Since fruit trees do not come true from seed, they must be propagated by grafting. Of the various techniques used for grafting fruit trees, T-budding is the most successful for apricot trees. This involves taking and preparing buds from the tree to be propagated and attaching them to the stem of another plant, which is referred to as the rootstock. T-budding can only be done in late spring or summer when the bark of the rootstock will peel away from the trunk easily.
Cut off a shoot of new growth from the source tree. The shoot to be grafted is known as the bud stick or scion. It should be 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick at the cutting point. Cut the leaf stems in half to remove the leaves. Keep the bud stick cool and damp until it is grafted by placing it in wet paper towel out of direct sunlight. Scions can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if they are wrapped in damp paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag.
Remove the buds from the scion by making a cut a 1/2 inch below the bud and slicing in and up. Another cut made a 1/2 inch above the bud and brought down and into the bud stick should separate the bud cleanly. The removed bud will have an oblong or shield-shaped base, with the cut leaf stem sticking out as a handle.
Select a shoot of similar diameter to the bud stick on the grafting tree. Make a vertical incision slightly longer than the bud to be grafted and just deep enough to cut completely through the bark. At the top of this cut, make a horizontal incision about 1 inch wide to form the top of the T. Use a butter knife to gently separate the bark from the trunk.
Slide the bud behind the separated bark with the leaf stem pointing upwards. The bud should be completely covered when the flaps of bark are pushed back against the trunk.
Wrap budding rubber or grafting tape around the trunk to hold the bud firmly in place so that only the leaf stem is exposed. Buds grafted in spring should take within a few weeks and display new growth. After the bud has taken, remove the shoot above it to encourage more growth.
Remove the wrapping from around trunk unless it is biodegradable. Late season grafts normally remain dormant until spring. Remove the shoot above the bud just before last frost to encourage the bud to grow.