Gardening Articles


Grafting is a simple art, that both old and young should become acquainted with and be able to perform. In my garden there had stood, for a number of years, away in a corner by itself, a wild apple tree, which had sprung

up from the seed; it always bore fruit, but of a worthless character, so sour and insipid that even the swine refused to devour it when it was thrown to them. I became tired of seeing this tree, and resolved to change its nature. I went to work, being a nurseryman, and procured cions of ten or a dozen different sorts of apple trees, and took the first favorable opportunity in the spring to graft my old and useless apple tree. When I had finished grafting, I found that I had inserted here and there on the different branches, fifty cions, all of which, with the exception of three, lived, grew, bore fruit, each "after its own kind," Baldwins, Greenings, Gravensteins, Spitzenbergs, etc., and it is now the most desirable tree in the garden; I completely transformed the nature of the tree. Any one who understands grafting can do the same thing. Apple, Pear, Plum, and Cherry trees can be successfully top-grafted in the manner spoken of above, and the month of April is the best time to perform the operation. The outfit necessary to perform the operation of grafting is a small hand-saw, a hatchet, a wedge, grafting-knife, and wax to cover the wound. If the tree be a large one, and you wish to change the sort entirely, begin by sawing off all those limbs that, being removed, will leave enough to graft upon, and not spoil the symmetry of the tree. With the hand-saw saw off the limbs to be grafted about midway, then with the hatchet or wedge, cleave an opening in the remaining end of the limb, and entirely across, and deep enough to receive the cion; insert an iron in the cut to hold it open until the cion is placed, then withdraw the iron, and the graft will be held fast. The cions to be inserted should be cut before ascending the tree to graft, and, together with the wax, can be carried in a small basket for the purpose. If the diameter of the limb to be grafted is more than an inch, it is best to insert two grafts, placed so that each cion will stand near the edge of the cut, in juxtaposition with the bark of the limb. Immediately after setting the graft, plaster the cut over with a heavy coat of wax, being careful to leave no crack or crevice open through which it would be possible for air or water to enter. Each cion, in wedge-grafting, is cut in the shape of a wedge; the whole cion need not be over three to four inches in length. The following is a good receipe for making grafting-wax: One and a half pound of bees-wax, six pounds of resin, and one and a half pound rough beef tallow; put all into a pot, and boil one half hour, keeping it stirred; pour it out into a tub of cold water, and when it is sufficiently stiff it should be gathered into balls. When wanted for use the balls should be laid in warm water, which will readily soften the wax; work the wax with the hands thoroughly before using. Wedge-grafting is by no means the only way to graft, although it is about the only method of grafting large trees. There are from ten to twenty other modes of grafting, the difference being in the manner of cutting the cion, and in fitting it to the stock. To go into detail in regard to them would occupy too much space in these limited pages. Any one, with a little practice, can learn to cut a cion, and to graft with success.

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