Tree Grafting Tips

Want to customize you grove and trees? Try grafting.

Being successful at plant and tree grafting comes down to three things – you need to know what kinds of plants make for compatible grafts, you need to follow procedure when you actually do the physical grafting, and finally, you need the right plant/tree grafting tools.

Certainly, you could easily go about your grafting experiments with nothing more than a sharp knife and some Scotch tape or wire. You’ll need a good bit of skill to wield these simple tools successfully when it comes to tree grafting. If you’re just starting out, choosing a special grafting knife will make your job a lot easier while you are learning.

Some references:
Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks

Once you do have them, you could make lots of practice cuts with a discarded branch or something. But once you do make a nice, neat cut, it can be really important how you manage to do the actual grafting – joining two parts together so that they’ll really bond. Grafts don’t bond in a week; not any more than broken bones do when you put them in a plaster cast. Grafts need a full season. And you need to find a way to keep the graft strongly together for as long as that.

tree grafting tapeThey actually sell special grafting tape that does a good job. You can also use wire for some structural strength. Once you’ve made the graft, it needs to be sealed – like an open wound needs to be sealed. You could use petroleum jelly or a special grafting wax.


Picking the right time for your tree plant grafting activities can be important. You need to pick a time of the year, usually the winter, when the contributing plant is completely without activity. Try to pick a branch that’s no more than a year old or so. The donated branch is called the scion. Try to pick something with a few buds.

While it would be nice if you could just go and graft your scion the right away, doing this in the winter would be a good idea. You need to wait until the plants are reviving in the spring to actually do a successful graft. Store the scion you just cut by packing it in plastic filled with sawdust. Make sure that you store it in a place that’s cool and humid.

There are a number of different cuts that you can make to the receiving tree. A V-shaped cut, a whip cut that looks like a bolt of lightning – just anything, as long as you know how to make matching cuts on both ends.

It’s just that when you bring the two parts together, make sure that bark meets bark. Tie everything together to be pretty strong, and you’ll be set.

Before long, you should have a successful graft in place. In time, you will have given your grove of trees a customized look.