How Do I Graft an Orange Tree?

Overview

Although many oranges are started from seed, these trees may take up to eight years to produce fruit. A fruit tree grown in a container from seed may never produce fruit. Because of this, many orange tree producers choose to grow oranges by grafting a bud from one type of orange onto the roots of another type of orange. A dominant leader from one type of bud stick will produce a plant that matures faster than one grown from seed.

Step 1

Select a bud stick from a plant with healthy growth that produces desirable fruits. The best bud sticks come from a healthy section of limb in which the bark will slip off of the limb easily. The stick should have large, fully formed buds. Cut the bud stick from an exterior branch with good growth.

Step 2

Place a grafting knife ¾ inch below a bud. Slice upward and backward into the bud at a shallow angle until the blade reaches a point ¾ inch above the bud.

Step 3

Turn the blade so that it faces outward and slice out of the bud stick to remove the bud and a shield-shaped sliver of wood from the branch.

Step 4

Place the bud in a plastic bag with a tablespoonful of water to keep the bud from drying.

Step 5

Make a T-shaped incision less than 2 inches in diameter in the trunk of a young, understock tree. Peel the flaps of bark back and slip the shield-shaped bud into the pocket made by the two flaps. Close the flaps around the incision.

Step 6

Wrap the bark around the bud with polyetheline grafting tape to prevent the bud from drying out. Do not cover the bud with the tape.

Step 7

Remove the leader of the root stock at a point above the bud once the bud sprouts. The sprout will become the new trunk and branches of the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Grafting knife
  • Orange tree for bud sticks
  • Plastic bag
  • Orange tree for root stock
  • Polyethylene grafting tape

References

  • Mississippi State University: Fruit and Nut Review
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension System: Budding and Grafting Fruits and Nuts
  • Texas A&M University Extension: T or Shield Budding

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M University Extension: Home Fruit Production - T- Budding Citrus
Keywords: grafting orange trees, propagating citrus trees, bud grafting

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."