Andrew Raffenberg

Andrew Raffenberg


Dr. Xin Zhao


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


Plant Science




Environmental Horticulture Club

Academic Awards




Research Interests

Vegetable Grafting, Sustainable Crop Production

Hobbies and Interests

Research Project

Innovative Grafting to Improving Dwarf Tomato Production

Vegetable grafting is an innovative horticultural technique that involves joining together scion and rootstock tissues in a way that they will grow together, taking advantage of desirable traits from both scion and rootstock genotypes. This cultural practice has evolved into an effective management tool for sustainable vegetable production in many Asian and European countries and the interest is currently growing in the U.S. Grafting with selected rootstocks has been demonstrated to successfully manage soilborne diseases, overcome abiotic stress, enhance water and nutrient uptake and use efficiency, and increase fruit yield in tomato production. Many tomato scions and rootstock cultivars have been evaluated in previous studies; however, little research-based information is available with respect to the grafting and rootstock impact on the growth and productivity of dwarf tomato scions. In this experiment, we will be grafting different types of dwarf tomato genotypes with rootstocks of contrasting vigor to assess the response of dwarf tomatoes to grafting. Four dwarf tomato scion cultivars Solanum lycopersicum) will be included in the pilot greenhouse study for grafting onto S. lycopersicum and Solanum pimpinellifolium rootstocks. Vegetative and reproductive characteristics of grafted plants and the non-grafted scion and rootstock controls will be systematically compared, and findings will be used to design the follow-up study further examine the benefits of grafting with selected rootstocks for improving fruit yield and quality performance of dwarf tomato plants. We hypothesize that if a dwarf tomato scion is grafted onto selected vigorous rootstocks, then the fruit yield of the scion cultivar will increase without any pronounced impact on the dwarf characteristics of the plant.