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Plants/weeds for grafting practice?

Posted by slopfrog 9b - Brevard Co, FL (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 3, 11 at 15:21

I want to practice grafting techniques, but I have never done it. Are there any common wild plants in the south that are useful to practice on?

Can I just go to the side of the road, find two small trees of the same species, and start trying to graft them together? (i.e., cut off the tops of both and switch them.) Or will it only work for certain species?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Plants/weeds for grafting practice?

Are there any common wild plants in the south that are useful to practice on? Grafting is for woody plants, like trees and shrubs. I find baby oak (and other) trees all over the yard. This is the time of year stuff will start going on clearance. You can often find some $1 trees and shrubs. Since they are already in a pot, I'd say that's worth $1.

Can I just go to the side of the road, find... I think it would be illegal and extremely hard to dig in a place like that. The roots would be totally enmeshed with grass and other weed roots, too, I would think.

Or will it only work for certain species? Yes. Here is a list of species known to graft well (scroll down to "species options.") Grafting plants into interesting shapes is called arborsculpture, which may also interest you.

Not all species respond to the same grafts in the same way. A bit of research to know which type of graft to try with whatever types you find to try would be a good idea.

RE: Plants/weeds for grafting practice

Have you started any experiments?

RE: Plants/weeds for grafting practice?

Not yet. I am planning on trying to graft a red maple to a sycamore. Both are growing in my yard and I think it should work. If not, I will just try removing some suckers from the trees and grafting them back on in a different place.

If it will ever stop raining, that is!

Re: RE: Plants/weeds for grafting practice?

At least I've always heard that sycamores and maples were closely related... after looking on Wikipedia I am not so sure. Guess we will find out!

Oh, I checked the clearance plants and no dice. I did find a bunch of cacti, and I know they are often grafted but I want to focus my technique on woody plants.

RE: Plants/weeds for grafting practice?

Sounds like you're having fun with it. I also remembered how people make fruit trees with several different fruits. That might be something to look into.

Red maples and American sycamores are not closely related since they part ways at the "family" level. The easiest way I know to find info like that is USDA plants database, where the linked words go. You get the genetic classification at the bottom, and the map shows where it is known to grow. At the top, to the left of the pic (if there is one,) it gives the status of native vs. introduced for North America, broken down into Canada vs. L48 (lower 48 US states.) Wiki is hit-or-miss for plant info, but for some plants they do have great, in-depth articles.

If both of these trees are growing in your yard, there are surely some baby trees sprouting up also. Have you considered potting up some of those to grow bigger for future experiments? Just dig up the biggest chunk of dirt around the roots that you can fit in the pot, add extra soil as needed to fill. This might be a good time to mention that potted trees can't be set directly on the ground for extended periods. The roots will grow right through the drain holes and into the ground.

I don't blame you for not wanting to graft cactus - OUCH! I think the cacti at all of the stores are the same ones that have always been there since they opened. I know there are folks who love these, I'm j/k 'cuz I'm just not a bit interested in them and slopfrog is right. No matter what plants you were looking for - which they don't usually have - those prickly green blobs are sitting there, taking up so much of the plant display space... where you know the plants you *did* want would be if those darn cacti weren't in the way...

You don't say where you are, slopfrog, so can't advise when clearance plants are likely to be found in your area.

RE: Plants/weeds for grafting practice?

I'm in Central Florida. The big box stores are always trying to sell plants that aren't right for this area so there is usually quite a bit of dying material on clearance. Unfortunately, it is dying for a reason and as a newbie grafter I'll probably never know if my grafts failed or if the plant is just too unhealthy.

Tried grafting on the sycamore today, basically trying to swap suckers. Yikes... that wood is not easy to work with. It just splits and breaks too easily. Also I'm paranoid of cutting myself with this knife! It ain't like paring a potato, that's for sure.

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