Knowledge from Olle Garden Bed: Guidelines for Grafted Tomato Plants
Grafted tomato plants are created by connecting the aboveground part of one tomato variety with the underground part of another. The top of the plant (scion) usually comes from such delicious varieties as brandy or San Mazano. The roots (rootstocks) of plants are selected from different varieties specially bred for vigorous growth and resistance to common tomato diseases. Each plant is handmade. In the garden, grafted tomato plants need to be planted, and the grafting joint is located above the soil line. Use these guidelines from Olle Garden Beds to find the best ways for your needs.
Introduction to Grafted Tomato Plants
If you are like most home gardeners, you have been looking for ways to increase production and make full use of plants. One technique that can help is grafting tomatoes. Grafting is the process of connecting two different plants together so that they share the same root system. This may be a good way to get more tomatoes from heirloom plants, or even create more hardy hybrids.
Grafted tomato plants are created by cutting from ideal plants and grafting them onto rootstocks of stronger plants. This can be done by many different types of plants (such as different types of apples), but tomatoes are one of the most popular grafting vegetables.
Grafting allows you to take advantage of the best qualities of both plants. For example, you can graft disease resistant rootstocks onto the stems of delicious heirloom tomatoes. This will provide you with a plant that is both disease resistant and full of flavor.
- Purchase grafted tomato plants
- Planting grafted tomato plants
Grafted tomato plants need to plant grafting joints above the soil. Therefore, the above ground scions cannot take root in the soil. Most gardeners plant tomato seedlings about 4-6 inches deeper than the seedling pots in their gardens, but this is not the case for grafted tomato plants (the only exception is the grafted pomato plants).
- Planting grafted tomato plants
Grafted tomatoes can be grown just like tomatoes grown with ordinary seeds. Be sure to use well drained soil and provide a heavy tomato cage.
- Harvest grafted tomato plants
Grafted tomato plants usually bear fruit earlier than seed grown tomato plants.
When harvesting, be sure to cut off the stems instead of pulling the fruits from the plants. This will help avoid damaging the plant.
- How to graft tomato plants
The process of grafting tomato plants is not difficult, but it does need some care and attention. For gardeners who want to add vegetable grafting skills to their personal toolkit, this may be an interesting experiment!
The following are the basic steps for grafting tomato plants:
- Select rootstock. This should be a strong and healthy rootstock plant, which can resist common soil borne diseases and pests. Most rootstocks are also cultivated for nutrient absorption and vigorous growth.
- Select scion. This is the plant you want to graft onto the rootstock. The scion should be a healthy plant with ideal quality (such as disease resistance or flavor). Popular scions include heirlooms such as Brandywine and SanMarzano, as well as modern open pollinated varieties such as Brad Atom grape. Rootstock and scion shall have similar diameters to achieve compatible transplant joints.
- Make a clean cut on the rootstock below the cotyledon (the first tender leaf). Use a sharp razor to cut off the top of the stock at a 45 degree angle. Make a clean cut on the scion. Cut the bottom of the scion at a 45 degree angle.
- Match the cuts and tie them together. The two cuts should be close together. Use graft tape or rubber band to tie them together. You can also use special grafting pipes or grafting clips to fix the splices together.
- Graft a few more grafted plants. Grafted tomatoes are not always successful. Grafting extra plants is meaningful, just in case one fails.
- Place the newly grafted plants in a warm and humid place. The breeding dome or plastic bag can create an ideal environment for graft healing.
- Wait for graft sampling. This may take days to weeks. After transplantation, you can remove the breeding dome or plastic bag.
- Take care of your plants. Water regularly and fertilize as needed.
- Enjoy the grafted tomato plants!
Grafting tomato plants is a good way to increase yield and create more cold tolerant hybrids. With a little care and attention, you can graft your own plants at home.
The main motivation of tomato grafting is to prevent damage caused by soil borne pathogens in the intensive production system. However, recent reports indicate that grafting on suitable rootstocks can not only improve the water and nutrient utilization efficiency of tomato plants, but also reduce the adverse effects of abiotic stresses such as salinity, water, temperature and heavy metals.
Type of grafting
There are several special grafting methods that can be used to graft tomatoes. The most popular methods include tube transplantation and fissure transplantation.
Tube grafting, also known as splicing grafting, top grafting or Japanese top grafting, is a kind of grafting that uses hollow tubes to connect rootstocks and scions. This method is usually used to graft delicate plants such as tomatoes. When you buy a grafted tomato, you can sometimes see the pipe or stake of the clamp left at the bottom of the plant.
Fissure grafting is a kind of grafting, which involves clean cutting on the rootstock, and then inserting the scion into the incision. This method is usually used for pairing larger rootstocks with thin scions. Fissure grafting of tomatoes is not as common as tube grafting.