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March 9 – The Grafting Process

March 9, 2012

“Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:  For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” – Romans 11:19-21

Yesterday, I discussed how that I am grafted into the vine (family of God) along side the Jewish believers.  Nothing to boast of, I am simply offered the same blessings the Jewish believers are offered.  Although the Jews (in Paul’s analogy) were part of the original vine, Gentiles could be grafted into the vine and share of the same root and vine).  I’ve done a little research on the grafting process for grapes.  I know this is a little dry to read, but there are fascinating similarities to how a Gentile is grafted into the family.  Today I will look at the literal physical process; and tomorrow, Lord willing, I will discuss the parallels to a Christian’s spiritual life.

The Grafting Process for Grapes

Cutting the trunk.  The trunk of the grape-vine is cut at approximately 24″ in height.  The cut is made at a clean, unblemished surface area of the trunk.

Basal Trunk Incisions.  Then two small diagonal incisions about 1/4″ deep, just into the cambium, one each on either side of the trunk near the base, to allow the vine to “bleed”. This must be done before the graft is made, since there is a likelihood that the pressure from sap flow will push the graft out.

Face Cuts. A face cut is made at the top side of the trunk on each side of the trunk.  The best surface area is always chosen for the cut.

Diagonal Incisions.  For each face cut, two parallel incisions are made downward into the trunk at approximately a 30o angle. The first incision starts approximately 1/4″ from the bottom of the face cut, and the second is placed midway up the face cut. This is done on both face cuts.

Scion Preparation.  Scion canes (living branches about ¼” to ½” in diameter) are cut into 2-bud lengths (approximately 4”) using hand shears, and must be kept moist.  Scion preparation employs three different cuts that are intended to match the face cut incisions made on the trunk:

Diagonal Face Cut. A very long diagonally slanted face cut is made on one side of the bottom end of the scion, approximately the same length as the face cut on the trunk.

Tip End Cut. The scion is turned over to the opposite side and the tip is cut back diagonally, creating a sharp edge at the tip.

Scion Face Cut Incision. A small incision is made near the middle of the face cut, parallel to the scion.

Scion Placement on Trunk.  Scion is taped into place.  Correct placement of the scion piece is critical for a successful graft. The layers of the trunk and scion piece must be in contact with each other to enable the two tissues to grow together into a healthy graft union. The scion piece is placed at one end of the face cut, where the trunk’s cambium layer (just beneath the bark) is exposed. Matching cuts in the scion and the trunk enable a snug fit when the scion is gently tapped into place with the grafting knife.

Sealing the entire graft area. Sealing the graft union helps keep it from drying out. Soon after the graft has been taped, the entire area is completely sealed; including all the tape, the exposed cut on top of the trunk, and the tips of each scion.

A beautiful picture is about to be unveiled… Stay tuned…

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