How to Propogate Fruit Trees


Fruit trees can be grown using two methods--from seed or through grafting. Seed propagation takes more time and the fruit will not be the exactly what was found on the parent tree. Grafting allows the new fruit to be a duplicate of the original fruit from the tree. Grafting also requires less time and effort. When done properly the fruit tree will yield new growth from the established bud grafted into the tree.

Step 1

Locate a healthy shoot from the originating tree. Look for shoots in late autumn when the tree is entering the dormant cycle; the shoots should be the size and thickness of a pencil. Cut a shoot with pruning shears just below the leaf node.

Step 2

Use the knife to remove the tip and leaves from the shoot after you cut it. Wrap the budstick in a wet paper towel. Put the budstick on a shelf in the refrigerator along the side but not in the back where it can freeze. Leave the budstick in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Step 3

Cut a slice into the budstick 3/4 inch below the selected bud at a 45 degree upward angle. Make this cut 1/4 inch deep. Move the knife up 1 1/2 inches above the first incision. Cut a downward angle behind the bud to the first incision. Hold the bud carefully to avoid handling the interior wood layer. Place the bud in a plastic bag for storage and seal the bag.

Step 4

Locate the host tree to graft the bud into. Locate a branch that is 3/4 inch in diameter. Remove the leaves and shoots from the lower 12 inches of the branch with the knife. Make a shallow vertical incision 1/2 inch long along the top side of this cleared area. Make another cut 1 1/2 inches above the vertical incision forming a "T."

Step 5

Peel back the vertical layer of bark created by the incision in Step 4 to where you see exposed wood. Place the budchip into this incision so that the interior wood of both the host branch and the budchip are touching. Push the budchip down into the incision gently from the top of the "T" until the budchip is held in place by the peeled layer. Wrap the budchip to the rootstock with plastic tape to hold it into position. Apply the tape behind the bud.

Step 6

Wait until the following winter to cut off the growth above the bud. Cut the branch at an angle to remove everything above the bud. Wrap the branch with budding tape, keeping the bud exposed through the tape. Wrap the branch tight. Allow the tape to remain on the branch for up to four weeks. Remove the tape to inspect the area for new shoots which came from the bud.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sharp knife
  • Paper towel
  • Plastic bag
  • Plastic tape
  • Budding tape


  • Cornell University: Grafting and Budding
  • Grafting or Budding Citrus Trees
  • Washington State University Extension: Propagating Deciduous and Evergreen Shrubs, Trees and Vines With Stem Cuttings
  • Integration of Tree Crops into Farming Systems Project: Propagation 2-Cuttings, Stooling and Layering
Keywords: propagating fruit trees, fruit tree grafting, cloning fruit

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.