What is grafting?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

   Imagine an apple tree with bright-red Jonathan apples on one limb, Golden Delicious apples on another, and dark-red Winesaps on a third. It is possible to have just such a tree. The process called grafting makes it possible.

   Grafting means joining parts of two or more plants together so that they grow to be one plant. The top of a young crab apple tree, for example, may be cut off and the twig of another apple tree put in its place. The inner layer of the bark of a woody plant is called the cambium. It is made up of cells that are alive and growing. In grafting, the two cambium layers must come together.

   There are different ways of grafting. The joining is usually protected by a bandage or by a coating of wax.
Fruit trees grown from seeds are not likely to bear fruit just like the fruit that the seeds came from. For the little plant in the seed usually has two different trees as parents. If so, it is sure not to grow into a tree exactly like either parent. The only possible way of getting a new Golden Delicious apple tree is to graft a twig from a Golden Delicious tree on to the stem and roots of some other kind of tree. It may be another apple tree, or a quince tree.

   Grafted trees grow faster and bear sooner than trees raised from seed. The stem and roots already have a good start. Another advantage of grafting is that twigs of trees that are easily hurt by disease can be grafted on trees that are hardier.

   Fruit trees are not the only plants that are grafted. Grapevines, rosebushes, and lilac bushes are a few of the other plants that are often grafted. But only plants with woody stems can be grafted, and the parts must come from plants that are close relatives. It is fun to think of grafting a rose twig on a walnut tree and getting a rosebush 60 feet tall. But roses and walnuts are not close enough relatives to make such a rosebush possible.
Sometimes the top of a grafted plant may be broken off. Then the stem may send out branches and grow into its kind of plant. One man had a funny experience. He grafted twigs of two dwarf catalpa trees to the trunks of two young hardy catalpas. Then he planted the little trees side by side. They grew into very pretty umbrella-shaped trees about ten feet tall. Then a windstorm broke off the top of one tree. Soon the trunk of the damaged tree began to send out branches. It developed into a hardy catalpa nearly 30 feet tall. It and its former twin were a strange pair.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

   In the whole world there are only five mountains more than five miles high. They are all in the Himalayas. Mt. Everest is the highest of them. It measures just over 29,000 ft.

   Until 1953 no one had ever been able to climb Mt. Everest although many had tried. On May 29 of that year Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norkay of Nepal reached the top.

   Mt. Kanchenjunga is the most beautiful of the five great peaks. It is about 1 ,000 feet lower than Everest. A British expedition led by Charles Evans climbed to six feet from the top of this mountain in 1955. To please the natives they did not climb the last few feet.

   The Himalayas are in central Asia. They form a great wall between Tibet and India. For hundreds of miles this wall cannot be crossed on land. Many of the peaks are more than three miles high. During World War II the Himalayas were called "the Hump." Planes flew over the Hump to carry supplies from India to China.

   Some mountains are playgrounds. But not the Himalayas. The southern slopes are very rainy, and dense forests grow on them. The northern slopes are bleak and bare. In winter the weather is bitterly cold. "Himalaya" means "home of snow."

   In a story about the Himalayas called Lost Horizon, there was a valley named Shangri-La. It was a beautiful valley in the midst of the bleak, snow-covered mountains. Shangri-La has now come to mean a lovely place hidden away in some distant part of the world.

   The Himalayas are young mountains. They are not many million years old. They were pushed up at the same time that the Alps were made. They are much younger than the Rockies and the Andes and much, much younger than the Appalachians.

What does Hindu mean?

Sunday, June 28, 2015

   Many people think that everyone in India is a Hindu. Calling everyone in India a Hindu is like calling everyone in America a Christian. For Hinduism is a religion just as Christianity is.
   Actually most of the people of India are Hindus. For when the old India was divided into the two countries of India and Pakistan, most Indians who were not Hindus settled in Pakistan.

   Here are some of the Hindu beliefs:
   There are many gods. Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are the greatest.
   The cow is sacred. It must not be killed.
   After death everyone is reborn in another form. He may be reborn as an animal. He may be reborn higher in the scale of human beings. Everything depends on the kind of life he has led.
   The Ganges River is sacred. If a Hindu dies on its banks or if he dies elsewhere but has his ashes thrown into the river, he earns a rest from being reborn.
   Within the Hindu religion there are different beliefs, just as there are different beliefs in the Christian religion. Some Hindus, for instance, call all life sacred. They wear cloths over their faces to keep from swallowing tiny insects.
   Along with the Hindu religion a caste system developed. All Hindus were divided into classes called castes.    Rules were made for each caste. A person 'lost caste" if he did not obey these rules. Now the caste system is breaking down.
   In Hindu temples there are many images of the Hindu gods. Some of them have several arms. These arms show that the gods have many powers.