Grafting a Fruit Tree – Why and How to
Grafting is generally the joining of two branches together that are related forests with the intent of producing a tree with some special characteristics. It is a way to achieve a fruit tree that may not grow from cuttings or seed and allows the drawer to produce multiple varieties of the same fruit on the same tree.
Processes to properly grafting a fruit tree
- Graft your tree during the time of year when the tree is just coming out of dormancy. You will notice the buds beginning to swell which is a clear indication that the juices in the tree are beginning to flow and this is what we need for our graft to take.
- Decide where you want the graft to take place and cut the branch somewhere low to the trunk so that the Cambium layer is exposed. This is the layer of the branch where all of the growth starts and is just benefit the outer layer of the branch.
- Attach the branch from a tree you wish to propagate. Make sure this branch is the exact diameter of the branch you cut so that the cambium layers line up.
- When making your graft, use a sterile cutting tool to make your cut and make sure not to touch the area around the cut as this is a good way to get fungi or diseases into your tree. After all you are performing surgery here and you do not want to be a sloppy surgeon.
- Match up the branches to make sure that the diameters line up and perform what is called a saddle graft by making a cut down the middle of the branch so that the receiving branch will accept the propagating branch.
- Then make a reverse cut to the propagating branch so it will fit right inside of the receiving branch making sure that the cambium layers are lining up.
- Tape the graft with some electrical tape so that it completely covers the graft. Leave this in place for about two weeks and then remove the tape as we do not want the electrical tape to melt onto the branch from the sun.
- Protect the graft from drying out by placing it in the shade or putting a plastic bag over the branch to trap the moisture inside. Poke holes in the bag to allow for breathing but not too much so that the moisture will remain inside until the graft takes. After the graft takes you are good go.
This process can be repeated on other areas of the tree as long as the propagating branch is from the same family as the host tree.