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How to Make Grafting Sealant

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juicy apple image by Maxim Lysenko from Fotolia.com

Grafting one plant onto another allows very productive, but delicate, plant varieties to be grown on a base of hardy root stock. Several kinds of grafting--including clefting, bridging and side limb insertion--must be covered with grafting sealant to keep out microorganisms that might infect and kill the new plant.

Commercial preparations of grafting sealant are readily available, but you can also make a simple and effective grafting wax out of commonly available ingredients.

Heat one part raw linseed oil or tallow in a metal container to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Small amounts can be heated on a household stove top, while a propane burner works well for larger amounts.

Add two parts beeswax (by volume) to the heated tallow or linseed oil. Allow the beeswax to melt.

  • Grafting one plant onto another allows very productive, but delicate, plant varieties to be grown on a base of hardy root stock.

Add four parts powdered rosin (by volume) to the melted mixture of tallow or linseed oil and beeswax. Stir until completely mixed.

Fill a bucket halfway with cold water and pour the grafting wax mixture into the bucket to cool. Remove the wax from the water and form it into a ball.

Pull and knead the grafting wax between your hands until it turns a uniform light tan or yellow. Separate it into 1/4-pound balls. Place each ball in a resealable plastic bag for storage until it's needed.

  • Add four parts powdered rosin (by volume) to the melted mixture of tallow or linseed oil and beeswax.
  • Remove the wax from the water and form it into a ball.

Examples Of Plant Grafting

Grafting requires roots from one plant, called the stock, and a shoot from another plant, called the scion. Depending on the type of graft, you cut the scion into various shapes to make it fit onto the stock. Cleft grafting is the most commonly used method for flowering and fruiting trees, such as apples and peaches. Grafting an heirloom tomato scion onto hybrid stock combines the soil-borne disease resistance of hybrids with the superior taste of heirlooms. Make 45-degree cuts in the stock and scion, and clip them together with a silicone grafting clip. This method is a variation on the splice graft, with both scion and stock first cut at 45-degree angles.

Tip

There's no need to melt the grafting sealant before use. It's often called "hand wax," because you can simply work it in your hands until it's pliable, then press it over the grafted area to seal it.

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