The side graft is one of the techniques used in bench grafting onto pot-grown rootstocks. In this technique the scion is placed on the side of the rootstock, the cuts are made and matching done so that the scion arises at about a 30º angle from the vertical stem of the rootstock. This leaves a portion of rootstock stem that is referred to as the "sap drawer". The purpose of the sap drawer is to regulate the flow of sap past the union, preventing in this way the sap accumulation with the consequently loss of the graft by "flooding of the union".Side Grafting Technique
Different Side Grafts Techniques
This is the most widely used technique. A small portion of wood is removed from the rootstock as low down as possible to reduced suckering, leaving a small veneer at the base of the cut. The scion is cut, matched and firmly tied into the rootstock. This technique is used for Abies (Fir), Acer (Maple), Betula (Birch), Picea ( Spruce), Pinus (Pine).
This technique differs from the side veneer graft in that no tissue is removed from the rootstock. A thin flap consisting of rind and a thin silver of tissue remains attached to the base of the rootstock. On the scion two slightly sloping cuts are made, so that it can be matched and callused on two sides.
The main reason for using this technique is because it provides additional cambial contact. One negative effect is that cutting the scion on both sides results in a greater tendency to expose the pith, which encourages drying out of the scion. This technique is used for species with thin flexible bark where all tissue elements can be retained in the flap, for example, Cedrus (Cedar), some Juniperus (Juniper) and ericaceuos plants.
This technique is more widely used in Europe, for rootstocks with larger caliper than the scion. A flap is made but it differs from the side wedge graft in that one side remains attached to the rootstock. In the scion two adjacent sloping cuts are made so that they taper to a point. This gives a three-dimensional effect to the base of the cutting. Then the scion is placed behind the flap of the rootstock. It is useful for Chamaecyparis (False Cypress), Juniperus (Juniper), Taxus (Yew) and compact forms of Picea (Spruce) and Abies (Fir).
They must be capable of uniting.
The cut surfaces should be held together tightly. Rapid development of the graft union is necessary so that the scion may be supplied with water and nutrients from the rootstock by the time the buds start to open.
It means that the scion buds are usually dormant, while at the same time the cut tissues at the graft union are capable of producing the callus tissue necessary for healing of the graft. The rootstock plant may be dormant or in active growth, depending upon the grafting method used.
The graft union should be covered with tape, grafting wax, Parafilm tape, or placed the grafts in moist material or covered grafting frame.
The shoots growing from the rootstock below the graft will often obstructed the desired growth from the scion. In some cases the scion will grow so vigorously that they break off unless staked and tied or cut back.
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