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Preparing Scion and Rootstock for Budding

Unlike grafting, budding is performed during the growing season, using live wood. This method can be a second chance to use rootstock if some of your grafts didn’t take. Budding is also a great option if you cannot obtain rootstocks or scion early enough for grafting. Finally, this is also a useful propagation technique if your scion supply is very limited.

  1. Plant your rootstock. Do this in the spring in well-prepared soil, 1 foot apart. Keep these well watered. No special care is needed beside weeding and watering.
  2. Cut your budwood around August 15. This should be new growth, about the thickness of a pencil (1/4").
  3. As soon as you cut the wood, remove the leaves, attach a label if necessary, and wrap it in a wet towel.
  4. Keep your scion cool and moist. Wrap it in a damp towel and put it in a plastic bag. A typical refrigerator is 37ºF and this is a perfect temperature, but only if there is no fruit in the fridge. Fruit emits ethylene gas, which will damage your scion. Ideally, you would bud your rootstocks immediately. This wood cannot be stored for more than a week.

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