The Benefits of Grafted Plants
Though grafting may seem new, it can be traced back 4,000 years ago to ancient China when people started realizing grafting olives and other fruiting trees may cause some incompatibility issues. Grafting is a horticultural technique used to connect 2 different plants so they grow as one. All grafted plants are composed of two parts. If you look closely at the base of your plant, you may notice a bump. This bump is called the Grafted Union. A Grafted Union contains the Scion, which is the fruiting or flowering part of the plant (the top), and then the second part is called the Rootstock, which is a healthy root system and some of the stem (the bottom).
When you look at your plant and see the fruit, flowers, and leaves, you are looking at the scion of the grafted union. The rootstock is, of course, the rootball of another plant. This is beneficial because that means your plant will generally grow faster and is hardier than seed grown plants. One of the most common reasons for taking the root system off of another tree and grafting it to another, is because it creates dwarf trees. Dwarf trees are great, because most fruit trees tend to grow too large making harvest difficult and dangerous. But with a grafted tree, it will grow to a manageable height and won’t take years to mature. Which means you’ll get your fruit earlier.
Grafting can make a big difference in your gardening experience, because it increases productivity. For instance, grafted plants are generally more drought tolerant, disease and pest resistant, and produces more flowers and/or fruit. By purchasing a grafted tree, you’re going to have a lot more consistency in not only size and shape, but also when the plant bears fruit and begins to bloom.
The Benefits of Plants with Root Systems
We spoke a little bit about root systems earlier, but it’s very important to do research on any nursery you’re considering purchasing from (especially if they’re an online nursery). Sometimes, gardening companies only sell plants that are bare root. Bare root is when the soil is completely removed from the bottom of a plant and the roots are exposed.Think of it this way, when you’re purchasing a bare root plant, the nursery goes out, finds the plant(s), you want and then they dig it straight out of the ground. That’s all there is to it. You should never buy bare root plants, because the likelihood of them surviving are very slim; and because it’s being shipped to you in a box you should want your plant to get as much nutrients and water as it needs while traveling to you, right?
Plants with a Root System, also known as a Root Ball, have been container grown. The system brings water and nutrients into the tree, and secures the plant in the ground through wind, rain, snow, hurricanes, etc after being transplanted! Bare root doesn’t do that, and can’t do that. They have to establish a completely new root system which means it will take longer for your tree to provide flowers or fruit (if it stays alive)
If you’ve done some research, you will notice that these dried up twigs are sold at a lower price, about one-third to one-half less expensive, to container grown plants. This is because nurseries can fit more plants on the back of a truck due to them weighing less. They also require less labor and materials. (Due to the fact it’s just dug up). Nurseries that sell bare root plants aren’t worried about saving you money and time, but they’re just worried about themselves. They know that uncertainty comes with the purchase of their plants, but for some reason they still sell you dying plants.
If you like to get more bang for your buck and need more convincing. Take a look below to see the benefits of root systems vs. bare root. Remember, cheaper isn’t always better.