Basic Plant Science

By Vincent Fraser and Jerry Hernandez, Catamount Science Writers

Have you ever wondered how automated gardens or modified plants are created?  Modified plants are mainly created by a process called grafting, where plants in the same family are attached together, causing them to eventually form into a single  plant.  This process is extremely useful because it allows plants within the same family to become stronger, more reliable, and easier to grow.  

How, exactly, does this grafting process work, and how is it carried out?  The grafting process is better used on newer plants that are still developing to improve the success rate, rather than using a old tree, which would make this harder to accomplish, and more likely to fail.  Grafting is somewhat limited, due to the fact that only plants in the same family classification can be the only ones that are graphed together.  The process of grafting is carried out mainly by cutting plant stems, and sealing stems and limbs from different plants into the host stem.  When the sealant is applied, it must be sealed airtight to prevent the stem from drying out and dying.  If the stem is sealed properly,  plant tissue will eventually form, which ends up connecting the foreign stem to the plant permanently (unless the stem is chopped off).  The Grafting process varies from plant to plant, whether it is a hardwood stem, or a soft stem.  Hard wooden trunks or stems must be removed or have their surface exposed, in order to attach the desired
plant.  

Soon after, all  surfaces must be sealed so that the plant has a chance to properly heal 1024px-Tube_Grafting_Techniqueitself (without drying out or dying).  Comparingly, the soft stem plants are easily graftable because they can simply be cut and sealed without any major work or problems.  However, if a graft does not succeed, the host plant may obviously end up dying, due to the fact that the stems and branches were removed- exposing the interior of the plant- causing damage.

A way to accomplish graft
ing with little risk is by growing plants from trimmings to use as experiments.  Certain plants actually have the ability to clone themselves from fallen branches, or plant stems and matter.  This can be useful because many plants can be created through a healthy parent plant, which is basically an exact clone of the plant it came from.  An important factor, which is required for these conditions to take place, would be held within the plant itself- by determining whether or not it has these abilities before this action is carried out.  After the trimming process is completed, the plant must be grown under certain conditions, or e
lse the plant will dry out, or rot and die.  This process is useful because it is easier to grow plants from clippings, rather than starting them out from small seeds.  The process also has the ability to duplicate plants, which means that many plants could be created- that, altogether, could save a lot of money, or be used to earn money if they can be sold.

In addition, special gardens can be created in order to take care of plants in climates that they are originally not supposed to be thriving in.  These automated setups can easily be built because they consist of pumps, timers, and special lights that mimic the sun.  Depending on the type of plant that is being grown, the settings can be adjusted appropriately to better suit the environment of the required plant.  These structures, however, still require upkeep to keep them functioning- which can be somewhat expensive, depending on the setup- along with the power and water consumption.  On the positive side, since the whole structure would be indoors, weather conditions would no longer matter.  This, in turn, allows crops to grow
all year without stopping.

The next time you want to keep a plant in your house, consider the option of grafting.  The benefits that come from doing this is additional resistance to diseases- and also more quality- as a result of the fused plants.  Tomato_27_days_from_planting_seedsThe purpose of plant grafting is to create a newer, more powerful plant that can survive for longer and withstand harsher environments.  Eventually, what can result- if the grafting is successful- is a healthy, fresh new plant.  This also goes for fruits, like tomatoes and potatoes; grafting the two plants together will allow them to grow into a potato tomato plant (“pomato”), which has the capability of growing both of the fruit and vegetable at the same time.  

 

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