Grafting a Dogwood Tree

Overview

Grafting a dogwood tree can be a daunting task for beginners. If you want to turn your white dogwood into a pink dogwood, however, grafting is pretty much your only option. You can also graft a dogwood tree to make it bicolored, so that both pink and white blooms appear on one tree. Whatever your desired outcome, grafting a dogwood tree doesn't have to be a time-consuming or hair-pulling ordeal, as long as you have the right tools, guidance and tips to make your grafting project a blooming success.

Step 1

Graft your dogwood tree during winter or early spring, when both the scion and rootstock are still dormant. If your tree is planted in a container, move it indoors during grafting and place it in a cold but protected area afterward.

Step 2

Select your scion by looking for a healthy, insect- and disease-free shoot that grew the previous season. Make sure the scion wood isn't frozen or has suffered any winter damage. Your scion should be between 6 and 8 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter.

Step 3

Sever the scion. Trim the scion's cut end into a wedge shape.

Step 4

Disinfect your knife or pruning shears before and after cutting the scion wood. Place your tool in a solution of three parts denatured alcohol to one part water.

Step 5

Cut off the rootstock about a foot above the roots, and then slice the rootstock vertically. The rootstock that you're using for the graft should be between 1 and 4 inches in diameter. Use a small tool wedge and a mallet to split the rootstock down 2 to 3 inches.

Step 6

Insert the scion wedge into the slice. Secure the graft by sealing all cut surfaces with grafting wax or grafting paint. Heat the grafting wax before applying it so that it's hot enough to flow but not so hot that it will damage the grafted wood. Grafting paint does not require heating.

Tips and Warnings

  • All parts of the tree above the graft site will take on the scion's characteristics, and all parts below will retain the characteristics from the rootstock--so if the rootstock is a pink dogwood and the scion is a white dogwood, all parts of the tree above the graft site will resemble a white dogwood.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp knife or pruning shears
  • Alcohol solution
  • Tool wedge and mallet
  • Grafting wax or grafting paint

References

  • Grafting and Budding Nursery Crop Plants
  • Bi-Color Dogwood Bloom

Who Can Help

  • Flowering Dogwood
Keywords: grafting dogwood trees, graft dogwoods, cleft graft technique

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.