Rayonier Researchers Save Time and Increase Quality with Grafting | Rayonier Inc.

This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to collect information about how you interact with our website and allow us to remember you. We use this information in order to improve and customize your browsing experience and for analytics and metrics about our visitors both on this website and other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy.

If you decline, your information won’t be tracked when you visit this website. A single cookie will be used in your browser to remember your preference not to be tracked.

Rayonier Researchers Save Time and Increase Quality with Grafting

Our genetics research team shows how grafting helps them save years of time in their ongoing quest to advance the quality of our trees.

GLENNVILLE, Georgia—How do you convince a tree it’s years—maybe even decades—older than it really is? Rayonier’s genetics research team does it by using a technique called top grafting.

The process shaves a massive amount of time off our advances in tree genetics research.

Timber Top Grafting
Grafting a young, promising tree onto an older tree will make the shoot behave as though it is the age of the older tree. That allows seeds (from pine cones) to be produced years earlier.

Rather than waiting for a new seedling to mature to seed-producing age (about 7 years), our seed production team grafts our most promising trees with older trees.

Top Grafting in the Treetops

Climbing into aerial lifts to reach the treetops, the team fuses shoots (branch ends) from genetically superior young trees onto the end of the older trees’ branches at the top of the crown. The young tree shoots then perform as though they are the age of the older trees.

This leads the promising new trees to produce seeds within the year, allowing us to plant and research how their progeny perform. The best performers from the seeds we plant will be selected for mass planting in our seed orchards.

Pot Grafting Promising Trees

Similar grafting techniques are then used on smaller rootstocks in a method called pot grafting. Once we select the ideal trees to use in an orchard, we want to get a whole lot of these trees in a short period of time so we can plant them and generate seeds that will be used throughout our ownership. We do this by attaching the shoots of the superior trees to potted trees, allowing our team to make hundreds of copies of the best trees in a matter of days. These will then be planted in the orchard, where trees are spaced farther apart to allow more branching—and thus, more pinecones—to produce millions of seeds.

Pot Grafting for Genetic Research in Trees
Pot grafting works just like top grafting, except its done with smaller, potted trees in our greenhouse.
Share This

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover the acres of opportunity. Contact us today.

Bottom Grunge