How to Graft Budding Fruit Trees


Growing fruit trees from seed is often an exercise in frustration--planting seeds from a fruit can produce a tree whose fruit is unpalatable. The best means of producing a good fruit tree is by grafting branches from a mature tree known to be a good fruit producer onto a healthy rootstock. A rootstock is a root or a part of root used for plant propagation. Rootstock is available from many nurseries and good gardening centers. A branch grafted onto rootstock will cause the newly grafted tree to produce fruit like the tree the scion came from, preventing not-so-sweet surprises. Whip grafting is the best method and is best accomplished in the spring or fall.

Step 1

Cut scion wood from a disease-free dormant donor plant 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter and 12 to 18 inches long, says the University of Missouri. The wood is best if it is 1 year old and well-developed with vegetation and buds. Scion wood should be as thick or smaller in diameter than the rootstock, which is the grafting point for the scion.

Step 2

Wrap the scion wood in a wet paper towel, place it in a plastic bag and put into in a refrigerator at 32 degrees F for three months.

Step 3

Make a cut that is 1 to 2 1/2 inches long on the rootstock, says the University of California, and make an identical cut on the scion wood. Fit the two pieces together, making sure the inner wood is touching while trying not to split the bark.

Step 4

Bind the two pieces together using grafting tape and seal the tape using the liquid asphalt to protect the wound from disease, the University of Minnesota says. Remove the tape once there is noticeable growth on the scion, meaning the graft has taken.

Things You'll Need

  • Scion
  • Rootstock
  • Pruning shears
  • Sharp knife
  • Grafting tape
  • Asphalt water emulsion
  • Plastic bag


  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Budding and Grafting Fruits and Nuts
  • University of California: Budding and Grafting Citrus and Avacodos in the Home Garden
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees
Keywords: graft fruit trees, budding fruit trees, tree propagation

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.