Scions are cuttings made from a parent plant that are then grafted onto another tree to pass on desirable genetic traits such as disease resistance or fruit production. This is a common practice with fruit trees such as apple, apricot and orange trees. Collection of scions and grafting may require several tries before a graft will take, especially with tree varieties which are difficult to propagate. Cutting and storing the scion properly is essential to success.
Locate a mature tree that is free of disease and grows healthy, large fruit. The quality of the fruit of this parent tree is what you should get on the tree that will result from the scion you are grafting.
Locate a young branch, around a year old, during the dormant season, for your cutting. The branch should be at least pencil thick. If grafting to rootstock, the branch should be about the same size as, or slightly smaller than, the rootstock. Early or late winter is the best time to collect your scion.
Cut the scion branch so that the cut branch is 6 to 8 inches in length. The cut that removes the scion from the tree should be made an inch below the lowest bud of the branch. New growth that is 1 foot in length will provide the right size of branch for this cut.
Wrap the scion in a wet paper towel and place the branch in a refrigerator cooled to 32 degrees. The scion will keep for two to five months, allowing you to graft in the spring.