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Wedge grafting is perhaps the easiest way to join two plants as only simple carpentry is required, and it is used to propagate a wide variety of shrubs and ornamental trees.

. In mid-winter, collect some stems with all their previous season's growth from a plant with suitable scion material. Bundle these together and then heel them 6 in deep into the ground. This will prevent the scions drying out, and will keep them cool and retard their development. Label them clearly.

In late winter/early spring, select a suitable rootstock: either a one-year-old seedling or a substantial piece of root that is growing vigorously. Lift the rootstock and wash it.

Grafting is carried out on the top of the root or in the hypocotyl of the seedling. Cut the top of the rootstock horizontally, using a sharp knife. Then make a single 1j in cut vertically down the middle of the rootstock.

Lift the scions; choose one that has plump, healthy buds and is of similar diameter to the top of the rootstock. Make a sloping cut just above a bud at the top, using a sharp knife. Then make a horizontal cut about 6 in below. To form a wedge, make a sloping in cut, starting near a bud and cutting towards the middle of the scion base. Make a similar cut on the opposite side of the scion.

Push the scion gently but firmly down into the rootstock cut. Leave a small portion of the cut scion surface exposed above the root-stock. This will encourage the development of callus tissues, and it is known as the "church window" effect.

Bind the joined area tightly with clear polythene grafting tape. Seal the top of the scion with a suitable tree paint, such as Arbrex, to reduce water loss.

Place the grafted parts in a box of peat and grit and heel them in to just above the graft union. Label and place in a protected environment such as a cold frame or closed case, or on a greenhouse bench. The higher the temperature the faster the union will occur, providing the grafted parts do not dry out.

As the grafted parts unite, the exposed cut surfaces will start callusing. This can be seen in the "church window" just above the cut surface of the rootstock, where the callus tissues interlock and provide rigidity.

When a fairly firm union has formed, cut and remove the polythene tape. Pot up the resulting tree or shrub, or plant it out,

4 Lift the scions. Make a sloping top cut just above a bud and a horizontal one about 6 in below.

5 Make a in cut towards the middle of the scion base. Repeat on the other side.

6 Push the scion into the rootstock cut. Leave part of the scion cut surface exposed.

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depending on its vigour. Write a label in indelible ink and attach it to the new plant. Cut out any competing growths from the rootstock, although these are unlikely to occur with a rootstock that was cut back into the hypocotyl or a root.

1 Collect some stems of the previous season's growth in mid-winter. Heel these scions into the ground. Label.

2 Select a suitable rootstock in late winter/ early spring. Lift and wash it. Cut the top horizontally.

3 Make a single in cut vertically down the middle of the rootstock.

7 Bind the joined area with clear polythene tape. Seal the top of the scion with a suitable tree paint.

8 Heel the grafted parts into a box filled with peat and grit. Label and place the box in a protected area.

9 Remove the polythene tape once the cut surfaces start callusing. Pot up or plant out.

7 Bind the joined area with clear polythene tape. Seal the top of the scion with a suitable tree paint.

8 Heel the grafted parts into a box filled with peat and grit. Label and place the box in a protected area.

9 Remove the polythene tape once the cut surfaces start callusing. Pot up or plant out.

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