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Grafting & Budding Fruit Trees

Some people find the idea of grafting a tree intimidating, but the truth is that anybody can graft a tree successfully with sufficient practice and attention to detail. Grafting is a propagation technique that has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, the ancient Roman poet, Virgil, described both grafting and budding in his poem on farming, The Georgics

The reason why we graft or bud trees instead of simply planting seeds concerns the basic principles of genetics. Just as when two humans, or two cats, or two rhinoceroses reproduce, the offspring is not an exact replica of either parent, so too would the seed of a Granny Smith not produce exactly a Granny Smith. If you want to create a tree that is exactly a Granny Smith, you need to sidestep all the genetic mutation possibilities that are involved in normal reproduction. The way to do this is by creating a genetic clone. This process is called grafting. (Note that humans, cats, and rhinoceroses cannot be grafted! Just plants.)

You will need some basic grafting tools. These can all be purchased at A. M. Leonard.

  • Knife (Note that a grafting knife and a budding knife are not the same knife!)
  • Tape
  • Sealant

Detailed grafting information appears on the following pages:

Preparing Scion and Rootstock for Grafting

How to Bench Graft Fruit Trees 

Preparing Scion and Rootstock for Tree Budding

How to Summer-Bud a Tree:  T-buds and Chip-Buds

Top-Working Fruit Trees

Fruit Tree Rootstocks

Fruit Tree Scions






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