Budding & Grafting Pecan Trees

Overview

The pecan tree is a nut tree that is native to the Mississippi river valley. There, Native Americans used the nut tree as a food source for thousands of years. During this time, pecan nuts were primarily harvested from seedling trees. In 1846, the first grafted pecan, Centennial, was created. Today, the majority of pecan trees are created through grafting and budding.

Ring Budding

Step 1

Select a seedling pecan for budding that is between 1 and 2 years old with a stem that is ½ inch in diameter. Select a scion pecan tree that is slightly larger than the seedling pecan. The scion should have a bark layer that slips away from the trunk of the tree easily.

Step 2

Select a smooth section of the scion bark with a bud on it. Make a horizontal cut through the bark and into the trunk of the tree at a point 1 inch below the bud. Circle the trunk of the tree with the knife until each end of the cut touches and the cut encircles the tree.

Step 3

Make a second cut encircling the bark of the scion tree at a point 1 inch above the bud. Make a horizontal cut between the two vertical cuts on the side of the scion tree that is opposite the bud.

Step 4

Remove a 2-inch ring from your root stock tree. Peel away the bark from the root stock tree to expose a 2-inch wide ring of tree trunk.

Step 5

Peel the strip of bud and bark carefully from the scion. Trim the edges of the scion's bark so that it will fit inside the ring of exposed trunk in your root stock tree. Ensure that the bark layers of the root stock tree touch the bark of the scion.

Step 6

Wrap the ring graft with polyethylene grafting tape. Remove the tape within a few weeks when the ring graft heals together. When the bud has sprouted into a branch, remove the dominant leader of the root stock tree and train the sprouted branch into a dominant leader.

Four Flap Graft

Step 1

Choose a scion and a root stock pecan tree that are the same diameter. The best seedling trees for this type of graft are ½ inch in diameter. The scion should be 6 inches long and have at least 3 buds. Coat the top cut end of the scion with glue to prevent it from drying while the lower, joined end heals.

Step 2

Cut each plant horizontally across the trunk with a grafting knife.

Step 3

Wrap a rubber band around the cut-off root stock trunk and roll the band 3 inches down the trunk.

Step 4

Make four vertical incisions into the trunk of the tree through the bark and into the wood. Each incision should extend 1 ½ inches down the trunk of the tree and should be spaced equally around the tree.

Step 5

Peel the bark flaps away from the wood carefully. Then roll the rubber band back up the length of the root stock trunk to hold the bark flaps against the wood and prevent drying while you prepare your scion.

Step 6

Cut 1 inch from the end of the scion wood to ensure that the wood is green and healthy.

Step 7

Cut the bark away from the scion wood on four sides, starting at a point 1 ½ inches from the end of the scion and peeling upward.

Step 8

Roll the rubber band down the root stock, peel back the bark flaps and remove the wood from the end of your root stock trunk near the point that the flaps of bark rejoin the trunk.

Step 9

Place the scion trunk onto the root stock trunk and fold the bark flaps over the scion trunk. Roll the rubber band back up the flaps to secure them to the scion wood. Ensure that the bark flaps touch the bark of the scion wood so that the two will heal together.

Step 10

Wrap the union with grafting tape to completely cover the scion and root stock where the bark flaps cover the scion wood. Wrap the tape with aluminum foil. The foil will reflect light and prevent the union from overheating.

Step 11

Wrap plastic wrap around the foil-covered union to prevent the union from drying. The buds of the scion will begin to grow within 6 weeks. Leave the coverings in place an additional 6 weeks before removing them.

Things You'll Need

  • Scion wood
  • Grafting knife
  • Root stock wood
  • Polyethylene grafting tape
  • Glue
  • Rubber band
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap

References

  • Texas A&M Extension:The Four-Flap Graft
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Budding and Grafting Fruits and Nuts
  • "American Horticultural Manual Vol. 1"; J. L. Budd; 1902

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: The Pecan Tree
Keywords: grafting trees, budding trees, propagating pecan trees

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."