Grafting is the process of joining two or more different plants together so they unite and grow as one. This is done for a number of reasons- to grow a new variety, to produce cultivars that are true to seed or to ensure the root system adapts to the soil and climate conditions of a particular area. Almost all varieties of fruit trees can be grafted to produce healthier and more succulent fruit. The upper part of the graft is called the scion while the lower part is the rootstock.
How to Graft a Fruit Tree
Select a healthy, disease free scion twig with a ¼ to 3/8-inch diameter that is at least a year old and has two to three visible buds on it. Make sure it is the same size as the rootstock, or the lower part of the tree that you want to graft it with. The ideal time to cut scion is in the winter when the tree is dormant.
Use a sharp clean knife that has been washed thoroughly and placed in a container of alcohol to kill bacteria. Make a 1-inch sharp, straight and diagonal cut through the outer bark of the scion wood through the nutrient dense tissue.
Wrap the scion in a layer of sphagnum moss or moist saw dust and place in a zipper bag. Store the bag in a cool moist place such as a refrigerator until spring, when you can graft your fruit tree.
Select a rootstock from a similar fruit tree variety that can be a stem with roots, or a part of the root itself. Make a diagonal cut similar to the one made on the scion with a sharp clean knife, ideally in April or May.
Place the scion over the rootstock tightly, so the cambium tissues-the area directly under the bark-of both pieces meet. If the pieces are not the same size, try to match the cambium tissue of one side so the graft is successful. This point where the scion and rootstock meet is called the union.
Wrap grafting tape or electrical tape over the union to cover it, prevent it from drying up and encourage both pieces to fuse and grow as a single plant. You can also apply a uniform layer of grafting wax over the union and any cut surfaces.