Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 10, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: This research provides evidence that changing the way a graft union is created can improve the plants survival rate before planting. By increasing the angle to 7O degrees plant survival can increase by 19%. Moreover, the grafts can better withstand the rigors of handling before planting due to significantly increased healing rate which makes the plants stronger and less likely to be accidently pulled apart before planting. The plants are over 200% stronger then plants grafted at a 45 degree angle. Results with commercial hybrid rootstocks and tops had better results than the older varieties tested but both responded positively to the increased angle of the graft union. This research finding can be used by commercial growers, small farmers and homeowners using both conventional and organic practices to improve plant survival at less cost.
Technical Abstract: Growing plants that can withstand the rigors of open field production is imperative. This study examines the relationship of tensile strength to graft angle and plant survival. Tomato seedlings of ‘FL47’ and ‘Rutgers’ were used as scions on ‘Roma’ rootstock under greenhouse and healing chamber conditions. Scions were grafted at angles of 20, 45 and 70o. After a period of 10 days, the plants were severed near ground level and subjected to pull force analysis. Tensile strength of the graft increased significantly with the increased graft angle. Tensile strength between the 20 vs. 70o angles increased significantly as well as those of 45 vs. 70o grafts. Increase in graft angle resulted in greater survival of grafted plants from 79% (20 o), 81% (45 o) and 92 % (70o) graft. Fifteen commercial rootstocks grafted at 70o had between 97 and 100% survival. These studies demonstrate that graft angle can significantly impact graft integrity and plant survival.