What is graft wax? (with photo)

Beeswax is used to make graft wax.

Grafting wax is a special wax used to seal the cut edges of grafted plants. The wax seals the cut and prevents the graft cuts from drying out. Graft wax is commercially available or can be made using a combination of beeswax and other ingredients.

There are several reasons why plants are grafted. A plant with desirable growth characteristics but a root system that is vulnerable to disease can be grafted onto a more resistant rootstock. The seeds of many hybrid plants do not reproduce faithfully to the parent plant and are therefore propagated by grafting. Some plants cannot be propagated using standard cutting or cloning techniques and must be started using grafting techniques. Regardless of why a plant is grafted, the application of grafting wax can mean the difference between a successful graft and a failure.

The plant grafting process involves combining the top of one plant with the bottom of a different plant. The upper part of the plant, or shoot, is cut off from its parent plant. The cutting area is connected to a cut in the underside, or rootstock, of another plant. In most cases, the scion and rootstock must be closely related plants for the scion to work. There are different grafting methods including whip grafting, cleft grafting and bark grafting.

The last step of a graft is to seal the exposed areas. The cut sections of the scion and rootstock are delicate and tend to dry out. The wax forms a protective barrier that prevents the graft from drying out. Once the graft takes hold and the plant starts to grow, the soft graft wax will stretch with the new growth.

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To apply the wax, it is held in the hands until it is soft and flexible. Alternatively, it can be heated over a heat source until it has a usable consistency. Wax strips or strands are then applied to the cut area of ​​the graft and flattened with fingers until a tight bond is created between the plant and the wax. When using a heat source, care must be taken to avoid overheating the wax as hot wax can kill the delicate tissues in the graft area.

Grafting wax can be found at garden supply and building supply stores. It can also be made with a combination of resin, beeswax and tallow. Some homemade graft waxes contain resin, beeswax, linseed oil, and charcoal powder.

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