Getting Ready for Spring Vaccinations


Probably, it makes no sense to tell for a long time and in detail what the vaccine is and why it is needed. Everyone who is even a little familiar with gardening, and so well know that vaccination is perhaps the fastest way to propagate cultivated plants, and sometimes the only one. When propagating varieties and hybrid forms, all the qualities of the mother plant can be transmitted only through the vegetative path. But not all plants propagate by cuttings and layering. So - the vaccine remains. In this article I will tell you what to do in winter to thoroughly prepare for spring vaccinations.

Getting Ready for Spring Vaccinations

The theoretical part of the operation "vaccination"

In terms of technology, vaccination is a simple operation. It is only necessary to connect together the parts of different plants, they will grow together and become one. But, as practice shows, there are many nuances and subtleties that the operation was successful.

And it’s worth starting with the right terminology. Rootstock - this is a tree or seedling on which a new variety will be grafted. This is the basis of the future plant. It is the root system of the stock that supplies the plant as a whole and the future vaccination with all the necessary nutrients and moisture. Privoy - This is a twig, the stalk of another plant, which we are going to plant.

The quality of fusion of stock and scion depends on their physiological compatibility. Simply put, not every one can be vaccinated, but only related species - the scion and stock should not be too alien! For example, an apple tree, a pear, and a quince are well compatible, but you won’t be able to plant a plum on an apple tree.

Although, among seemingly related plants and even one species, incompatibility may arise, and the vaccine will not take root. Sometimes even different varieties of the same plant do not grow together. There is a large field for experimentation, and sometimes with unexpected results. Say, lilacs are perfectly grafted onto privet.

The fusion of the scion and the stock is due to a thin layer of active cells - cambium (fig. 1). If the cambium layers are precisely and tightly combined, then the fusion will occur, because the cambium cells will begin to multiply actively in order to heal the wounds and grow into each other.

In the practice of amateur gardeners and nurseries, different types of vaccinations are widely used, depending on the characteristics of the vaccinated crops, season, etc.

So, for a successful and high-quality vaccination, we need:

  1. Good stock (the plant on which we will be grafted);
  2. Excellent scion (cuttings of the desired variety or species);
  3. High-quality tool (this is very important!);
  4. Good skill and ability (everything will turn out!).

It seems that we will be vaccinated in the spring, but so that everything goes smoothly, it’s already worth preparing for it now.

Fig. 1. Cambium - a thin layer of active cells

Preparation of stock for vaccination

Let's start with the stock. Sometimes in the gardener's practice it becomes necessary to completely re-graft an existing plant (well, I don’t like the variety), or to plant several branches of another variety or even varieties in the crown to improve pollination and fruiting. Although, in my opinion, the best option is to grow a seedling and plant it.

Right now, in winter, it is worth sowing the seeds of many crops so that they pass stratification and sprout in the spring. Of course, it is not worth planting a tiny seedling, you need to wait a year, or rather two. Let the seedling grow stronger and acquire a powerful root system.

Read also our material Garden Tree - how to create a multi-varietal or multiparous tree.

Scion preparation

On the scion, annual growths of the variety you like are cut. Usually they try to take them from the middle part of the tree. A classic option is to prepare branches for future vaccinations 30-40 cm long and, if possible, as thick as possible. Indeed, thick branches have a greater supply of nutrients and moisture. That is, they will well tolerate long-term storage until the moment of vaccination directly, in the spring.

When to harvest branches for vaccination? The best option is in late autumn, after leaf fall, but before the onset of constant frost. After all, you need to chop annual growths, namely they are most vulnerable in severe winter frosts.

In warmer regions with winter thaws, branches can be harvested all winter, but at positive temperatures. And finally, for extreme sports, you can cut in the spring. There really is a risk - during the winter, the gains froze or you missed the right moment, and the kidneys started to wake up.

How to store chopped branches for graft until spring? The easiest, but risky way, is to bury them in the earth, taking into account how deep the land freezes in the area. Bury it below the freezing level. It is worth considering the quality of the soil itself. If it is clay, and the moisture stagnates for a long time, then the workpieces can simply rot.

It is much easier and more convenient to put the bundles of branches with tags in a drawer, basin or container and fill them with moist sand, you can use loose soil, peat, coconut substrate and lower them into the basement at a temperature of + 0 ... +8 degrees. Moisten periodically.

A fridge will do. Of course, you shouldn’t shove a box with the earth there, but wrapping it with a damp cotton cloth and in a plastic bag - that's it. True, storing in a bag in the refrigerator will require extra fuss. Check periodically for mold. If there is, rinse in running water and wipe thoroughly.

Very important! By the time of vaccination, the stock (tree) should already wake up, and the scion (cuttings) should still be sleeping. This is vital! After all, if you do the opposite and try to plant the awakened stalk on a sleeping plant, then the stalk will spend its supply of nutrients and moisture, most likely without getting help from the stock. That is - will perish.

Scion branches are conveniently stored in a drawer, basin or container, covered with moist sand.

Tool and materials

For a quality vaccination, you need to buy a quality vaccination knife. You can argue for a long time which is better - a vaccination knife or a vaccination secateurs, but, mind you, professionals usually use a knife.

An ordinary kitchen or penknife is not quite suitable for this purpose. As a rule, their blade is not hard and sharp enough, and yet the cut must be done as evenly and with one movement, then the stock and scion will ideally coincide.

To maintain the sharpness of the blade, you will need a grindstone, preferably with two surfaces of different grain sizes.

It is worth remembering that for different types of vaccinations you will need knives of different shapes, as well as a high-quality sharp secateurs and a garden saw. Do not neglect the disinfection of the tool, for this, alcohol or vodka is quite suitable. A fungal infection in the wound can nullify all your efforts and, moreover, destroy the plant. Wipe the graft knife blade before each cut.

In order to tightly connect the scion and stock, you need to stock up with a special strapping elastic tape. Insulating tape or strips cut from plastic bags are not so convenient. Modern tapes well fix the place of vaccination and eventually collapse on their own.

In order to avoid evaporation of precious moisture from the cuttings and rootstock, all places of the cuts should be coated with garden putty, it is better with a fungicidal effect or, in extreme cases, use a garden var or even plasticine.

Sharpening stone to maintain the sharpness of the blade and a special strapping elastic tape for vaccination.

About skill and ability

Many will give up, but I assure you, there is nothing complicated in vaccination! Not the first time it works, but still ... I will give one piece of advice. It’s winter outside, another 2-3 months before vaccinations. Cut branches of different thicknesses and on long winter evenings in a warm house, master and polish vaccination technology. Learn to make even and smooth cuts in one motion. Have you already bought a good knife?

Why is this article called "Getting Ready for Spring Vaccinations"? There is plenty of time: to prepare cuttings, to buy a tool with materials, and to acquire skills. But if it works out, how much pride you will feel! And what new opportunities will open before you! I wish you success!