How to Graft Fruit Trees to Rootstock


Grafting, a plant propagation process, reproduces specific varieties of fruit trees by surgically combining two different varieties. Whip grafting offers the most successful way to graft fruit trees to rootstock. In whip grafting, cultivators tape two diagonally cut pieces--rootstock and budwood--together. The best time of year to graft a tree is in late winter at the end of the plant's dormant season.

Step 1

Select your root stock. The best root stocks are locally grown from seeds and will be very hardy.

Step 2

Select your budwood. The best budwood will be the newest growth from the desired fruit tree, free from any diseases or pests and roughly the same diameter as the root stock's trunk.

Step 3

Remove the budwoood from its tree with a razor-sharp grafting knife. Make a clean, diagonal single cut to remove it from the tree.

Step 4

Make a similar clean cut on the rootstock and place the two pieces together. Match up the middle green layer (cambium layer) as much as possible because that is the layer that plants use to transfer nutrients.

Step 5

Firmly tape the graft together using a wax-based grafting tape. Wax-based tapes will stretch with the graft as it grows and eventually fall off naturally once the branch is healthy.

Step 6

Keep the grafted fruit tree in a warm, light place until the leaf buds begin to open. This usually takes eight weeks.

Step 7

Transplant the tree outside once you are certain that there will be no further frosts.

Things You'll Need

  • Root stock
  • Budwood
  • Grafting knife
  • Grafting tape


  • West Virginia University Extension Service: Whip Grafting
Keywords: whip grafting, grafting fruit trees, fruit tree propagation

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