur back along it's path it would improve the tree. This may take a few years to achieve but will be worth the wait.

A strip of bark was cut back, the branch inserted under the strip and the whole area wrapped (tightly) with plastic tape.


Here we see such a graft, this time on a Maple. The wound has healed and when I'm sure the graft has taken, I'll remove the branch coming in from the right and allow the branch to develop.

Allen. C. Roffey 11:15 02/07/2005