Picture of Grafting Made Simple
Follow this 6-step process for improved varieties of trees.

What is grafting?

Grafting is a horticultural technique that's defined as attaching a twig (scion) from one tree to the stem of a tree seedling (rootstock). The scion becomes a permanent part of the tree over time. If the scion is from an improved variety, the tree will take on those characteristics.There are several grafting techniques, but we at The Progressive Farmer have chosen to demonstrate our favorite technique, the four-flap graft technique.

Getting Started (When to Graft).

During the dormant season (late winter), cut new-growth scions with buds on them. Refrigerate scions in plastic bags until spring. Scion and rootstock should be about the same diameter.

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Step 1: Vertical Incisions

Picture of Vertical Incisions
Make four 3-inch vertical incisions through the rootstock's bark, starting at the top. Slip a small rubber band on the rootstock, stopping just below these vertical cuts. With the point of a knife, separate the bark from the wood at the tip of the rootstock. Peel the bark down in four 3-inch-long flaps. Cut off an equal-sized piece of rootstock with shears after peeling back the bark.

Step 2: Prepare the Scion

Picture of Prepare the Scion
Prepare the scion by trimming 1/2 inch off the bottom to show fresh, green wood. Slice a shallow, 2-inch cut into the wood at the bottom end of the scion. This cut exposes cambium tissue, which carries sap through the tree. Repeat this in order to create four evenly-spaced cuts.

Step 3: Connect Scion and Rootstock

Picture of Connect Scion and Rootstock
Place the cut end of the scion inside the four flaps, lining up each cut surface with a flap.

Step 4: Secure the Graft

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Now is the time to use the rubber band to hold the flaps in place. Make sure the cambium tissue of the scion is seated against the cambium tissue of the rootstock.

Step 5: Protect the Graft

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Protect the graft by wrapping it with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, then a piece of plastic.

Step 6: Secure the Plastic

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Tape the plastic lightly around the graft using masking tape. New buds should appear in 15 to 30 days. You may want to write the date and tree variety on the tape to keep track of multiple trees.

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