Grafting is a great way to improve the quality of your trees whether it be purely for more desirable foliage or to strengthen the tree in general.
When working with material, you may notice that sometimes you don’t have a branch in a position that you prefer or that you don’t enjoy the foliage of a tree that much. Grafting is a great way to add a branch in the position that you want for designing your tree. It’s also a great way to develop nicer foliage on an otherwise unattractive tree. Sometimes you’ll find a tree that has great trunk movement but very undesirable foliage. If you can master grafting, you can replace the foliage completely.
Another great benefit of grafting is its effect on the root structure of the tree. Certain species of trees have stronger and more forgiving root structures. The result when grafting is that not only are the branches replaced but slowly over time, the root structure will also take on the qualities of the foliage of the species that was grafted. Essentially, you can replace a weaker root structure of a particularly species with a healthier and stronger one from a another species.
So next time you design a tree, don’t limit your ideas to what is available on the tree at its current state, but what you might be able to create for the future.
*Pictured is a scion graft of Shimpaku foliage onto a Prostrata Juniper.