Grafting is a horticultural practice of joining two compatible plant parts together so they grow as a single plant. The upper part of the grafted plant is called the "scion" and develops the leaves, flowers and fruit, while the lower part is the "rootstock," "understock" or simply "stock" and develops the root system, thus serving as the foundation of the plant. This asexual propagation method is suitable for fruit and ornamental trees, certain types of conifers and roses. Proper care for the grafted plant is important so it grows and develops into a healthy fruit or landscape tree.
Cut a 4-inch long piece for the scion from a disease-free plant. Make sure it is at least a year old and has three dormant buds. Make a sharp diagonal cut with a clean knife that separates it from the parent plant. Take several scions to allow for damage or disease.
Place the scion in a plastic bag filled with moist peat moss and refrigerate until spring when you will graft it to the rootstock. Mist the moss frequently so it stays moist.
Make a cut in the host plant (for the rootstock) that matches the cut on the scion in early to mid-spring. This ensures maximum contact of cambium tissues of both pieces, which is essential for a successful graft. (Cambium is the nutrient-rich tissue under the bark.) Use a sharp, clean knife to make a cut at least 6 inches above ground level in the parent plant.
Place the cut surface of the scion over the cut on the rootstock. Fit them as tight as possible for maximum cambium contact under exposed surfaces that's comprised of a thin layer of cells. Try to match one side if cuts do not match. This point where both parts meet is the "union."
Apply grafting wax or tape over the union and other cut surfaces. This protects the wounds and encourages the different parts to fuse together and grow as a single plant. Remove the wax if it does not fall off naturally a month after the scion begins to grow.