How to Graft Dwarf Citrus Trees


A citrus tree grown from seed may not produce new citrus fruit for up to 20 years. Growers of dwarf citrus trees who wish to grow trees that produce citrus blossoms and fruit may get the trees to bloom sooner by propagating the trees through grafting. The preferred method of propagating a citrus tree through grafting is, according to the University of California, a process called T-budding.

Step 1

Place your grafting knife ¾ inch below the bud of a full-sized citrus tree. Angle the knife upward and slanting backward.

Step 2

Slice through the budwood to a point ¾ of an inch above the bud.

Step 3

Turn the grafting knife so that it points outward, and slice so that the bud and sliver of wood is separated from the bud stick.

Step 4

Select a section of stem in the dwarf rootstock and make a vertical cut that is 1-and- ½ inches long and just deep enough to cut through the bark.

Step 5

Make a second perpendicular cut above the vertical cut in the rootstock limb. Slip each flap of bark away from the T-shaped cut to form a pocket in the limb.

Step 6

Slip the shield and bud into the pocket of the bark, with the bud facing outward.

Step 7

Close the flaps over the shield and around the bud. Wrap the cut with grafting tape to protect the union and hold moisture in. Do not wrap the tape over the top of the bud. Unwrap the tape when the bud sprouts.

Step 8

Remove the rootstock branch above the bud once the bud begins to grow. The stick that grows from the bud will become the tree's new leader.

Tips and Warnings

  • In some parts of the country, transport of citrus bud stick, rootstock or soil is against the law. For example, you cannot transport soil across the state lines of California and you cannot bring bud sticks into areas of the San Joaquin valley that did not already grow there. Such laws prevent the spread of citrus diseases. Check with your local law enforcement official to learn your local laws concerning transport of citrus.

Things You'll Need

  • Full sized citrus bud stick branch
  • Dwarf citrus rootstock tree
  • Grafting knife
  • Grafting tape


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees
  • University of California: Budding and Grafting Citrus and Avocados in the Home Garden
  • Texas A&M University Extension: T or Shield Budding

Who Can Help

  • Daley's Fruit: Dwarf Citrus Trees
Keywords: grafting fruit trees, propagating citrus trees, dwarf citrus 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."