Budding and Grafting- How to Bud and Graft Shrubs and Trees


Budding and Grafting is a technique that can provide the gardener with better trees and shrubs. There are many techniques that you need to know about budding and grafting plants. Plant parts may be spliced for many different reasons. Some gardeners may want a dwarf plant, a more hardy plant, or maybe even a plant that shows resistance to pests or types of diseases. If you are looking for a way to get quality plants, then Budding and Grafting may be the way to go. Many other ways also exist to  help the gardener with their plants, such  as pruning espaliers, and learning to bonsai trees and shrubs.

Splicing a standard variety of apple onto a root system that keeps the tree small produces a dwarf apple tree. As long as the plants are closely related and the cambium tissue (green tissue between bark and wood) of the parts align in the splice, the cells will grow together. Almond, apricot, European plum, and Japanese plum may be grafted onto a peach root system.

What Is Budding and Grafting?

There are two types of tissue splicing, budding and grafting. Budding uses a bud from the particular variety. It will unite it with a rootstock that will be compatible. Grafting, on the hand, will unite a section of twig with the rootstock that you have chosen. You will find that you will need practice to be successful with these techniques.

Conditions Should be Right for Budding & Grafting

When Budding or grafting, the temperature should be cool to prevent drying and killing the cambium tissue, the humidity should be rather high, and the air should be still.

Budding Techniques

T-budding must be done when the plant is actively growing. Peel back the bark of the under stock and slip a shield-shaped piece of stem with a bud eye into place. Hold the bud in place with electrical tape or a budding strip.

Chip budding may be used on grapes, fruit trees, or woody ornamentals such as roses. Remove a chip of wood a few inches above the soil line from the plant that will function as the root system. Remove a chip exactly the same size from another plant that will for the plant top. Place the bud chip in the chip void,where the space is, on the rootstock.

Be sure the green cambium on each part lines up. Cover the cut surfaces with budding tape or budding strips of rubber to prevent the tissue from drying. Avoid covering the bud by carefully wrapping above and below it and leaving the bud protruding. Once the bud starts growing into a new shoot, remove the old stem above the bud to allow the new shoot to become the new plant top.

Grafting Techniques

In whip-and-tongue grafting, a 3 to 4 inch long piece of twig (scion) with one or two buds is spliced onto the root system of another plant. A whip and tongue graft is one of the easiest grafts to make on young trees. Start with making the graft in late winter on a dormant, bare-root system of a dormant scion. Make a 2 inch sloping diagonal cut through the stem of the root system about 6 inches above the soil line.

Next, make a ½ inch long vertical cut down the stem starting ⅓ of the way down the slope from the tip. Prepare the scion with cuts of the same shape. Force the two cut surfaces to slide together. A tongue-like projection from each will fit into the other. Make sure the cambium tissues lined up as much as possible between the two parts. Wrap the joined are with twine to hold it together and cover with grafting wax or pruning paint to prevent tissue drying.

Use cleft grafts on large rootstocks. Cut off the top of the plant selected for the rootstock. Using a hatchet or cleft-grafting tool, make about a 4 inch long split (cleft) down the center of the rootstock trunk. Cut wedge-shaped ends on two scions ½ inch to diameter. Force a cleft-grafting tool into the cleft to spread it open.

Place the wedges of the scions in the cleft with the cambium of the rootstock and scions contacting one another. Remove the spreading device to leave the scions firmly held in place. Cover all of the exposed cut areas with grafting wax or pruning paint.

Here are some products that might be helpful for your Budding or Grafting projects.

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