How to do tree grafting

The Simple Art of Grafting Fruit Trees: A Complete Guide

Why plant 40 different fruit trees when you can grow one single tree that produces 40 different varieties of fruit? In California, there is a fruit tree called the ‘Tree of 40 Fruits’, created by Sam Van Aken. On one branch you may find a plum, on another an apricot, and another, a peach, and keep going until you count 40 different varieties of stone fruits.

But how is that possible? Could this tree be from the Garden of Eden? No, this is the simple art of grafting fruit trees. In this article I’m going to discuss what grafting is and why it works. And I'll share 3 methods commonly used to graft fruit trees.

Ken Roth of Silver Creek Nursery in Ontario holding a grafted fruit tree. Grafted fruit trees are made up of two trees fused together. The "rootstock" provides the roots and the "scion" is the upper portion of the tree. Photo credit:

grafting fruit trees is not possible without the rootstock and scion

So, how is grafting fruit trees done? Well, just take two trees and fuse them into one. The lower part is called the rootstock and is used to form the roots of the fruit tree. This part of the tree controls how tall the tree will grow. The other section of the graft is the scion, which is used to form the fruiting portion of the tree. A scion is the upper portion of a graft which is responsible for characteristics such as fruit type, flavour and colour.

what is the purpose of grafting fruit trees?

Fruit trees are not usually grown from seed because if they are, the fruit doesn't usually taste very good!

That's because many fruit trees are cross pollinated. Fruit trees have some DNA from the mother tree and some from the father tree.

The resulting seed will have a completely new genetic make-up. And if you plant that seed, the new tree will produce fruit that is nothing like the fruit produced by either parent.

Grafted fruit trees is like an insurance policy that can offer the following benefits:

  • They will provide you with a guaranteed variety like Honeycrisp or Gala apples.
  • They may offer pest and disease resistance.
  • They may be selected to withstand cold climates.

In contrast, fruit trees grown from seed have the following disadvantages.

  • They may produce small, sour fruit.
  • They may grow to be massive trees.
  • They may not produce any fruit at all for up to 7 years.

Did you know that the Macintosh apple trees you see today are growing because someone decided to cut off a small branch and graft it onto another tree to produce the same fruit? The original Macintosh tree dates back to 1811, now that variety is one of the top 10 sold in the world; all because of the simple art of grafting fruit trees.

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how does grafting fruit trees work?

When you make a cut into a young fruit tree branch, you’ll notice something interesting. The bark is brown, but the inner tissue is green as you can see in the photo below.

That green layer is the living tissue of the tree which is called the cambium. For a plant to be grafted it must have a cambium. A cambium is an important part of a tree that can be compared to the dividing cells in our body, allowing us continual growth and renewal. We can't graft plants such as grasses because they lack a cambium. But plants with cambiums, like fruit trees, can be grafted quite easily. (Melnyk & Meyerowitz, 2015).

For a plant to be grafted it must have a cambium. You can see the green cambium layer in the scion on the top. Photo credit:

In order to graft a fruit tree, you'll need to make a fresh cut on your scion (which will be the upper part of the tree) and another cut on the rootstock (the bottom part).

You'll then bind the two together. But on the tree's part, it senses that it has been wounded. So the tree sends signals to repair the damage and close the wound. That will secure the two trees together and that graft union will stay intact for the lifetime of the tree.

Many plant hormones are involved in forming the graft union and sealing the exposed tissue (Nanda & Melnyk, 2018).

Whip and Tongue Grafting Fruit Trees for Beginners 🔪 🍎 🌳

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Steph Roth of Silver Creek Nursery talk about Whip and Tongue Grafting Fruit Trees for Beginners in this short video.

fruit tree grafting in 7 steps

So, in theory, you know at this point how grafting works. Let's go through the steps you need to take to graft a fruit tree.

Step 1. Collect scionwood in the winter. The cuttings are collected in the dormant season because this is when the plant stops growing and therefore requires far less energy.

Step 2. Ensure the scionwood is disease and pest-free by visually inspecting it for any irregularities. The cutting should be approximately 16” in length and about the diameter of a pencil.

Step 3. Label the scion with the name of the tree and the date of the cutting.

Step 4. Store scionwood safely. The cutting should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and then tucked into a plastic bag. Then place the package in the refrigerator until spring to maintain dormancy. Remove any fruit that is ripening in the refrigerator. Certain fruits produce ethylene as they ripen which can kill the scionwood.

Step 5. Preorder rootstock. Preorder early as rootstock sells out quickly. You may need to order up to 9 months in advance.

Step 6. In the spring, grafting fruit trees can begin. Look outside. If fruit trees in the neighbourhood have buds that are starting to open, you know that the tree's sap is beginning to flow. This is the perfect time for spring fruit tree grafting.

Step 7. Use one of the grafting methods below. Check out some common methods for grafting fruit trees further down in this article.

Once you have chosen a grafting method, you are all set, right? Hold tight, there’s one last important step when grafting fruit trees to consider and that’s making sure your scion and rootstock will get along!

By looking at the taxonomic triangle above, you can see that fruit trees can often be grafted together if they are in the same genus. But as you make your way up the taxonomic hierarchy the scion and rootstock become more incompatible because there is less similarity between the two. Graphic credit:

which fruit trees can be grafted together?

Ok, so now that you know how to graft fruit trees, what’s to stop you from getting any old rootstock and sticking a branch from an apple tree on top? Well, that might not work for you. That’s because the rootstock and scion wood need to be compatible.

Rootstocks and scions that belong to the same botanical species are always compatible, so anything that is an apple, can be grafted to another apple.

Rootstocks and scions from different species in the same genus are also usually compatible. An example of this is within the genus Prunus or the stone fruit genus, which includes apricots, peaches, plums, nectarines, cherries and almonds. The Tree of 40 Fruits, which we talked about earlier, is an example of this compatibility and you can listen how that is done in the video below.

Sam Van Aken's Tree of 40 Fruit

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Learn how Sam Van Aken creates his "Tree of 40 Fruit" in this short video.

However, as you make your way up the taxonomic hierarchy (from Species to Kingdom), the scion and rootstock become more incompatible because there is less similarity between the two.

So, let’s say you want to graft a pear scion onto a quince rootstock. You discover that they are in the same family. Bingo! You think you have found a winning combination!

And sometimes that's true. Certain varieties of pear are compatible with quince root stocks including Anjou, Cornice, Old Home and Flemish Beauty. But other varieties, like Bartlett, Bosc and Seckel are not. You can learn more about which will work, and which will not, in this article.

The problem is that pears and quinces don’t share the same genus. So sometimes, when pear and quince are grafted, a toxin from the quince rootstock enters the pear scion and poisons the graft union, causing it to fail (Pereira et al. , 2017). This is just one example of graft incompatibility and why it's important to graft rootstock and scionwood that are closely related.

Some orchardists grow their own rootstock which they will use for their grafted fruit trees. This is Eric Hambly of Siloam Orchards in Ontario. Photo credit:

where to buy rootstock for grafting fruit trees

So, getting the scionwood seems straight forward, right? You have a productive tree in your backyard, and you love the apples, but this tree isn’t going to last forever, so you want to start a new tree just like the one you have. So, you take a cutting and you have the scion, but you’re missing a piece, the rootstock.

You can grow your own rootstock from seed, but here are some of the problems you may encounter:

  • The tree will probably be massive.
  • The rootstock might not be suited to your climate.
  • The rootstock may be sensitive to the pests and disease in your area and may be infected easier.

Your best bet is to find a producer that specializes in growing clonal rootstock. Clonal rootstock is used so that the tree you plant will be adapted to the area you live in and won’t grow to be 40 ft tall.

Your best bet is to find a producer that specializes in growing clonal rootstock.

For apples and pears, producers will grow clonal rootstocks in a stool bed. The rootstock is cut down and sawdust is mounded up around it. This prompts mini-rootstocks to pop up all around the single rootstock you had before. The mini-rootstocks are then separated from the stool bed and grown on their own until they are shipped away to nurseries to be grafted to scions.

Maybe you’ve heard that most peach and nectarine tree rootstocks ARE grown from seed. These are called seedling rootstocks. This is because:

  1.  There has not been much success with breeding smaller versions (dwarfing rootstocks) of these trees.
  2. Peaches, apricots, nectarines, and sour cherries are self-pollinating, so the seed produced from these trees are very similar to the parent tree.

Finding rootstock for sale can be tricky business, especially if you are not looking to buy enough for an orchard.  Most nurseries do not advertise rootstock sales because they sell the trees after they have been grafted. There are a few places like Fedco in the US and Maple Grove Nursery in Canada that sell small amounts of rootstocks for those who want to graft their own apple trees.

If you like jigsaw puzzles, you may want to try whip and tongue grafting. But in this article that's just one of the three techniques that we will discuss. Photo credit: Dreamstime.

grafting fruit trees: techniques

So, now you understand the basic "dos and don’ts" of grafting fruit trees and you are on your way to becoming an orchardist. Now I will introduce you to some of the more common methods used to fuse the fruiting wood to the rootstock.

If you are looking to make an old tree productive again, you may be interested in bark grafting. Choosing between some methods such as the whip and tongue method versus bud grafting, may come down to timing and preference, but both are equally effective for grafting fruit trees.

bark grafting: a way to give old fruit trees a new lease on life

Bark grafting is one method that is used to improve the quality of an old fruit tree or to change the variety on a productive rootstock.  For this technique, you peel the bark back to expose the cambium and then insert the scion. In this video below: Patrick Mann, a volunteer from City Fruit in Seattle (Washington, U.S.) demonstrates how simple bark grafting can be; accomplished with only a few supplies.

Bark Grafting Apple Trees on a Shoestring Budget

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fits like a puzzle: using the whip and tongue technique

If you like jigsaw puzzles, the whip and tongue technique might be the one to choose. A long slanting cut which provides the maximum surface area between the scion and rootstock, is characteristic of a whip and tongue graft. You’ll need some practice, a sharp knife, elastic bands and some wax. In the video below, Ken Roth, a well seasoned grafting expert from Silver Creek Nursery in Ontario, demonstrates how to perform this quick manoeuvre.

Whip and Tongue grafting and how to graft an apple tree

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bud grafting: for summer grafters

Did you miss the early season for grafting? It’s not too late! You can graft fruit trees in the late summer but it’s a different technique. The first step is to take a single bud from the desired scion. Next, with your rootstock, ensuring the two are compatible, insert the bud with a T-cut or a chip cut. In the next video, Ken Roth from Silver Creek Nursery, shows you how.

Chip budding - How to graft an apple tree in less than a minute!

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how to keep your newly grafted fruit trees healthy?

Once you've gone to all this trouble of grafting a fruit tree you need to know how to care for it! Here are some tips.

  • Keep your tools clean to prevent infection. Your grafting tools can transmit disease as you graft tree after tree. Wipe the blades of your grafting tools with isopropyl alcohol after use to sterilize them.
  • Keep the grafting knife sharp. This will make the cut smoother and allow the tree to heal quicker.
  • Don’t forget to seal off any exposed green tissue to prevent the cutting from drying out. You can seal off the cuts you made with grafting wax and a rubber band.

Now, you know how to graft your first fruit tree. You have made a tremendous step towards becoming an orchardist. You are on the right track, but don’t stop here. Your fruit tree will need continual care and nurturing. Follow some of the additional resources below to keep your grafted fruit trees in tip top shape.

caring for fruit trees - including pruning, fertility management and pest and disease prevention

Grafting a fruit tree is just the beginning of your journey. Taking care of it to ensure it is healthy and productive is your next step. But how do you do this? Here are some extra resources for you:

  • Essential fruit tree care online courses offered through the Orchard People website where you will learn fruit tree pruning, fertility management, pest and disease prevention and more.
  • The Orchard People shop, which contains some must reads, and the complete toolbox for an orchardist.
  • The North American Fruit Explorers (NAFEX) is a network of people passionate about growing fruit.
  • David Maxwell, a long-time member of NAFEX and a grafting hobbyist from Nova Scotia talks about cultivars and grafting in this video.
  • Silver Creek Nursery has a Holistic Spray Recipe to help prevent fruit tree pests and diseases.
  • This UK fruit tree nursery website describes some of the common rootstocks used for grafting fruit trees.
Shannon McDowell, University of Guelph student and Intern at

Shannon McDowell is an intern at She is a bachelor's student in agricultural science at the University of Guelph, Ontario. She is passionate about gardening and pomology.

Grafting Fruit Trees - How to Graft Fruit Trees Guide

Jarrod E. Stephens | Originally published in GameKeepers: Farming for Wildlife Magazine. To subscribe, click here.

A trip down memory lane for many outdoorsmen will lead to some great times beneath one of grandfather’s apple trees. Not only did grandfather’s apple tree draw kids like ants to sugar, but it also brought out the deer and other wildlife to enjoy the smorgasbord. It is no secret that apples on the ground are a magnet for deer and particularly bucks near the end of summer and into fall when much of the natural vegetation is getting tough. The overall drawing power of a mast tree makes it a logical addition to any gamekeeper’s repertoire of feeding options for local wildlife. If fruit trees are in your plans, you can create your own for a fraction of the price by grafting.


Tree grafting is a procedure where you take a piece of an existing tree (scion) and attach it to a receptive rootstock and they form a new tree. You might refer to it as “tree surgery. ” It may sound complicated, but it is actually quite simple and rewarding. Adding grafted fruit trees to your property won’t have an immediate impact, but can improve wildlife feeding options for many years to come. It is important to know what fruit trees thrive in your area of the country. Don’t expect the grafting process to produce exotic fruit that does not normally grow in your neck of the woods. The following steps can give you, your family and wildlife fruit to enjoy for generations.

Step 1

Step 1: Necessary Tools for Grafting (Rootstock, Shears, Etc.)

Having the right tools will ensure greater success with your grafts. You will need rootstock for apple trees if you are grafting apple trees and pear rootstock if you are grafting pear trees. You can even graft persimmon or cherry trees, too. The best way to get rootstock that is well suited for your region is to contact your local Extension agent. They will likely be able to get the rootstock for you or help you find a vendor. NativNurseries also offers crabapple, persimmon and pear that make excellent rootstocks.

To make clean cuts, you will need a sharp pair of pruning shears to remove the scion (the part of the tree you intend to graft). A razor sharp knife that can trim the scion and rootstock is essential. Crafting knives, such as the Exacto Knife, can be used as well. Grafting tape and grafting sealant will aid in keeping the pieces together as they join.  You can find everything you need at your local nursery. Make sure you have the pruning shears, knife, grafting tape and grafting sealant on hand before you start.

Step 2

Step 2: Choosing the Right Trees to Graft

Choosing the right trees to graft is one of the easiest steps. Think back to previous years when you were driving around and you noticed deer in your neighbor’s yard enjoying the falling apples. It’s obvious the particular variety of tree is well suited for your region and, if it is grafted successfully, then the deer will be drawn to your property as well.  

Ask your friends and neighbors for cuttings (scions) from their trees — especially if they have healthy trees that draw deer when they drop fruit. Don’t settle for one type of tree but instead graft as many varieties as possible. Some trees graft easier than others so you may need to experiment with several types. Remember, the grafting process gets easier the more trees you graft.

To extend the benefits of your trees for wildlife food, you should also consider grafting trees that will bear fruit during different months of the year. For instance, you can graft early June apples, which will drop their fruit during mid-summer, and then graft other hardy varieties that will begin dropping their fruit in late August, September and October. When apples or other fruit drops over the course of several months, deer and other wildlife will benefit, even when other food sources dry up.

Step 3

Step 3: Time for Grafting

It’s never too early to plan to graft your fruit trees. Late winter into early summer is the best time to graft fruit trees. Much will depend upon the type of grafting you're doing. You want to have your rootstock and collect your scion before the sap rises and buds begin to emerge. To choose the best scion, you will want to avoid collecting water sprouts that grow from the base of the tree, but instead, you should collect hardy pieces from the branches that have four to six buds and are 10 to 12 inches long. The scion should also be as close to the same diameter as the rootstock as possible.

Step 4

Step 4: Harvesting the Scion

As you collect your scion, make clean cuts with your pruning shears and place the pieces in a bucket of water to prevent them from drying out. Keep the water handy throughout the grafting process. If the scion gets too dry, you may not have a successful graft. There are multiple ways to graft trees and you will see two methods in the photos. The method seen in photos “Step 4 and 5” is called the “modified cleft graft. ” In photos “Step 6 through 8,” you will see “bark grafting.”

Step 5

Step 5: The Scion, Rootstock and the Modified Cleft Graft

The outer layer of the scion and rootstock is referred to as the cambium layer. This layer is where the nutrients and water are fed throughout the tree and that is where the actual union will occur. The cambium layer of each piece needs to touch as closely as possible for successful grafting. This is true for either method of grafting. For successful grafting to take place, the vascular cambium tissues of the stock and scion must be placed in contact with each other.

Choose a rootstock and a scion that are close in size (for modified cleft graft) and cut the rootstock with a sharp pair of pruning shears about three inches from where the ground line will be on the tree. Carefully split the rootstock down the middle about 1 ½ inches. Make a wedge with the scion that comes to a blunt end and is equal in length to the depth of the wedge you cut in the rootstock. Carefully insert the scion wedge into the split of the rootstock. Closely inspect the two pieces to ensure that the outer cambium layers touch as much as possible. Continue whittling the scion end and inspecting it until a clean and solid match is made. Don’t rush this step because the entire process depends on good contact between the scion and rootstock.

Step 6

Step 6: The Scion, Rootstock and Bark Grafting

With bark grafting, the rootstock can be larger and, in fact, should be larger than your scions. Rather than splitting the rootstock down the middle, you’ll want to carefully make a horizontal slit several inches long just through the cambium layer. You’ll want to loosen the bark on each side of the rootstock to make a spot to insert the scions. It is most common with bark grafting to use two scions. You can see how this has been done in “Step 6.” The scions will be inserted into the slits you have made just behind the bark (cambium layer), one on each side of the rootstock. This is the main difference between the two grafting styles. 

Once you are satisfied with the two pieces, you can strengthen the union by using grafting tape or masking tape to hold the pieces together. Wrap the union tightly to ensure a good bond. Some people choose to apply a thin layer of grafting sealant to cover the union. Both the tape and the sealant will weather and decay within the first year of growth. However, it’s important that you don’t use too much tape or grafting sealant because applying too much can cause girdling, which may damage and ultimately kill the tree. After finishing the graft, place it into a bucket of water as you continue your work so that the scion doesn’t dry out. Keep the union submerged until you are ready to plant them. 

Plant your newly grafted trees in a fertile area where they will not be disturbed. Put the root into a hole, leaving the area where you grafted the scion about one to two inches from the surface of the ground. Mark the tip of the graft with a small piece of fluorescent colored ribbon so that it is easily seen. Suppose you do decide to graft multiple varieties. In that case, you will want to record the variety of the tree on the ribbon and also keep a record of the varieties so that you can see which ones were the most successfully grafted. 

Rootstocks can also be planted first and then grafted later. Rootstocks can also be “volunteer” seedlings, meaning you can find a random crabapple or persimmon growing in the field and graft onto it. Make sure you choose a tree in a location that you can access easily. You may need to water and fertilize it in dry weather. There are many options for grafting.

Step 7

Step 7: Grafting Maintenance

Water and fertilize the grafts regularly to ensure quick growth. Keep the area around the grafts weed-free so that there is little competition for needed nutrients. Your hope is that the scion and the rootstock successfully unite and the roots begin to feed the scion. Small buds will emerge as other trees in your area begin to bud. To ensure that all of the growth goes into the scion, you should remove any suckers or small sprouts that emerge from the rootstock. Leaving them will allow much-needed nutrients to be taken from the scion. 

Protecting Your Grafts

After you have invested your time and energy into getting a successful graft, it is important that you protect it from damage for the first few years. The union where the graft has occurred is quite delicate and, if it is disturbed, it can lead to failure and death of the new tree. Protective tree tubes work great for this. Otherwise, driving a stake next to your grafts and loosely tying them to it can keep the union strong through windy conditions. Don’t tie the string too tightly — and it’s best to avoid using nylon or synthetic string. Instead, you should use a string that will decay, such as sisal. 

For added protection, you may also build a wire cage to surround the tree, like the ones that you use in your tomato garden. Doing so will protect the tender branches from browsing wildlife. Allowing deer and other critters to eat and tug at the newly established leaves can place too much stress on the graft and cause it to fail. You should transplant the grafted trees from their original spot into their permanent location after their first year or two of growth.

No matter where you plant the trees, it remains imperative that you continue fertilizing and watering them so they grow well. An excellent way to ensure deep watering for your trees is to put a piece of one inch waterline in the hole alongside the tree as you plant it. Under the end of the pipe, you should place a handful of gravel to allow the water to filter into the hole. Leave about one foot of the pipe to stick out of the ground. Every drop of water and fertilizer that you pour down the pipe will go directly to the roots of the tree and have an immediate impact on its success.


Step 8

Step 8: Grafting Fruit Trees is Well Worth the Wait

Keep in mind that your grafted trees will not have an instant impact on your hunting plot, but instead they are for long range consideration. Grafting fruit trees, such as an apple tree, is one of the only food plot enhancements you can make that can truly last a lifetime. Don’t be expecting fruit anytime soon, however. A grafted dwarf fruit tree will not likely produce fruit for five to seven years. Semi-dwarf trees can take seven to nine years to produce fruit. After all, your grandfather's apple tree did not produce apples overnight either.

Step 9

Step 9: Great Expectations

Once the apple trees do begin bearing fruit, then you and the deer can enjoy them each season. The apples will fall from the branches over a period of several weeks, which will give you time to pick out your trophy for the season. In the end, you’ll be glad that you took that initial step to make a lasting improvement on your plot. If all goes well, your grandchildren will eat and hunt over those same apple trees. After all, being a gamekeeper isn’t just about making an impact today — it’s about making a lasting impact for generations to come.

Autumn grafting of fruit trees and bushes

Grafting fruit trees and bushes in your garden will allow you to get a rich harvest of various fruits and berries, improve their taste, quality, and expand the variety of cultivated crops. In addition, with the help of grafting, you can give a second life to aged trees, eliminate crown defects, especially in ornamental crops, and propagate your favorite varieties of apple trees, pears or plums. In summer gardening chores, there is not always a free "window" for vaccination. But if you follow our recommendations, you can get vaccinated in the autumn.

In autumn, it is easier for summer residents to allocate free time for this, because worries become less and less as the harvest of various fruit and vegetable crops grows. Another benefit of carrying out autumn vaccinations is the saving by gardeners of precious spring time, when every summer resident has a lot of work to do. Only bad weather with sudden frosts at night, erroneously selected scion with stock and deplorable past experience of such work, which instills in you the fear of repeating failure, can prevent you from performing autumn vaccinations. Let's discuss in detail how and when it is better to graft trees in the autumn, discuss the nuances of this important procedure so that your chances of success are maximized.

Timing of autumn vaccination

We recognize that autumn is not the optimal season for grafting trees in the capital region, and throughout central Russia. As a rule, summer residents at the end of the summer season prepare grafting material for the spring, and they strive to carry out all vaccinations planned for the season before the end of summer - then the plants have time to grow together before winter. In autumn, unstable weather interferes with this process, during which the temperature still rises quite high during the day and the vaccine begins to take root, and at night the thermometer drops to zero and the survival process slows down sharply.

But, if you decide on autumn vaccinations, you need to carry them out only before the onset of frost, that is, you have September in stock, sometimes the weather allows you to capture the beginning of October. The result of the vaccination will be finally clear, most likely in the spring, so you just need to do everything correctly in order to make sure in April that everything worked out and worked. As for the time of day, it is better to plant trees and bushes either in the morning or in the evening. Well, if the weather is warm, without wind and rain.

How to choose a rootstock with scion

A rootstock is a plant chosen as the basis for planting a mini-cutting, a scion is a part of a plant of the variety that we want to grow on a strong stock. Obtaining the expected result of vaccination depends to a large extent on the quality of the rootstock and scion, therefore it can only be carried out between healthy fruit and berry crops resistant to parasites and ailments.

Small cuttings usually act as a scion, sometimes the buds of trees are also transplanted. You can increase the chances of the scion taking root if you choose a place for planting it in a low-wind part of the crown, well-lit by the sun throughout the day. At the same time, the stock should grow on nutrient-rich, fertile soil, so it is better to carry out all the necessary top dressing ahead of time.

Nobody limits you in choosing plants for grafting, but be realistic and choose related species of trees and bushes for planting. For example, pear, cotoneaster, chokeberry are successfully grafted onto an apple rootstock, and plum and peach are successfully grafted onto cherries. Grafting a peach or apricot will help rejuvenate an old cherry plum. Rose hips will be an excellent stock for climbing roses.

What equipment is needed

Before proceeding with vaccinations, you need to prepare all the required tools. The most important tool is a very sharp knife, which allows you to achieve absolute smoothness of the cuts. The higher the smoothness of the adjacent sections of the scion and rootstock, the more likely it is that they will grow together quickly. And if the cut surfaces turn out to be rough, the result of such a vaccination is unlikely to please you, the chances that such a graft will take root are negligible.

The preparation of the rootstock and scion is facilitated by special tools for the gardener - secateurs and knives designed specifically for grafting. Such a pruner allows you to make completely identical cuts both on the stock and on the scion. The cuts made by him do not need to be adjusted. This saves a lot of time, especially when grafting a large number of cuttings.

Even a novice gardener can easily handle such a tool. The pruner effortlessly cuts branches with a thickness not exceeding 13 mm, even cuts contribute to the rapid process of merging the stock and scion. An important condition is that for vaccination with its use, shoots of the same size must be selected. And with thick branches, this tool will not cope.

A grafting knife, on the other hand, easily cuts branches reaching 25 mm in diameter, but it will be difficult to wield such a tool without certain skills, dexterity and simply physical strength. But those who master the work of a grafting knife will easily achieve the required smoothness of the cuts. Such a knife is optimal for use on a compact garden scale and infrequent grafting. Too intensive use of such a knife will lead to a drop in its sharpness, the tool will need constant sharpening.

Garden knife Dobrynya stainless steel steel

Before the start of grafting work, the tools must be thoroughly washed and then disinfected with alcohol to ensure the sterility of the connection between the rootstock and scion.

In addition to the knife and secateurs, the following will come in handy:

  • PET film, insulating tape or other strapping material;

  • garden pitch or wax to cover the grafting zone;

  • labels with information about the grafted cutting;

  • garden saw, etc.

Common vaccination techniques

Grafting trees and bushes is an exciting activity that allows for interesting experiments. Amateur gardeners often invent very unusual methods that speed up the splicing of grafted crops. We bring to your attention the most popular and time-tested.

Copulation - grafting the cutting

The copulation technique is used, as a rule, to propagate the variety of fruit trees you like. The stock and scion in such a case are selected identical in thickness. Oblique cuts are made on them, which are then connected closely and securely fastened with a tissue flap and twine. The most important thing in this technique is to achieve an absolute fit of the scion and rootstock in the cambium - the zone of cell division.

Bark grafting

This grafting technique is optimal for rejuvenating aging trees. The rootstock for its implementation is selected soft-barred. Incisions are made in it, the length of which is 2-3 cm, an obliquely cut stalk is filled into them, after which the grafting zone is wrapped with polyethylene or a piece of cloth.

Split Grafting Technique

In this way, old trees are grafted that have a thick, coarsened bark that does not allow a graft to be placed behind it. The branch selected for the stock is cut down, splits are made in it. The cuttings are carefully inserted into the prepared slots so that the end of the grafted cutting protrudes 1-2 mm above the bark of the rootstock; the grafting performed in this technique will grow together and heal without problems.

In addition to the listed technologies, grafting in the "side cut" and "bridge" techniques are widely used. Budding is also quite popular - transplanting one eye, and not a cutting. The latter method is still better to use in the summer.

Apple grafting

Of course, the best time for her is the spring and summer season. But the autumn version also has its advantages. For example, grafts that have taken root in the fall easily tolerate a transplant in the spring and adapt more quickly after it is carried out. In addition, autumn vaccination allows you not to wait for spring if you managed to get hold of a rare variety that you have long wanted to replenish your garden.

The choice of grafting technique depends on factors such as tree age and weather conditions. It is better to manage the grafting of apple trees until the thermometer stops rising above 15 ° C. In the first two weeks of September, it is permissible to bud or graft on the bark. In September and early October, you can graft an apple tree in a split way. By the end of October, grafting apple trees is not recommended, because at this time the trees shed their leaves, begin to prepare for the winter cold, and sap flow slows down in the trunk and branches. The exception is the southern regions, where during this period there is still a chance for a successful autumn vaccination.

The scion material is half or completely lignified one-year-old shoots. They are cut off right before the procedure, it is better to do this from the south side of the crown. If the vaccination is carried out after a few days, the cut scion is sent for storage in the refrigerator. Before placing it there, the cuttings must be wrapped in a damp cloth, and then wrapped in polyethylene. Be sure to stick the cut ends into wet sand. The scion should not be allowed to dry out, so constantly monitor its condition.

The apple tree is very often chosen by gardeners for vaccinations. With the right choice of rootstock, there are usually no difficulties with the survival of the scion. The optimal stock for a varietal apple tree is an unpretentious and hardy "wild" grown from a seed, or an apple tree of another variety. In autumn, grafts planted on young rootstocks are distinguished by good survival. It is undesirable to carry out vaccinations on old apple trees in the fall. The rootstock for an apple tree can serve as:

  • chokeberry;

  • Rowan;

  • viburnum;

  • hawthorn;

  • quince.

An apple tree planted on a pear grows with difficulty. A varietal apple tree on a rowan rootstock can grind over the years. Vaccinations on quince are not always successful for gardeners, but planting an apple tree on a hawthorn is only possible for the most experienced or the most successful of them. When choosing a copulation technique, the cut on the rootstock should be done directly opposite the bud, since it is here that the nutrition of the branch is optimal, which means that the grafted cutting of the apple tree will take root in the shortest possible time.

Autumn pear grafting

Experienced gardeners with the help of grafting manage to grow unique trees from which you can pick a pear, an apple, and other horticultural crops at the same time. You, too, will be lucky if you are inquisitive, persistent and patient.

For the heat-loving pear, a successful fall grafting is the exception rather than the rule. This tree takes root in the fall infrequently, the chances of success are increased by its early holding - it is advisable to keep within until mid-September. And even if everything is done according to the rules, the result can be very modest.

A pear is grafted by budding, as well as by techniques for bark and splitting. In this case, the stock is chosen as one-year-old, but lignified shoots, on which there are strong buds. After completing the procedure, the vaccination area is covered with a cloth in order to avoid awakening the kidneys and freezing them in the winter cold.

The pear belongs to pome crops; it grows well with trees of related species. A wild pear or another variety of this crop can become a stock for her. Such a vaccination will allow growing pears of different varieties on one trunk. Such pear varieties as Vnuchka, Svetlyanka, Tema, etc. can act as a rootstock. Venerable gardeners successfully plant a pear on an apple tree. Often, incomplete wood splicing occurs, but the problem can be easily minimized by preparing a prop for the pear branch in advance to prevent it from breaking off.

Grafting a pear onto a quince reduces the height of the tree, making it easier to harvest. A pear on a rootstock-quince bears fruit earlier, the taste of the fruit improves. The grafting of a pear on a red mountain ash is usually also effective. The fruits of this tree grow very sweet. Gradually, the scion thickens significantly, the mountain ash-rootstock loses its supporting properties, and the pears become less juicy. In addition to the above rootstock options, the pear is also grafted onto the shadberry, chokeberry, cherry plum, hawthorn, and cotoneaster.

To make the autumn vaccination successful, follow a number of simple rules during its implementation:

  • use a clean and very sharp tool in your work;

  • water the rootstock well before grafting, this will soften its bark;

  • do not touch the cuts with your hands to avoid infection, use garden pitch to cover wounds;

  • perform the procedure in dry, warm and quiet weather;

  • before the onset of persistent cold weather, after the appearance of the first frost, it is necessary to insulate the grafting site with a flap of fabric, film or other covering material.

Follow our advice and recommendations, and the chances of a successful autumn vaccination will increase significantly.

How to graft seedlings: grafting methods, tying and care


  1. Grafting: what it is
  2. Why graft fruit tree seedlings?
  3. Methods of grafting seedlings: what are the
  4. Tools
  5. How long does the vaccine take root
  6. Harness
  7. How to care?
  8. Common errors

Any gardener dreams of a rich harvest of fruits and berries. You know, it's not hard to make dreams come true. Are there quality seedlings nearby? You can graft your favorite varieties on them. This will be a reliable and inexpensive solution. With a competent approach, planting seedlings of apples, plums, apricots and other varieties is easy. We will tell you how to graft seedlings. We assure you that even those who are far from professionals can do the task!

Grafting: what it is

Grafting helps in the reproduction of plants. It allows you to get cultivars by crossing a scion with a rootstock. The first to appear are buds, branches, cuttings, bearing varietal characteristics. The role of the stock here is performed by the very basis where the scion takes root. Any tree of the same species as the scion is taken. It carries the nutritional properties of the plant, is responsible for resistance to frost, nutrition, growth .

Why graft fruit tree seedlings?

The process ennobles the seedlings, makes it possible to obtain a tree of a certain variety . For example, you had a summer apple tree, and you got a winter one, and from an ordinary plum - yellow. The fact is that from a plant grown by self-sowing you will not grow a varietal, in this case the seedling requires vaccination.

Grafting garden trees helps to improve winter hardiness if you notice that some trees in your garden do not tolerate winter well.

As a result, you get a plant that has a root stock system with all its properties and the fruits of a scion.

Methods of grafting seedlings: what are the

There are several options for carrying out the process. Choose based on the size of the components, the climatic conditions of the region, the season.

Over the bark

Graft over the bark if the components have too different thicknesses. The period of holding is the time from the beginning of sap flow to its active stage.

Trim the rootstock to a stump. The scion here will be cuttings prepared in advance, which are still sleeping or just waking up. Cut them to 2-3 buds, and cut them from the bottom at an acute angle, the length of which is 3 cm. For an effective process, in addition to the oblique, a horizontal incision should be made.

An incision should be made on the stump along the length of the cut made earlier on the scion. Place the cutting there, slightly separating the bark. Make a tie. Open places must be coated with garden pitch - a solution of paraffin, rosin, vegetable oil. You can cook it or buy it from the store. Before buying, carefully read the composition, consult with a specialist.

In the cut

The thickness of the rootstock does not matter here. You can carry out the process at any time except autumn.

This option is usually used to renew the bark. On the side you need to cut a narrowing gap. Cut the scion to 2 buds, cut off on both sides along an oblique curve. Then screw it into the slot. Do not forget to tie the plant, and process open places.


Suitable for trees with rough bark and those that have previously been damaged by grafting. For a beginner, this method is the best option. Note that it should be carried out before sap flow.

Make a stump from the rootstock and clean it with a knife. Create a gap and insert a wedge there. The scion will be a small branch with 5 buds. Cut it at an angle on both sides, insert it into the slot, remove the wedge. The stock is thicker - place the handle on all sides. Strapping is not needed, as the clamp forms itself. Coat absolutely all open areas with garden pitch.


For bark - not your option? Copy will do. You can even use young seedlings. It is held in winter or spring before sap flow.

The graft must be shortened to 2-3 buds, then oblique cuts must be made on it and the rootstock. Align them, wrap with adhesive tape. The thickness of the branches is equal - put the scion on top. The rootstock is thicker - the scion is on the side, it is necessary to achieve the coincidence of the bark and the cambial layer.


Here is a graft - a living tree, a bush. Grafting should be done in the spring, although any time during the growing season will do. Any plant thickness will do.

Similar thickness - graft into the butt with oblique cuts. With a thick stock, cut the bark, place the scion there. Don't forget to tie.


Grafting by a bud, here it is a scion. A very popular option among gardeners. Take a kidney from the desired plant, engraft it on a branch or trunk.

The kidney also needs to be prepared in advance if you plan to do the process in the spring. Take last year's kidney. If the budding is summer, take the cut kidney in the near future. It will take root, survive the winter, and begin to grow in the spring.


The knife must be specially shaped and have a sharp blade to obtain the required cut. A kitchen knife will not work, because its blade is sharp and strong, any inaccuracy will ruin the effectiveness of the graft.

To prepare cuttings and rootstocks, take garden shears . Remove branches with lopper .

An important rule! Wash and condition pruning shears after cutting each tree. Diseases are easily transmitted through a dirty tool. You can use alcohol.

How long the graft takes root

Watch the plant. On average, after 2 weeks, the shoots begin to grow. A month later, you can understand whether the process was successful. If the stalk is dry, it has not taken root. With a successful vaccination, fusion occurs after 2 months.


Take PVC or PE film. Cut the material into strips 2-35 cm long, 8-10 mm wide. In the process of growth, the scion thickens. You can also use twine or fabric-based adhesive tape for tying.

If the strapping is tight, there is a risk that it will dig into the bark. We recommend loosening it after 8-12 days. It should be completely removed only next spring.

How to care?

Cuttings start growing after 12 days. After complete fusion below its place, the kidneys awaken. Shoots emerging from them must be removed so that the cutting continues to develop.

Shoots , formed on the handle, must be pinched, tear off the grassy top. This is how new branches, the crown of the tree, are formed.

Trim must not cut into crown . Be careful, it may happen that the cutting can break off from the sun, wind or birds. Having removed the strapping, they noticed a constriction on the handle - make 2-3 longitudinal cuts, process them, tie them again. The tissues will help flatten the bark. Loosen this strapping after a month, but do not remove it anymore.

In the last month of summer, limit yourself to pinching 2-3 top leaves to prepare the shoots for frost.

Pay attention to fertilizing, watering containing phosphorus, potash fertilizers .

Common mistakes?

Sometimes gardeners with little experience make mistakes. We have collected common shortcomings in the work, so that you definitely do not allow them.

1. Unprepared tools

Prepare the tools in advance, sharpen them, check the correct operation. Before the process, wash your hands, do not touch the cuts made to avoid a detrimental effect on the plant.

2. Slow operation

The process takes about 20-30 seconds. If you do everything slowly, then the cut surface may dry out, oxidize. Prepare the stock, cut. Also note that you should stand with your back to sunlight, so the cuttings do not have time to dry.

3. Short cut

Insufficient contact area due to small cut is a bad result.

4. Bad cuttings

Cuttings should be prepared in autumn or early spring. Keep track of their safety, as there is a risk of drying, freezing and mold. The recommended storage temperature is 0-3 degrees above zero.

5. Removing all branches on a rootstock

You cannot cut all branches. So you deprive the plant of nutrition. The graft will die due to the lack of organic matter.


Thus, from this article you learned about the method of reproduction of fruit plants, important nuances of carrying out. A competent process will lead you to a garden rich in various fruits.

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