Grafting

Whip and tongue grafting time lapse

   

Individuals or organizations can also be involved by helping collect scion material from the mother trees acorns were collected from and in the future, improved white oak seedlings will be available to anyone who wants to plant them on their woodland!

We use grafted oak trees to create seed orchards because the grafted trees will produce acorns many years sooner than if we grew the oak trees from acorns (7 years versus 20+ years, respectively). 

Trees we collect scion material from have been selected due to their desirable qualities. Because we want to replicate this tree, we collect multiple scions and graft them. This creates multiple genetically identical copies to put in the clone bank or seed orchard. We are able to maintain high genetic diversity in offspring produced from acorns in the seed orchard because we have clones from many different trees in the seed orchard that are all pollinating each other.  

The best material for the scions are small branches on the outside of the crown of the tree. We collect from as high on the tree as possible since this tissue is younger and the subsequent graft is more likely to be successful. We usually can't get a bucket truck to the trees so we have to climb or use a very tall pruning pole to clip the smallest branches on the outside of the crown. Because trees in nature lose small branches all the time due to storms and animals, they have developed mechanisms to handle broken branches. Thus, collection of scion material does not harm the tree.

White oak top grafted onto bur oak roots

White oak top grafted onto bur oak roots.