Simple Grafting Without Special Tools





Introduction: Simple Grafting Without Special Tools

Grafting is a horticultural technique where plants are joined together. The upper part of the combined plant is called the scion and it is typically chose for its fruits quality, while the lower part is called the rootstock.

There are many available techniques but here I describe one of the simplest and without the need of any special tool.

To have an almost 100% of success, you have to respect the following rules:

1) Cut branches from which you will get the scions at the end of the dormant season, i.e. when the buds begin to move but are still fully closed.

2) The scion must be young – one years old – and must have buds

3) Put the branch in a cold and humid place, such as a cellar. You can wrap them in wet newspaper paper and left, for instance, in the refrigerator vegetable drawer.

4) After few weeks (two or three typically), when the buds of the rootstock begins to open, is the best moment to do the grafting.

Step 1: Choose the Rootstock

5) Choose a suitable rootstock and scion with the same diameter.

6) Cut the rootstock with an hand pruner

Step 2: Choose and Cut the Scion

7) Choose a brunch with the same diameter of the rootstock. Cut a piece with three buds.

8) With a razor sharp knife, cut a wedge shape tip in the scion, as shown in the pictures. I think that the best is to simply use a cutter. Do not ruin the bark. It is also important to use a clean blade!

Step 3: Insert the Scion

9) Crack in two identical part the extremity of the rootstock, as shown in the picture.

10) Insert the scion in the crack. Do not ruin the bark while doing this operation.

Step 4: Make a Perfect Junction

11) The sides of the bark of the two pieces should be in strict contact, without gaps in between. If you have some hole, as shown in the first picture in this step, remove the scion and correct the tip. Take your time to do this part, the larger is the contact surface of the barks, the highest is the success.

Step 5: Cover the Junction With a Plastic Tape

12) Once the two parts are perfectly joined, you have to cover them to avoid that the cuts become dry. In the market many kind of mastic are available, but I had the best results just by using an unexpansive stripe of dark plastic, such as the one shown in the picture, which I cut from a used plastic bag. This tape must be clean, to avoid infections in the exposed plant cortex.

13) Wrap tightly the plastic tape around the junction, as shown in the pictures. It is fundamental to cover all the cut parts.

14) Now you have to wait until the parts joins perfectly. This may take few months. You should see already after few weeks the scion buds to sprout, but you need to wait a bit more before removing the tape.

Step 6: Results

15) The results, after one year or more, are shown in these latest pictures.

If you have followed step by step all the previous steps and rules, the chance that the grafting succeed is very high.

A final comment that should be obvious: of course the two parts of the graft must be of the same kind. From the genetic point of view, the closer, the better.

If you like this Instructable, please take a moment to vote it in the gardening contest!

Step 7: Bonus

...what can you do with your grafted tree when you decide to cut it? I have kept some pieces around the junction, split them in two half and smoothed the surface. In the pictures in this step, you can see the different wood color of the two tree variety, and the V shape of the junction in the center of the block.

You can use them as books end or simply to show and surprise your friends!

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    16 Discussions

    As a couple of folks have said, nice simple and straight-forward. I might actually try this...

    You got my vote!

    Dear Professor-Mousedude, thank you for the comment. I saw your instructable about grafting and it is awsome and very well detailed, I can't help but vote it in the gardening contest!

    Thanks Rob.
    Yours is great too. Very straightfoward and easy to follow.
    I probably went a little overboard with the details.

    Interesting and educative thanks

    That is sooooo coool!!! Wanted to do this for years, but, now I REALLY know how!!

    Thanks for sharing.


    1 year ago

    I've always wanted to try this but was too afraid it was beyond my skill set. You made it look easy enough for me to feel confident in giving it a shot! I've got an older, large citrus tree in my back yard left over from when my yard was a part of a grove. Can I just do a single branch? If so, how would the weight of the graft hold up to fruiting on a horizontal plane? Would it be better to find a more vertical branch?

    1 reply

    Dear beer20, yes you can graft a single branch, but still the best is to use a young and energetic (vertical) one! For instance you can use a newborn branch you get after one year having pruned the tree. You have then many new branches that you need to trim and finally you can graft the ones left.

    If you leave many original branches, thay get the vast majority of the energy of the tree and your grafting will remain small and week, assuming that it survies at all.

    it looks to be a very good job,nice work. Kent

    Very nice! I agree with the Professor that the best part of your project is the slice of wood that shows where the graft was made. This new wood could be used for beautiful furniture!

    1 reply

    Thank you for the comment! that's could be a cool idea for a new kind of forniture! Grafting different variety of tree were the main difference is just the wood color, with the target of making uniqe bi-color (or more) wood board! :-)


    1 year ago

    There is a proper plastic to do that on some stores but difficult to find, but the kitchen film is very good, it's the one I've been using. It's really good to stop the air/water to get in.

    1 reply

    Dear anjoze, thank you for the suggestion. I like the idea of the black tape because it prevents the formation of green micro-algae in contact with the cut. anyway this is just a feeling, I do not really know if transparent or black plastic really make a difference.

    I can not say how many times I have tried this and failed, maybe it is time to try again!!

    nice simply instructble


    1 year ago

    Very clear and simple instructions, for anyone who might've considered tree grafting to be intimidating. Great 'ible...thanks! :)