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How to Graft Pear Trees

It is not possible to grow a pear tree from the seed of your existing tree and expect the same quality of pear, but grafting a cutting from your favorite pear tree to a new sapling will preserve the old tree’s characteristics and produce the same fruit. The cutting from the old tree is inserted under the bark of the new tree, grows into the bark of the new tree and begins re-growing the old characteristics using the sapling’s young roots.

Find your favorite pear tree, whether it is in your own garden or around your neighborhood. Find a tree that produces the best fruit and is free of diseases or blemishes.

Take cuttings of small twigs from the tree's branches. These twigs should be no wider than a pencil and should be eight to 12 inches long. Select these twigs while they are dormant or in late winter. Store the cuttings in air-tight plastic bags wrapped in moist paper towels. Keep them refrigerated until ready to use.

Select a small pear tree sapling at your local nursery. Preferably, the sapling will be one to two feet tall with a supple trunk. Purchase your tree after the last frost.

Plant your pear sapling at the same depth and width as the container in which it came. Water thoroughly and allow your sapling to establish itself for two weeks.

Remove the cuttings from storage and find the buds or protrusions of new growth. Using a small knife, gently shave the bud off of the twig from the top down. Do not touch the green underside of the bud. Handle the bud by the brown, weathered side only.

Make an inverted "T" cut into your new tree, roughly six inches from the ground. Gently work the bud into the cut of the new tree until the bud is resting underneath the tree's bark.

Wrap the grafting with electrician's tape or gauze (anything to cover the grafting) and hold the bud in place. Wrap twice at the bottom, twice at the top and once gently over the new bud. Wait two to three weeks and care for the sapling as you normally would.

Uncover the bud and check to see if the graft has taken. If the bud is green, you have succeeded. If it is brown, you will have to try again. Leave the bud unwrapped and make a cut two inches above the bud and 3/4 of the way into the sapling, and bend the the top of the sapling to the ground. Remove any extra buds that have grown on the sapling.

Wait for the grafted bud to reach four inches in height. Once it does, remove the top of the sapling and allow the bud to grow as the main trunk.

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