How to Root Fruit Trees


Rooting fruit trees from cuttings is a process that requires the shoots to be grafted onto hardy root stock prior to inducing rooting. Grafting is a process that joins two plant varieties together to produce a plant that is more adaptable to the growing conditions. Choose a budding shoot from tree variety that has the characteristics you want in your new tree and a rooting shoot from a variety that is hardy and disease resistant. Once the trees are grafted together, the shoots will begin to grow roots to produce a seedling that can be planted.

Step 1

Cut a 12-inch shoot from the previous growing season's growth once the trees go dormant in November. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the shoot. This section is called the "scion" or bud shoot.

Step 2

Bundle all scions together and tie securely. Place them in a cool, moist location until spring. Do not allow the scions to dry out.

Step 3

In the spring, cut a section of stock wood from a different tree variety that is slightly larger in diameter than the scion. This variety should be hardy and disease resistant for rooting to the new tree. Cut the root stock at a 45-degree angle on the top edge.

Step 4

Remove the scions from storage in spring. Cut the bottom edge at a wedge angle with a sharp knife. Remove the top of the scion so that two to three buds are remaining on the lower portion.

Step 5

Cut a slit on the angled section of the scion by cutting from the tip to the ending point of the angled cut. This will create a tongue. Make the same cut on the woody root stock section. Attach the two sections of wood by inserting the tongue sections into each together.

Step 6

Tape the grafted area together to hold in place. Cover the grafted union with grafting compound to protect the union. Cover the grafted stock with a clear plastic covering and place in a humid location that has indirect sunlight.

Step 7

Monitor the shoot growth and remove shoots that begin to grow on the root stock section.

Step 8

Cut the bud stock at 3 inches above the bud to stimulate root growth. Stick the root stock section 2 inches into a pot filled with a well-draining soil that has been moistened. Place the stock in a warm, bright location to produce roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Scion shoot
  • Sharp knife
  • String
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Tape
  • Grafting compound
  • Clear plastic covering
  • Well draining soil
  • Rooting container


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees
  • The University of Georgia: Grafting Fruit Trees in the Home Orchard
  • Gardening Guy: Bud Grafting
Keywords: rooting fruit trees, grafting fruit trees, growing fruit tree shoots

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.