A definition of grafting: A plant shoot or bud (scion) inserted into the stem or trunk of another where it it grows permanently.
Most all fruit trees ( and many ornamentals) have been grafted or budded (budding is a form of grafting using only one bud as opposed to grafting which a stick or scion is used which has a few buds on it). Without grafting the variability is too great from a seed . So if you want a specific variety, say Spitzenburg apple, grafting is the most efficient way of propagating it. If you planted a seed from a Spitzenburg you wouldn’t get that variety, there is so much genetic variability in those seeds there’s no telling what you might end up with, but not a Spitzenburg . Grafting as a way of variety cloning.
April is time of year to graft here in north central Washington, and elsewhere in the northern hemisphere. We almost always have some to do here; changing a variety or to graft a young tree to a variety we want but can’t find from a nursery.
We’ve been grafting professionally for over twenty years, which means that we hire ourselves out to orchards who want to change a variety. Its much more economical to graft an orchard over then to pull out the trees, buy and plant new trees and install a new irrigation system.
We’re not doing as much contract grafting as we did even a few years ago, aside from the work being hard on our ever-aging bodies it takes us away from our farm during a critical and busy time, but it is one of the ways that we make our living off farm.
As long as I’ve been doing it it still amazes me that it works, I mean put a stick in a tree and expect it to grow!? But it does…