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Types of Grafting

By Ma Wen Jie ; Updated September 21, 2017

Many trees propagate best via grafting. Many fruit trees, especially some specialized apples, cherries, citrus and other fruit trees, won't reliably propagate from seed. Grafting ensures that the resulting fruit conforms to a particular variety. There are three main types of grafts.

Whip Grafting

Create a whip graft by making a 1-1/2 to 2 inch cut from one side of a root stock to the other. Make a vertical cut starting halfway down the initial cut to the bottom of the initial cut. Cut, don't split, the root stock. Make a matching cut on the scion, or part of the new tree to be grafted to the root stock. Mate the scion to the root stock and hold the grafted wood in place by wrapping it tightly with masking tape. Once wrapped, coat the graft with grafting compound to seal the wounds. Remove the tape and grafting compound when the newly grafted wood begins to grow.

Cleft Grafting

For a cleft graft, smooth and flatten a larger root stock. Cleft grafts are best for situations where the root stock is notably larger than the scion. Once you have a flat surface on the root stock, make a center cut and split the root stock with a grafting tool. Make a 1 to 1 1/2-inch cut on either side of the scion to make a spear-shaped point with two exposed sides. Insert the scion into the root stock so there is cambial contact. The cambium is the growing part of the tree just under the bark. Apply grafting wax or compound to seal all parts of the graft. With cleft grafting, you can often graft two scions to a single root stock by placing the small scions on two sides of a larger root stock.

Bark Grafting

Bark grafting is a very easy method of grafting. To perform a bark graft, make a 3/4-inch slit in the bark. Peel the bark back a bit. Make a matching 3/4-inch cut in the scion. Curve the cut so that more cambium is exposed. Slip the scion into the cut on the root stock and secure with masking tape. Cover the entire grafted area with grafting wax or grafting compound to seal the wound. Remove the compound and tape when the grafted scion begins to grow.


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.