Grafting is a central step in the work we do in our projects worldwide. In this part of "Treedom Explained", we explain to you what it means and why we do it.
To give the short version: Grafting describes the process of transplanting a part of a plant to another plant. What may sound spectacular is actually quite simple and natural, and people have been practising it for a considerable time.
Instead of wasting too many words at this juncture though, we'd rather let the real experts explain it. Here, some participants from one of our projects in Thika (Kenya) show you how it's done: Sarah Kihara and Nehemiah Mihindo from our partner IPM Alliance.
Understood everything so far? Well, then let's take a quick look at the reasons in favour of this method of cultivation.
Conservation of traits
To understand why grafting is so important, it is worth looking at what normally happens in nature. If you grow plants and only take the seeds that have arisen through normal generative propagation and pollination, you quickly realise that offspring with exactly the same characteristics are extremely rare.
Species change – it's natural. However, when cultivating a species for its special characteristics, we try to preserve it. Grafting makes it possible to preserve certain characteristics of the original variety. Grafted plants always consist of a scion (the original species) and a rootstock (a local plant).
Have you ever wondered how it is possible to preserve fruit or wine varieties that are hundreds of years old? The answer is grafting.
Grafting has other benefits too: it can shorten the time it takes for a plant to bear fruit. As described by Sarah in the video, this aspect is extremely important, especially in the agricultural sector. This is because a faster harvest also means faster income for the people growing the plants. Would you like an example? Melons can have up to 75% more yield when grafted. This economic impact is particularly important for our work. We also respect local biodiversity and only plant species that occur naturally in the project region.
As you can see, there are good reasons for grafting. If you want to delve even deeper into this complex topic, you will find a good starting point here.
Sound exciting? If you, too, want to plant a tree, you can do so here. You can also find Treedom Explained Part 1 and Part 2 here on our blog.