Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tree Surgery in the Japanese Garden

Ted Hildibrant and his associate, Elly, of Coldwater Pond Nursery, performed a 4-hour surgery on a rodent damaged Japanese Maple in the Japanese Garden in Delaware Park.  The surgery consisted of “bridge grafting” and “inarch grafting” scions into the tree.

By performing these remediation efforts on the maple, this tree will be able to transport the water and sugars through the bridge and inarch grafted scions.  The tree was heavily damaged by a rodent chewing away the bark and disrupting the flow of nutrients from the leaves to the roots and vice versa.  If left untreated the tree would surely die this summer.  There is no guarantee that the tree will survive but the work performed on the tree was meticulously executed and will give the tree the best chance of survival and due to the trees location and size the work was definitely worth it as the tree is irreplaceable.

Here’s a little bit more on inarching and bridge grafting techniques:

Inarching is similar to approach grafting in that both rootstock and scion plants are on their own roots at the time of grafting. It differs in that the top of the new rootstock plant usually does not extend above the point of the graft union as it does in approach grafting. Inarching is used to replace roots damaged by cultivation equipment, rodents, or disease.  It can be used to very good advantage in saving a valuable tree or improving its root system.  Seedlings (or rooted cuttings) planted beside the damaged tree, or suckers arising near its base are grafted into the trunk of the tree to provide a new root system to supplant the damaged roots.

Bridge Grafting
Bridge grafting is another form of repair grafting-used when there is injury to the trunk, such as by cultivation equipment, rodents, disease, or winter injury.  If the damage to the bark is extensive, the tree is almost certain to die, because the roots will be deprived of their carbohydrate supply from the top of the tree.  Trees of some species, such as the elm, cherry, and pecan, can compartmentalize extensively injured areas by the development of a wound periderm of callus tissue.

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