Grafting

Grafting Tips By Chapter Members

Robert Scott: "I have learned that the right time to graft sub-tropical and tropicals is when the mother plant is pushing new growth and bud wood has small growth buds showing in general!"

Roger Eberhardt: "I like to put 2 scions on thick root stock or branches, same or different varieties to optimize success and opportunities."

Marv Daniels: "Line up the cambiums." (Novices: the cambium is the growing plant tissue between the wood and the bark.)

Joe Sabol: "Rubber strips are used in budding. Buddy tape is used in budding. I like the rubber strip to wrap a bud tight. Then, as an added insurance for success, wrap with Buddy tape to keep the bud union moist and happy. I know of NO ONE who would use both. Most folk would laugh at wasting time and effort to use both. I think the extra effort and "double wrap" will help those of us who are still looking for 100% success with budding!!!"

Dara Manker: "Cats make bad grafting assistants!"

The Magic of Grafting

Grafting is the process of joining a piece of one tree to a compatible tree, or to rootstock. The piece of tree can be either a twig, called a "scion," or a bud.  Rootstock is a small trunk with roots on one end, usually under 2 feet tall. 

 

Over the next few months the two grow together. When eventually the scion or bud bears fruit of its own, it's fruit will be exactly the same as that of the tree from which it was taken.


Rootstock may have properties such as the ability to resist disease or pests, keep the tree small, tolerate poor soils, or tolerate drought. These characteristics will be passed on to the tree that will result from the scion grafted to it.


The reasons for grafting are numerous. You can:

  • have multiple varieties of fruit on one tree- perfect for small yards or for cross-pollination

  • test multiple varieties on one tree to see if you like the fruit enough to dedicate room for a full tree of that fruit

  • have fruit ripen at different times on one tree, if the varieties you graft to it bear at different times of the year

  • ensure that the fruit you are grafting will be exactly the same as the fruit of the tree from which you took the grafting twig. (If you plant a seed, you may be sure of the genetics of the mother plant, but not necessarily of the plant that has pollinated that seed.)

We all laughed when this little apple tree was grafted with four scions. But the tree had the last laugh when all four scions grew!

Types of Grafts

There are several grafting methods, including the cleft graft, whip graft, bark graft, and bud graft.

Four grafting techniques were highlighted at our March 2019 meeting. To learn more about the cleft, whip 'n tongue, chip bud grafts, and using the Omega grafting tool, see the grafting demonstrations in our March 2019 newsletter.

Learn To Graft

Want to learn how to graft? The Central Coast Chapter of CRFG offers annual grafting demonstrations on the 4th Saturday in February. These tutorials are open to the public, and are part of our Annual Scion Exchange.