Sam Van Aken Horticultural grafting has been in use for millennia. It involves taking the branches of one tree -- the part of the graft known as the scion -- and inserting it into another -- known as the stock -- so that the two parts grow together and form one single tree. It can be decorative, but it has practical uses, too; grafting a fruit scion to a stock with a hardier root system, for example.
For art professor Sam Van Aken, who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, it's a little bit of both: his art project, Trees of 40 Fruit, started in 2008, is a thing of beauty with a more practical purpose: reviving heirloom fruit varieties.
Sam Van Aken "As a symbolic number found throughout western religion, culture, and even within government, the number 40 symbolises the infinite, a bounty that is beyond calculation. Like the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, these trees are a potential; they are the beginning of a narrative that transforms the site they are located in," Van Aken's website reads.
"The far-reaching implications of these sculptures include issues of genetic engineering, biodiversity versus food monoculture, and, ultimately, the symbiosis of humankind's relation to nature. As an allegorical sculpture Van Aken's Trees of 40 Fruit begins a dialogue."
So far, Van Aken has grown 16 of his trees, installed in museums, community centres and private art collections around the US. Each tree consists of three distinct parts: the rootstock, the interstock -- the central part of the tree, chosen for its strength, either a European or Asian plum variety -- and the scions, which form the tree's branches.
For the fruit, Van Aken tries to select heirloom and locally grown stone fruits, which may not be deemed commercially viable (see the popularity of orange carrots compared to yellow, white and purple for an example of how perceived commercial viability can lead to a lack of variety). He then chip grafts these onto the interstock.
"In trying to find different varieties of stone fruit to create the Tree of 40 Fruit, I realized that for various reasons, including industrialization and the creation of enormous monocultures, we are losing diversity in food production and that heirloom, antique, and native varieties that were less commercially viable were disappearing," Van Aken explained to Epicurious.
[h=1]Can You Graft a Mango Tree to a Different Type of Mango Tree?[/h] by Josie Myers, Demand Media
Mangoes can be picked while green and will ripen off the tree.
An old expression says, "two are better than one." That concept is the heart of grafting. Grafting is the process of injuring a tree to encourage a better or different growing pattern. It is common to cut limbs from various fruit trees and meld them together. This practice is used to give a weaker species of tree heartier roots, or to produce several varieties of fruit on one tree. The different types of mangoes, each with a distinctive flavor and attributes, respond well to varietal grafting.
[h=2]Mango Varieties[/h] The mango is the most widely grown fruit in the world. With more than 100 cultivars, you have a variety of tastes and textures to choose from. There are two categories of mango seeds: monoembryonic and polyembryonic. Monoembryonic seeds have a single embryo that was formed from cross-pollination and the seedlings vary from the parent trees. Polyembryonic seeds have multiple seedlings where only one is the product of cross-pollination and the others are clones of the mother tree. This is important because the polyembryonic varieties provide the strongest and most reliable rootstock for grafting and should serve as the base of a grafted mango.
[h=2]Polyembryonic Mangoes[/h] Polyembryonic seeds produce the best rootstocks for mangoes, but are the least prolific. Because they are identical to a strong parent tree, it is a safe bet the root systems will be equally strong. Mangoes of Indochinese descent are usually polyembryonic including varieties like "Philippine," "Pim Sen Mun," "Okrung" and "Nam Doc Mai." Among the American types are "Espada," "Rosa," "Manila" and "Ataulfo."
[h=2]Monoembryonic Mangoes[/h] Mangoes of Indian descent are generally monoembryonic. "Alphonso," "Kesar," "Rajapuri" and "Ratnagir" all have a single embryo. The majority of varieties grown in the U.S. are also monoembryonic, including "Tommy Atkins," "Irwin," "Haden," "Kent," "Parvin" and "Brooks." Because these types of mangoes have a greater variation in stock than those with cloned embryos, they are generally a riskier fruit to attempt to grow from seed to maturity. Instead, they're usually grafted onto polyembryonic rootstock early in life. It is possible to take several of these varieties and graft them onto a single rootstock, making a single tree that produces several varieties of mangoes.
[h=2]Choosing Mangoes[/h] Choosing which varieties of mango to graft is easier than with some other types of fruits. Mangoes have a relatively small range of differentiation in climate and environment. They are a tropical fruit and therefore, no variety has proven success in surviving in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The choice then is one of taste and preference. For those who prefer sweet fruit, the "Manila" or "Ataulfo" make a good base tree combined with a "Kesar," "Kent" or "Keitt." For a less sweet and sometimes spicy flavor, try "Rosa" as rootstock combined with the "Haden," "Edward" or "Francis."
Josie Myers has been a freelance writer and tutor since 2008. A mother of three, she was a pre-kindergarten teacher for seven years, is a Pennsylvania-certified tree tender and served as director of parks in her local municipality. Myers holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and business from Mansfield University and a Master of Arts in English from West Chester University.
[h=1]Grafting Trees: What Is Tree Grafting[/h] By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden [SUP][/SUP])
Grafted trees reproduce the fruit, structure and characteristics of a similar plant in which you are propagating. Trees grafted from vigorous rootstock will grow faster and develop quicker. Most grafting is done in the winter or early spring while both rootstock and scion plants are dormant.
[h=2]Tree Grafting Techniques[/h] Tree grafting is the most common method used for grafting trees, especially for fruit trees. However, there are various grafting techniques. Each type of grafting is used to accomplish various needs for grafting trees and plants. For instance, root and stem grafting are techniques preferred for small plants.
Veneer grafting is often used for evergreens.
Bark grafting is used for larger diameter rootstocks, and often requires staking.
Crown grafting is a type of grafting used to establish a variety of fruit on a single tree.
Whip grafting uses a wood branch or scion.
Bud grafting uses a very small bud from the branch.
Cleft, saddle, splice and inarching tree grafting are some other types of grafting.
[h=2]Grafting Tree Branches with the Bud Grafting Method[/h]
First cut a budded branch from the scion tree. A budded branch is a whip like branch that has mature (brownish) but unopened buds on it. Remove any leaves and wrap the budded branch in a damp paper towel.
On the rootstock tree, select a healthy and somewhat younger (smaller) branch. About two-thirds of the way up the branch, make a T cut lengthways on the branch, only deep enough to go through the bark. Lift the two corners that the T cut creates so that it creates two flaps.
Remove the budded branch from the protective wrap and carefully slice a mature bud from the branch, being careful to leave strip of the bark around it and the wood below it still attached.
Slip the bud under the flaps in the same direction on the rootstock branch that it was cut from the budded branch.
Tape or wrap the bud into place making sure you do not cover the bud itself.
In a few weeks, cut the wrapping away and wait for the bud to grow. This can take until the next period of active growth. So if you do your bud grafting in the summer, you may not see growth until spring.
Once the bud starts actively growing, cut off the branch above the bud.
One year after the bud has started actively growing, cut all branches but the grafted branch off of the tree.
Trees grafted with the right kind of rootstock can create a tree that benefits from the best of both the rootstock and scion trees. Grafted trees can make a healthy and beautiful addition to your yard.