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Grafting and Bonsai Trees


This is the preferred method of propagating trees when it is not practical or possible to use other techniques such as seeds. There are two parts to grafting: the root-stock, which is the bonsai tree the graft will be applied to and the scion, which is the material taken from another tree and used for grafting. The scion is often from an unusual or hard to obtain species, but it is usually in the same family as the root-stock. The five-needle pine is commonly grafted onto a Japanese black pine, for example.

Why Graft Bonsai?

Grafting is often used by nurseries to quickly develop a large batch of bonsai trees with a set of desirable characteristics. The characteristics ensure the tree will be a miniature replication of a larger one found in nature. When looking for bonsais to graft, consider the following characteristics:

  • Form
  • Color
  • Branch and trunk structure
  • Leaf shapes, textures, and sizes
  • Needle shapes, textures, and sizes

Is Grafting Expensive?

Yes, grafting is expensive for one major reason. The grafted trees require a significant investment of time and effort. Approximately 10 to 80 percent of grafts will be successful and this is highly dependent on species. To effectively “raise” the grafted tree, you’ll need to invest in educating yourself on the various techniques and methods. You’ll also need to learn how to deal with scarring and other unfavorable things that may arise due the grafting technique.

However, a successfully grafted tree will have all the characteristics required to become a bonsai that it didn’t have naturally. This, in turn, increases the chances the tree will grow into a masterpiece.