How to Graft Adult Citrus Trees


Grafting is the process of combing two plants to form a hardier hybrid. Grafting old trees with young limbs is top working. Farmers top work citrus, apple and nut trees to extend the tree's overall productive life in an orchard.

Step 1

Select a piece of bud wood from a young citrus tree. The bud wood should be roughly eight inches long with at least one leaf petiole.

Step 2

Saw off two to three limbs from the adult citrus tree. Do not remove more than 1/3 of its foliage.

Step 3

Cut an upside down "T", four inches in length, into the bark at the base of the removed limb with the grafting knife. Form a point at the end of the bud wood by removing some of the wood from both sides of the bud wood. Do not make this cut larger than 3 inches.

Step 4

Slide the bud wood into the bark of the "T" until all of the exposed bud wood is tucked inside.

Step 5

Wrap the bud wood in grafting tape to hold it in place. For the best outcome, use wax-based grafting tape, as it will stretch with the limb and fall off naturally.

Step 6

Apply two layers of grafting wax with a paintbrush over the entire grafting site. Grafting wax protects the area from insects and disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Bud wood
  • Saw
  • Grafting knife
  • Grafting tape
  • Grafting wax
  • Paintbrush


  • Tree Help: Propagation by Grafting
  • Cornell University Agricultural Extension: Grafting for Clonal Selection and Propagation of Otherwise Difficult-to-Clone Plants
Keywords: grafting citrus, top working citrus, rejuvenating citrus

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