If you have just joined aussiegreenthumb.com in the last few weeks, here is a tip, this is the place to come if you have heard a word that you are unsure of what it means but feel like it is probably something really simple and don’t want to look silly asking it. Why? Because I am likely to post a definition of that very word for you and save you the embarrassment! Every month I add a few more words to the glossary of terms, with many words being seemingly simple ones that seem to confuse even the brightest Rhodes scholar.
To read through each of the individual articles in more detail, here you can access the entire series:
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 1 (January)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 2 (February)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 3 (March)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 4 (April)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 5 (May)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 6 (June)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 7 (July)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 8 (August)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 9 (September)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 10 (October)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Part 11 (November)
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Recap Part 1
Understanding Garden Vocabulary – Recap Part 2
This month we will be looking at the terms staking, pruning, grafting.
Staking – Quite simply some plants require a little help as they grow because they become top-heavy, that is the top of the plant is heavier than the base or root system can support. In such cases it is helpful to stake them. This means to stick a piece of wood, or metal, or anything else that is strong next to the growing plant and as it grows, tie the new ‘top’ loosely(and this is the key) to the stake. This way the stake is providing support but the tie is not restricting the plants growth, both upwards but also in terms of the thickness of the growing stems or branches. If, after you have staked a plant, the ties look to be causing a problem, simply loosen then or move them to a different area of the growing stem or branch.
Pruning – This is basically the removal of part of the plant to either restrict its size, shape the plant or promote flowers or fruit to grow. It may seem strange but for many plants, the loss of some of the plant, via cutting, encourages it to grow or fruit more vigorously. This is especially the case when the pruning involves the removal of dead or dying limbs. IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not go out and prune a plant without first doing a little bit of research into the best times for that particular plant. Some enjoy mid flower pruning, others require after flower pruning. There are many other things to take into account when pruning, which I will most likely discuss at some other point in time.
Grafting – The process of grafting is not really one for a gardening new comer, but it can be handy to understand the term when shopping for varieties because a ‘hybrid species’ variety is normally the result of two species either being grafted together, or being bred from a grafted species. Grafting is basically taking the stem or bud of one variety and joining it together with the stem or stem base of another variety of the same plant. Some grafts work better than others and some plants are more open to grafting, hence why the actual process of grafting is best left for intermediate or experienced gardeners. The resultant, grafted plant will have a blend of characteristics of the two parent varieties and the process can lead to more hardy plant varieties or produce more beautiful flowers.