How to Graft a Lemon Tree


Lemons provide a delicious drink and can enhance almost any meal, which is why you decided to grow your lemon tree. Unfortunately, you have also figured out that lemon trees can take quite a while before they produce fruit. Luckily, there is an easy solution. You can graft a cutting from an older lemon tree onto your small sapling and have fruit by the next year. This process is done by taking a small bud from an old tree and inserting it into a young tree near the roots.

Step 1

Find a lemon tree that produces at a high rate with the highest-quality fruit. Just search your neighborhood or city for lemon trees and ask the owners of the best ones if you may take a few small branches from the tree.

Step 2

Find a small lemon sapling from your local garden center. The trunk of the sapling needs to be only a pencil's width.

Step 3

Take the cuttings from the older tree in the growth season between early spring and late fall. Look for branches that are small but have begun to harden. Do not use new branches that have sprouted that season. Plan to use these branches as soon as you take them from the tree. Trim the branches to 8 to 12 inches in length and cut off all the leaves.

Step 4

Locate a pointed bud on the cuttings. Using a very sharp knife, cut from the top of the bud down, removing the bud from the tree. Do not touch the cut surface of the bud. Hold the bud by the pointed surface or tail.

Step 5

Use the knife to make a small incision in the sapling roughly 12 inches above the soil. Make a small incision downward and then across, so the cut resembles an upside-down "t."

Step 6

Insert the bud you have cut from the older tree into the "t" incision and under the bark on the sapling, allowing the pointed bud to stick out slightly from the cut.

Step 7

Wrap plastic bags or tape two or three times above and below the cuttings and then gently over the bud.

Step 8

Wait three weeks and remove the wraps. If the bud is greed, the process is working. If the bud is brown or black, you will need to try again. In the event of a green bud, cut the top of sapling off about an inch above the grafting. Remove any other buds that have grown on the sapling. Allow the tree to grow normally.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Pruning shears
  • Tape or plastic bag


  • Grafting Citrus Trees
  • New Mexico State University
  • Tree Help
Keywords: take cutting, pointed bud, lemon tree

About this Author

Lily Obeck is a copywriter based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She writes for print, online, outdoor and broadcast marketing, with expertise in health, education and lifestyle topics. Obeck holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Texas and works as a part-time children's library assistant.