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How to Graft Cherry Trees

By Ma Wen Jie ; Updated September 21, 2017

Although there are many ways to propagate cherry trees by grafting, bud grafting is the most common commercial way or propagating cherries. By grafting buds to the side of a sturdy rootstock optimized for local growing conditions, you can propagate cherry trees that don't do well with other methods of propagation. By using bud grafting techniques, you can graft different types of cherries to a single root stock to create a tree that bears different kinds of fruit.

Cut the bud stick from an existing tree. Start the cut with a sharp budding knife 1/2 to 3/4 inch below the base of the bud and cut at an angle to a point midway through the branch 1/2 to 3/4 inch above the bud.

Make a straight cut through the top of your partially cut bud to release the bud from the donor tree.

Clean the bud stick carefully. Any dirt on the bud stick is likely to cause the graft to fail.

Make a vertical cut on the root stock or destination tree 1 1/2 inches long. Be careful to only cut through the bark. Don't cut into the wood.

Make a horizontal cut at the top of your vertical cut to for a T. Angle this cut slightly downward to make it easier to insert the bud stick. Be careful to only cut through the bark. Don't cut into the wood.

Lift the bark of the T gently to make a pocket for the bud stick.

Slide the bid stick into the pockets formed by the T under the bark.

Wrap the graft tightly with budding rubber or string.


Things You Will Need

  • Existing cherry tree
  • Cherry root stock
  • Budding knife
  • Budding rubber or string


  • Perform your bud grafts between July 15 and August 15 when the buds are large and the tree bark is easier to peel back to form the graft pockets.

About the Author


Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.