Gardening Articles: Care :: Seeds & Propagation
Grafting (page 2 of 2)
by Kris Wetherbee
Steps to A Successful Graft
- In early spring, match scion wood to rootstock (the scion must be fully dormant). Ideally, they should be exactly the same diameter, though the rootstock may be slightly larger.
- Make a slanting cut halfway between buds on both scion and rootstock, holding them together to ensure that the angle is the same. Make clean cuts using a very sharp knife.
- Make matching slits (the tongues) about 1/4-inch deep in the surface of each cut. These notches interlock when the scion and stock are joined.
- Join the scion and rootstock by aligning their cambium layers. (The cambium is the active, green layer of tissue between the bark and the wood.)
- Make the graft by gently pushing the scion into the rootstock and interlocking the tongues. If the scion and rootstock widths are slightly dissimilar, match the cambium layers on at least one side of the graft.
- Wrap and stake the graft to secure it until the bond is strong. Use a cut rubber band, winding from the bottom up, and slipping the end under the final loop. Tying the graft to a 1-inch stake will provide support when top-heavy scion growth forms. (Adequate trimming may preclude the need for staking.)
- Seal the union by covering the grafted area with a thin coat of water-based grafting sealant.
- Three years later, the graft is strong enough to support the growing scion and any fruit it bears.
Kris Wetherbee, a market farmer and writer, lives in Oakland, Oregon. She also wrote for National Gardening Meet the Asian Pears and Corn of Many Colors.