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How to Graft an Avocado Tree

Grafting is the process of combining the root system of a new plant, locally adjusted avocado tree with a branch from a heartily producing tree. Most avocado trees require grafting to propagate and produce fruit more efficiently. While an avocado tree can be grown from the seed, it will not produce fruit for at least 5 years and that fruit will most likely not be edible.

Determine the tree for gathering scion wood. Young trees produce the most vigorous growth and are ideal for grafting. For best results, graft fruit trees in the spring to allow the plant an entire growing season to recover and merge with the new branches.

Cut the scion wood branches into six-inch strips and immerse the branches in water while cutting and moving to the root stalk location to ensure they will not dry out.

Determine the tree for grafting. This particular approach is most successful on larger branch or stalk varieties where the stalks are at least 3/4 inch in diameter.

Prepare the tree for grafting by cutting the branch at the crotch, just above where the smaller branches begin growing. For best results and to prevent splitting, saw from the bottom of the limb until the saw binds, and then do the final cuts from the top. Leave at least one entire branch from the old tree as a nurse branch. This branch provides the nutrients for the rest of the tree.

Prepare the root stalk for grafting. Cut vertical slits 2 1/2 inches long through the bark of the remaining freshly cut rootstock stubs down to the wood. Space these slits 3 to 5 inches apart.

Prepare the scions for grafting. Cut the scions 5 inches long with four to six buds per scion. If the scions are cut longer than this, they may dry out before bonding. When cutting the scions, make a sloping cut about 3 inches long at the base of the scion with a sharp knife.

Place the scion alongside the tree's branch and use a knife to trace where the scion will be grafted. Then make cuts into the bark equal to the width of the scion. Gently lift the bark and insert the scion. Fasten the scion by wrapping tightly with the budding tape.

Leave the tape in place for 3-6 weeks, or until the new graft begins to bud fresh growth.

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