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Tree Grafting: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

by Gregory
3 minutes read

Tree Grafting: A Guide for Beginners


Tree grafting is a technique that combines two different varieties of trees into a single tree. This can be done to improve the quality of the fruit, increase resistance to pests and diseases, or create new and unique varieties of trees.

How Does Tree Grafting Work?

Tree grafting involves taking a branch from one tree (called the scion) and grafting it onto another tree (called the rootstock). The rootstock provides the root system and lower trunk, while the scion provides the upper branches and leaves.

To graft a tree, you will need:

  • A sharp knife
  • Grafting tape or string
  • A rootstock tree
  • A scion branch

Step-by-Step Grafting Instructions:

  1. Choose a healthy rootstock tree that is at least a few years old with a firm, straight trunk.
  2. Select a scion branch from a tree that is closely related to the rootstock tree. The scion branch should be about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (6 mm to 1 cm) in diameter and have good leaf buds.
  3. Cut a diagonal slice into the rootstock tree, about 2-3 inches long.
  4. Cut a matching diagonal slice into the base of the scion branch.
  5. Insert the scion branch into the cut in the rootstock tree, aligning the cambium layers (the green, growing layer just beneath the bark).
  6. Wrap the graft union with grafting tape or string to hold it in place.
  7. Keep the graft union moist and protected from the elements until it has healed.

Preventing Grafted Trees from Reverting to the Original Tree

Sometimes, grafted trees can revert to their original form. This is called “rootstock reversion.” There are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening:

  • Choose compatible rootstock and scion varieties. The rootstock and scion trees should be closely related to each other for the graft to be successful.
  • Remove any suckers that grow below the graft union. Suckers are shoots that grow from the rootstock tree. If they are not removed, they can overtake the growth of the grafted branch.
  • Prune the grafted tree carefully. Avoid pruning the grafted branch too heavily, as this can trigger rootstock reversion.

Benefits of Tree Grafting

There are many benefits to grafting trees, including:

  • Improved fruit quality: Grafting can improve the size, flavor, and yield of fruit.
  • Increased resistance to pests and diseases: Grafting can make trees more resistant to pests and diseases that affect their rootstock.
  • Creation of new varieties of trees: Grafting can be used to create new and unique varieties of trees that combine the desired characteristics of different varieties.


Tree grafting is a valuable technique that can be used to improve the quality and variety of trees in your garden. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully graft trees and enjoy the benefits of this rewarding practice.

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