Thursday, August 9, 2012

T bud graft

The T bud graft is a great method of grafting for apples and pears.This grafting is done using scion wood from this years growth after some of the new buds have formed.This graft is best done in mid summer when the bark peels easily. Here we are grafting an heirloom apple variety to a branch of a seedling apple tree. The scion wood is the variety you are trying to reproduce, so the first step is to collect your scion wood. It is best to graft right away but the scion can be stored in the refrigerator for a few day if necessary. Next step is to cut a T in the root stock.
Make the top horizontal cut first by rocking your knife back and forth. Then use the tip of the blade to make the vertical cut. After the T cut is finished use the tip of the knife to pry open the T. It should peel open and have two flaps. Next prepare the scion by picking a nicely developed bud on this years growth. Cut the leaf off but keep the stem attached. Make a horizontal cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the bud about half way through the stem. Then starting under the bud slice toward the horizontal cut.
After the scion bud is cut you are ready to slide it into the two flaps of the T cut on your rootstock. Make sure you push it all the way in.
Next wrap the bud into place with a strip of plastic. I cut my strips of plastic from one gallon storage bags. Make these strips about 1/2 inch wide.Use a small piece of masking tape to tape the plastic strip to the bottom of the rootstock. Begin to wrap from the bottom to the top covering all the cuts but leaving the bud and stem exposed. Finish the wrap with another piece of tape to secure the end.
After a few weeks callous will form around the cuts and the stem will fall off if the graft took. Leave the graft alone through fall and winter.
In the spring when the buds begin to swell cut off the top of your rootstock or branch about a half inch above the graft.This will stimulate your new bud to grow and by the end of the summer it will have grown into a small tree.
Remember practice makes perfect.

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