How to graft a fruit tree branch


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: OrchardPeople.com.

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: OrchardPeople.com.

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: OrchardPeople.com.

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: OrchardPeople.com.

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 OrchardPeople.com.

Shannon McDowell is an intern at OrchardPeople.com. 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.

4 ways of grafting fruit trees

4 ways of grafting fruit trees trees.

I had the pleasure of chatting with an elderly farmer a few days ago. We talked about the trees in the garden and touched on the topic of grafting fruit trees.

In response to this, the farmer got up, took out a knife and cut off a couple of branches from a mulberry tree growing nearby and He began to show me how to vaccinate. What did I have it's a pleasure to hear it all from someone with a lot of experience!

Because I I know for sure that I will forget what I saw in less than 10 minutes, I solved it all write down.

What is vaccination?

Inoculation - this is the connection of a cut shoot or bud of one plant with another plant, due to tight attachment or by insertion into the wood.

Connection two trees of the same family and is called grafting. For example, apple trees another variety of apple or pear. Another example is the grafting of an orange with another variety of orange, lemon, grapefruit or other rue family (citrus). You can't graft an orange tree onto an apple tree because they do not belong to the same plant family and cannot "to interact". Grafting allows you to have one tree giving you two or more kind of fruit!

Why graft a fruit tree?

There are many reasons, but in the end, we want to use one tree to grow on it harvest of another variety.

allow myself give some examples...

Suppose you have a famous red apple variety. The planting site for this tree is perfect. suitable for your garden plot, the root system is strong, you get lots of delicious red apples from her. The tree is big enough quite strong, and also winters well. Your friend told you about his beautiful apple tree with green fruits, which he grows in his garden. And now you're wondering what would be It's nice to have green apples too. But you don't have room to plant another tree, or maybe you don't want to wait a few years before another tree will begin to bear fruit.

What solution? Of course - vaccination!

Attach a small shoot or bud from a green apple tree to your red apple tree and you will have one tree producing both red and green apples at the same time. You are still spend the same amount of time caring for one tree, watering no more than earlier and at the same time you have the same space in your garden as before, but now you have another kind of apple for your family that you can enjoy!

Other example...

Let's say y you have a cherry variety A, which has been growing in your garden for many years and is beautiful complements the look of your yard. The problem is that during the ripening period of berries, cherry fly lays larvae, while completely affecting almost the entire harvest. By the end of June, your yard is full of brown, spoiled cherries. But you don't want to use agrochemicals, and you don't want to cut down the tree, and you really want to enjoy the cherry harvest. What can you do to save the tree? How can you use this tree to get quality harvest?

Answer - graft.

you know about cherry, let's call it variety B. This variety begins to produce berries a little later, in the first or second half of July, after the fly has disappeared. you instill variety B on your variety A tree and still save the harvest!

Exists there are many examples, but I hope these will help you understand the reasons for inoculation much better.

Fruit tree grafting - method no. 1 (simple copulation)

For a better understanding, suppose we instill tree A to tree B.


First the way to do this is to take a cutting from tree A (graft), hold it vertically and make an oblique cut at the bottom to the middle, exposing the inner piece of wood.

like this looks like a prepared cutting that we used from tree A. Then we go to tree B (rootstock) and find a branch with a suitable diameter, on which we want to graft.

We will reduce rootstock stalk (tree B), cutting off part of it. To do this, we cut off half the width of the top of the branch to fit the same cut as we are done to graft from tree A and merge these two branches.

Make sure that the bark of cuttings A and B is in good contact with each other. This is necessary for get the best result, because trees grow as new ones divide cells under the bark, and these cells distribute water and nutrition throughout the tree. Then wrap the grafting area with grafting tape for good fixation and retention. Close it all with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect. Poke a few holes in the bag for ventilation. This vaccination carried out at the end of winter, when the tree has no leaves. FROM spring, when the temperature begins to rise, shoot A will begin to grow. Open the package gradually as the escape begins leaves appear. In a few weeks, when more will grow from the tree branches and everything seems to be growing well, you can remove the graft tape.

Grafting fruit trees - method no. 2 (grafting behind the bark with a thorn)

For this method, we need to cut the end of the cutting A into a spike, exposing the middle of the shoot with both sides.

At the same time it is better to leave some bark on one side.

then peel only the bark of branch B.

Insert cutting A between the bark and the rest of the branch of tree B.

Again, make sure that the remaining bark of cutting A is aligned with the bark of tree B.

This method good if you want to transplant several shoots to a wide branch. Then you can peel the bark, say in three places around a wide branch and insert three escapes.

Do that Same as method 1. Wrap the grafted area with grafting tape, cover plastic bag and so on.

Fruit tree grafting - method no. 3 (cleft grafting)

In this method, stalk A will be cut in the same way as in method 2, but tree branch B (after we shorten it and clear it of leaves) you need to split it along center, 2.5 centimeters deep.

then insert cutting A into branch B.

Make sure that the remaining bark on cutting A is aligned with the bark of tree B. The rest of the process is the same as described above, wrap with grafting tape, cover plastic bag and so on.

Fruit tree grafting - method no. 4 (T-notch budding without wood)

In this method, you do not need to cut the branch that you want to graft, just leave it as it is...


Search good bud on tree A (graft).

Do transverse incision below the kidney by 1.5 cm and even above the kidney by 1.5 cm. it is necessary to cut only here, and not around the entire branch.


then make a longitudinal incision behind the kidney, connecting the upper and lower transverse incisions. Again, cut only the bark.


Very carefully, so as not to spoil the kidney, peel off a piece of bark with a kidney ...

Until she will be removed.

then go to tree B (rootstock) and find the branch you want to replant. Place a piece of bark with a bud from tree A onto a branch of tree B and mark its top and bottom.

Set aside a kidney with the bark to the side and make two cross cuts on tree B where you made marks by cutting only the bark.

then make another cut down the center in the middle to connect the two cuts, previously made by you. Next, open a small window of bark to attach tree buds A.

Take bark bud from tree A (graft) and insert it into the bark window on tree B (rootstock).

wrap area with budding tape or sterile tissue, but be careful not to close or not damage the kidney itself.

Finally, cut a piece of bark around tree B about 25 cm above the grafted area.

We do this is to make sure that water and nutrients remain in the grafted areas. Without the bark, the top of the branch will dry out and eventually you can cut it.

In this case, it is not necessary to cover with a plastic bag. But don't forget do it at the end of winter. A new growth will appear from the kidney in the spring, and after a few weeks you will be able to remove the package.

Here is an example old grafted mulberry.

You can see the difference in bark color between two tree trunks.

This is in the yard my mother-in-law and every year she gets two kinds of mulberries from one tree. I not sure exactly what method was used to graft this tree, but the fruits of the second tree are much sweeter and larger than the fruits of the first.

You see difference? This is some kind of magic.

Now you know that if you have a problem with a fruit tree that grows in your garden, this problem can be solved by grafting.

**Also read Fruit Tree Grafting - Step by Step **

Fruit Tree Grafting - Step by Step

Fruit Tree Grafting - Step by Step.

A couple of years ago, I managed to visit Israel. During the trip, I traveled around the gardens with magnificent fruit trees, which stretched right in the middle of the desert. In one of them, I met a local farmer who was doing garden work on fruit trees.

I decided to watch this guy at work. And what do you think? He approached me and offered to participate in pruning and grafting the garden.


Some time later I wrote an article 4 ways to graft fruit trees, which is one of the most successful articles on my blog.

And I understand why... Vaccination is a rather complicated process. There are many benefits to grafting and that is why people have been grafting fruit trees for many years. But the truth is, there are not many people who know how to do it right. After all, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong.

That's why it's so valuable to learn from a specialist who has a lot of experience.

Our last visit to Israel was during vaccination season. I got a lot of experience, which I want to share with you.

But let's start from the beginning...

What is vaccination?

Grafting refers to the union of two living trees of the same family, by combining a shoot or bud with a growing tree.

What are the benefits of vaccination?

In my publication 4 Methods for Grafting Fruit Trees, I gave several examples in which cuttings from one tree can be transplanted onto a growing tree.

There are many benefits of grafting... But the main benefit that comes to mind is that you can grow two different types of fruit on the same citrus tree, eg orange and lemon. Or on one fruit tree, you can grow green and red apples.

And because you only have one tree, you don't need extra space, no more watering, fertilizing or pruning that tree, and as a result, you get two different types of fruit.

Grafting also saves time in harvesting. When you plant a new tree, you will need to wait a long time until the tree begins to produce a good harvest. In the event that you transplant a cutting from one tree to a tree that is already growing, you will get a harvest in a few short seasons.

Grafting can also save a diseased or broken tree. You will see it in the tutorial below. We used the trunk and roots of a tree that was no longer able to bear fruit and was gradually dying.

Another advantage of vaccination is the fight against insects and diseases. If your tree is suffering from this scourge and you know there is another variety that does much better in your area, you can graft that variety onto your tree to make it more resistant to insect and disease infestation.

In addition, some trees have female and male flowers and you need to plant them so that they pollinate each other and produce a crop (this is called cross-pollination). Pears, plums, and pecans are trees in this category. This way you can graft male and female flowers onto a single tree that will pollinate itself. Miracles, right?

What to inoculate with what?

It all depends on the crops that you grow... These can be pome, stone, berry, nut, grape, oil, citrus, tonic and spicy, diverse and others. Basically, you must remember that in order for the grafted trees to be successful, they must be from the same family.

For example, trees of the rose family such as peaches, nectarines and plums can be grafted together. They can also be grafted with the almond tree, as it is from the same family.

Olive varieties may be grafted onto each other.

Different varieties of apples (eg honeycrisp and gala) or apples and crabapples may be grafted together.

Before grafting you need to make sure that the combination of these varieties will do well together.

Of course, the best way is to ask someone who has already done it and has a lot of experience.

When should I be vaccinated?

Unfortunately, trees cannot be grafted at any time of the year.

Generally vaccinated at the end of winter, shortly before the onset of spring; before the tree starts to wake up and when the branches are still without leaves.

The best time to get vaccinated is around late February or early March. During this period, pay close attention to the weather.

It is best to vaccinate on a sunny but not hot day. Trees need a lot of light, but not too much heat.

Now that we've covered the basics, let's jump into the field and see how it's done...

Grafting an olive tree

The first tree we decided to graft was an olive tree. A couple of years ago, a strong gust of wind split this tree in the center and since then it has stopped fruiting.

Here's another angle. The trunk split almost to the very bottom.

In this case, grafting was done to save the tree. Instead of uprooting the tree or simply cutting it down, we took advantage of the existing root system and grafted a new variety of olive onto it.

The first step is cutting. We needed to cut down the tree below where it split and prepare it for grafting.

Rike (the local farmer I mentioned earlier) worked with a small chainsaw to cut neatly... required.

This tree had another big branch coming out of its trunk. We could have left her and had a tree producing two kinds of olives, but since those olives didn't taste very good, we pruned her too, preparing her for grafting.

That's it. Now we were ready to start.

Rajk had his own olive grove that he had tended for years, so he brought with him some young branches from one of the trees.

It is very important that you graft cuttings from a tree you know or from someone you absolutely trust. You need to make sure that the cutting is taken from a healthy tree, so as not to harm your own, and that the grafted tree produces a healthy and tasty fruit.

It would be a shame to do all this work and find out after a few seasons that the tree gives a poor and poor quality crop.

Then use a very sharp, straight blade grafting knife to prepare the cuttings...

This is the cutting we started with first...

Look at the tiny bud between the branch and the leaf? You should make sure that it is not damaged, because this is where the new tree will grow.

The leaves were carefully and carefully removed…

Cuttings should be shortened to about ten centimeters.

Okay, now look at the photo above. See the difference between the two shoots?

The left stalk is positioned so that its buds are directed upwards, while the buds of the right stalk are directed downwards. You want your tree to be grafted properly - make sure the buds on the graft are pointing up! This rule should not be forgotten.

Holding the cutting vertically, we made an oblique cut at the bottom (2.5 cm) to the middle, exposing the inside of the wood. This is the #1 method in article 4 of fruit tree grafting method.

Remember to use a sharp, straight blade. Do not sharpen the cutting towards you, it is safer to do it away from you.

Then use your knife to make a small incision in the bark of the tree...

Insert the scion into the prepared hole.

A few notes... If you choose the right time for grafting, the bark will easily separate from the wood. If this is not the case, you can try to get vaccinated, but the chances of survival will be greatly reduced. If, however, your vaccination is not successful, do not forget to try to do it at another time. Some types of vaccinations are given only once a year (this may be as little as one week before or after a certain period).

It is very important that the bark of the scion is in good contact with the bark of the rootstock. This is necessary to get the best result, because the trees grow as new cells divide under the bark, and these cells distribute water and nutrition throughout the tree.

The graft was firmly inserted behind the bark of the rootstock ...

Then did the same on the other side ...

And now we have two shoots ...

See how the buds are located on the scion?

This is how the grafting site looks from above.

Now that the grafts and rootstock were connected, it was necessary to fix them tightly at the grafting site.

A special grafting tape is used for this. It is made of polyethylene and does not have an adhesive layer. It also serves to protect the grafting site from moisture evaporation, the penetration of fungi and insects. You can find it here.

We started wrapping the tree tightly. In addition, we wrapped the grafting site so that the grafting tape was higher than the top of the tree trunk. This is necessary to protect the vaccine from water in case it rains.

After making a few turns around the graft, we secured the end of the graft tape by tying it into a knot (you can also secure it with tape).

To keep the graft warm and humid, we put a plastic bag over the graft. Thus, we have created a greenhouse effect.

This is how it looks…

And tied it at the bottom.

Since solar activity was very high even in early spring, we put a paper bag over a plastic bag.

You can skip this step.

We tied the paper bag at the bottom to keep it in place.

And one of the sides was opened so that direct sunlight did not fall on the graft.

Once some green leaves start to grow, remove the paper bag and poke a hole in the plastic bag. When the young growth is a few centimeters and the grafting looks successful, remove the paper bag completely. Then give the tree a few more months to grow before removing the tape.

We used the same method of grafting on the trunk of the same tree...

We prepared the cuttings, made cuts in the bark of the tree and inserted the grafts.

Then we wrapped it with grafting tape...

And since we had a wider rootstock, we added twine around the tape to make sure everything stayed in place. We closed it in the same way, using a plastic and paper bag.

And one more example...

Grafted almond tree

Grafted almond tree that has not previously produced a good harvest.

After we had finished grafting the olive tree, we went to the Rayka olive grove. He did not have enough experience in growing large almonds, so Ryke decided to graft a peach on him.

It usually takes several months for an olive tree to be grafted, but in the case of a peach it takes only a few weeks.

Since the combination of almond and peach is fast growing, we had to use a different grafting method.

Since there will be fast growth and good establishment, we used thin cuttings, which we split in the center, 2.5 cm deep.

We cut the end of the cutting into a spike, exposing the middle of the shoot on both sides.

Like this…

At the same time, don't forget to leave some bark on the back side of the cutting.

Then, we inserted two shoots so that the narrow edge of the scion was directed towards the center of the branch, and the wide part with the bark was in contact with the bark of the rootstock.

Another angle.

This is method no. 3, which is described in article 4 of the method of grafting fruit trees. If we were to use the same grafting method as on an olive tree, then the grafted branch would most likely break under the weight of the rapidly growing young growth.

Then we made a few turns of grafting tape…

And tightly fixed the grafting…

Covered with a plastic bag on top. This time we did not use a paper bag.

We grafted three branches of this tree and left a couple of almond branches.

After a while, young shoots with green leaves will begin to appear, which will turn into branches. This will indicate that the vaccine has taken root. After that, the package can be removed.

Lemon graft

Here is an example of a summer graft. In this case, a lemon tree was grafted onto which another lemon variety was grafted.

First we removed the plastic bags, but left the grafting tape to fix the grafting site until the new branches were fully established. After a while, the grafting tape will collapse itself, under the influence of ultraviolet rays.

You can see that everything is done in the same way as on the olive tree, but only one shoot took root.

Another example. Here, both shoots on both sides of the trunk took root.

Lemon tree with two scions of different varieties.

Let's go back to olive trees.

I've added a couple of photos of the grafted olive tree you saw at the beginning of this article. These photos were taken less than six months after we grafted this tree.

Not every vaccination is successful, but in this case everything went well. It's great to watch two trees join together!

So, let's remember what you need to know about vaccination.

  • Grafting should be done at the end of winter, before the tree starts to wake up. There is also a summer vaccination.
  • Check cuttings before grafting. Make sure both trees are from the same family.
  • Be sure to take young cuttings from a healthy tree that you know. This tree should produce a good harvest of tasty fruits.
  • Choose the right grafting method to increase your survival rate.
  • Use a sharp knife with a straight blade.
  • Make sure that the buds of the cutting you are grafting point upwards.
  • Make sure that the scion is in close contact with the rootstock.
  • Use grafting tape to secure the graft site and a plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect.
  • Check your tree regularly.

What I saw in the gardens just fascinated me! I think if you read this article to the end, it will be fascinating for you too.

I look forward to experimenting with my trees in my own garden. I think it's great to have one tree that produces three or four kinds of fruit.

Later on on our trip, I also met another farmer who works on a large farm. They grow everything: watermelons, garlic, wheat and many other crops. But they don't grow their own plants in greenhouses, they buy them from a giant plant nursery. He told me that they also do vaccinations in this nursery. For example, they graft watermelons onto pumpkin stalks.


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