Grafting a fruit tree, such as peach, is a form of asexual propagation. The benefit of grafting is that is propagates without the exchange of any genetic material, meaning the grafted branch maintains the qualities of the donor plant. This allows growers to attach a tree branch from a tree with good fruit production to root stock that is resistant to disease, creating a new form of tree. Some tree varieties are only propagated through grafting, as seeds from the tree do not grow, or grow a different variety all together. Here, we will use a whip graft to propagate a new tree.
Locate a branch on the donor tree that is at least 1 year old and is between 6 to 12 inches long. The University of Georgia recommends finding a branch from the previous growing season.
Cut the branch while the plant is dormant in winter, underneath a bud, and wrap the end with a wet paper towel and put it in the refrigerator. This is your scion. Leave it in the refrigerator until the scion is ready to graft in the spring. Do not allow the scion to dry out.
Buy a rootstock from a nursery or use rootstock from an established tree in your garden or orchard.
Make cuts using a sharp knife about 1 1/2 inches long on the scion and the trunk coming up from the rootstock. The University of Minnesota Extension recommends making a straight cut down the middle of the original diagonal cut on the rootstock and scion to make a forked tongue.
Fit the forked tongue of the scion and rootstock together. Bind the two pieces together using grafting tape. If the weather is cold still, wrap the graft in a clear plastic bag.
Remove the grafting tape after a one or two months, once the graft has healed. Remember to remove the grafting tape, as leaving it on will cause a deformation of the branch.