Grafting bands are strips of rubber or other elastic material that are used in grafting plants and trees. When a graft is created, a branch from a tree that has certain beneficial characteristics, called a scion, is joined to another tree having a stronger and more disease-proof root system. To make a graft, the branch needs to be attached to the root stock tree. Grafting bands are used to accomplish this.
Different elastic compounds are used for grafting bands. One compound may be used for grafting fruit, berry, and ornamental trees. Others are specifically used for evergreens, rhododendrons, and azaleas and still others are specialized for chip budding.
Many types of bands are also photo-degradable. This means that the bands will break down over time as they are exposed to sunlight. Others are made of material that is photo-resistant and will not breakdown. These are used for grafts that take longer to take, while still allowing for growth.
Grafting bands come in a variety of lengths and widths to accommodate specific grafting needs. The band selected depends on the diameter, depth and length of the grafts being secured.
Unlike tape or wax, grafting bands provide a quick method of holding grafts in place using elastic tension. They can be adjusted to fit any graft and are easy to remove to check the progress of the graft and just as easily replaced, if necessary.
Other materials, such as binding strings or tapes can interfere with plant growth if left in place and can even girdle the graft, if left on too long. The elastic properties of grafting bands allow the graft to grow unrestricted. If not removed by hand first, some grafting bands will even become brittle and break apart as the graft grows.
Placing Grafting Bands
When the cuts for a graft are completed and the scion is in place on the understock, the grafting band is wound around the union. The wind usually starts below the graft. A simple loop is first created to hold the band in place. It is then wound up the and across the graft. each wind overlaps the previous one to hold it in place. The end of the band is tied off above the graft.
Budding strips as a specialized form of grafting band for bud grafting. They are actually a square of elastic material that is held in place with a wide staple-like clip. The elastic is stretched around the bud graft, and secured on both sides with the clip.
Because the budding strip completely covers the bud, it provides a water-proof and air-resistant seal. The budding strips stay in place for three to four weeks, which is just enough time for the grafts to take. They then degrade and fall off on their own