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orida Cooperative Extension Service / ni erit% of Fliori- Gnine-, lie
stitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences John T U\oe re. Dein lor Lrten.ion
.. ... .. ... .....L...., ,
PROPAGATION OF WOODY ORNAMENTALS BY
GRAFTING AND BUDDING
David F. Hamilton and James T. Midcap*
Grafting is the joining of parts of plants together in such a
way that they unite and continue their growth as one plant. The
part of the graft combination which becomes the upper portion,
or top, of the new plant is termed the scion, and the part which
becomes the lower portion, or root, is termed the stock (under-
All methods of joining plants are termed grafting, but when
the scion is a small piece of bark or wood containing a single bud,
this form of grafting is called budding.
Some of the reasons for grafting are: (1) to change the size
of the resultant plant by dwarfing or increasing growth; (2) to
increase plants that cannot be reproduced by other asexual
methods; (3) to produce nematode or disease resistance; (4) to
change the form or variety of a plant; (5) to produce earlier
flowering and fruiting; (6) to develop a plant tolerant of a wider
range of environmental conditions; and (7) to repair damaged
Grafting is a rather difficult method of propagation and re-
quires considerable skill. It takes an experienced grafter to obtain
a high percentage of success. For any successful grafting opera-
tion there are these five requirements:
1. The stock and scion must be compatible. Otherwise they
cannot unite. Graft only closely related plants such as two
camellia varieties, not a live oak and citrus.
2. Cambial regions of scions and stock must be in intimate
contact. Cut surfaces should be held tightly for proper heal-
ing and flow of water and nutrients.
3. Grafting must be done when the stock and scion are in the
proper physiological stage. Scions for all grafting operations
except budding must be dormant. Scions for budding can be
either dormant or actively growing, depending on the bud-
ding method. Rootstocks can be growing or dormant, de-
pending on the grafting method.
4. After grafting is completed, all cut surfaces must be pro-
tected from desiccation or drying out. This can be done
by covering the graft with wax or tape or some moist
material such as sphagnum moss.
* Extension Rural Development Specialist and Extension Woody Ornamentals Specialist,
5. Proper care must be given to the graft until it unites.
Shoots from the stock must be removed because they can
choke out the scion. In addition, shoots from the scion can
grow so vigorously that they break the scion off unless
staked or tied.
Cleft grafting is one of the oldest and most widely used types
of grafting. It is used as a field technique primarily to convert
old varieties of plants into newer more desirable varieties. Cleft
grafting is useful with both large and small plant materials.
Follow this procedure:
1. It is best to do cleft grafting in early spring after buds
swell but before growth starts.
2. Saw the rootstock off close to the ground by cutting at right
angles to the grain. Except for unusually large plants which
are to be top-worked, leave a stump 3 to 6 inches high. It
must be smooth to get a straight split. Use stock 1 inch
or more in diameter.
3. Using a heavy knife or special grafting tool, make a vertical
split 2 to 3 inches down the stock to be grafted (Fig. 1).
Hold the split in the stock open with a wedge or screw-
4. Use scions with 3 buds and about 3 to 4 inches long col-
lected from dormant 1-year-old wood. Cut them just above
the top bud (Fig. 2).
5. At the base of the lower bud make a sloping cut about 1
to 2 inches long. Leave the scion thicker on the bud side.
Pressure on the stock should be greatest where the cam-
6. Slip the scion down so the lower bud is close to the cut
surface of the stock (Fig. 3). The two cambium layers
MUST contact (Fig. 4). Contact is improved by leaning the
scion toward the outside of stock. IMPORTANT! In all
grafting operations except budding, scions or buds must be
right side up.
7. This is a general guide for the number of scions per stock:
stock less than % inch in diameter-1 scion; to 1 inch-
2 scions; 11/ to 3 inches-4 scions; more than 3 inches-
8. Withdraw the wedge from the stock. Scions must be tight
enough so that they cannot be pulled out by hand.
Il' I The stub is split
S several inches.
A smooth straight-
should be used so
the split will be even.
Figure 1. Preparing the stock for the cleft graft.
9. No tying is needed unless very small branches have been
used. This is often necessary with camellias.
10. Thoroughly wax the graft. Stocks should also be waxed as
far as the split goes. And the tips of stock and scions also
should be waxed.
Check in 2 to 3 days and rewax to assure that the graft takes.
Whip (also called tongue or splice) grafting is particularly use-
ful for grafting relatively small material 1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter
and where the scion and stock are of about the same size. It heals
The scion is made
by cutting a long,
The outside edge of
the wedge should
be slightly thicker
than the inside.
Figure 2. Preparing the scion for the cleft graft.
quickly and makes a strong union.The procedure in whip grafting
is as follows:
1. Use scions and stocks of equal diameter. This gives maxi-
mum cambial contact.
2. Collect scions while plants are dormant. Scions should be
1/4 to 1/2 inches in diameter, 1 foot in length, and contain a
minimum of 2 to 3 buds. The scions can be stored in a re-
frigerator until time for grafting.
3. Cut off the stock with a long, smooth, sloping cut, 1 to 2/
inches long (Fig. 5A). This cut should be made with one
stroke of the knife to leave every surface smooth.
4. Starting two-thirds the way from the heel or base of the
cut, make a second cleft cut through the stock to form a
The split in the stock
is held open by a wedge
for insertion of the
Two scions are inserted
in a stub, one at each end
of the split. The scions
must be carefully placed
so the cambium layers
After the scions ore
properly placed, the
wedge is withdrawn.
The entire union, in-
cluding the tips of
the scions, is then
with grafting wax.
Figure 3. Inserting the scions into the stock in the cleft graft.
bium layers of
scion and stock
Scion set out
too far no
scion and stock.
tact at only
Figure 4. In making the cleft graft, the proper placement of the scions Is very Important.
Figure 5. Steps in making the whip or tongue graft.
A vertical cut I to 2 in.
long is made through
the bark to the wood.
The bark on both sides
of the cut is slightly
separated from the wood
Figure 6. Preparing the stock for the bark graft.
"tongue" (Fig. 5B). The second cut can be made starting
one-third of the distance from the tip of the first cut down-
ward to the base.
5. Repeat both cuts with the scion. All buds must point up-
ward and cuts on the scion and stock must match.
6. Slip the tongue of the scion inside the tongue of the under-
stock until the scion is firmly placed (Fig. 5C). It is best if
cambiums contact on both sides (Figs. 5D and 5E).
7. Tie the graft to secure it further, then wax the union to
prevent desiccation (Fig. 5F).
8. Remove tying material when the graft has united, or growth
will be restricted.
Many propagators are now rooting and grafting in one opera-
tion, especially with roses, gardenias and difficult-to-root junipers.
A leafy scion is grafted onto an unrooted stem piece or stock
with the terminal removed. To do this, make a simple splice graft
SThis side is
to the wood
of the stock.
Figure 7. Preparing the scion for the bark graft. The scion is cut as shown above, a long
cut with a shoulder on one side, and a shorter cut on the opposite side.
by cutting the stock vertically for 1 inch. Insert the scion; tie
the graft and place the grafted cutting under mist.
With difficult-to-root junipers, the desired but hard-to-propa-
gate variety is grafted on an unrooted (but easily rooted) stock.
By the time rooting has occurred, the graft is healed.
To propagate roses on Rosa fortuniana rootstocks, there are
some slight modifications of the splice or whip graft as used with
1. Grafting is done on both rooted and unrooted cuttings, but
rooted cuttings often give better results.
2. Use a scion with one bud and leaf.
3. Scions and understocks should be about the same size.
4. Cut both sides of the scion at a slant and place in the 2-inch
cut in the understock.
5. Tie the graft and place under mist for about 21 days or
until callusing occurs.
This method of grafting is rapid and gives a high percentage
of success if properly done. It can be used on branches from 1 to
6 inches in diameter. Follow these points:
The scions are pushed
downward between the
bark and the wood just
under each cut. They
.111 are nailed in place, as
is the bark on each
side of the scion. /
The grafted I
stub is then
thoroughly iI I
Figure 8. Inserting the scions into the stock in the bark graft.
1. Rootstocks must be actively growing as this graft depends
upon separation of bark from the wood. This occurs in
spring. Dormant scions are required so winter collection
and storage is necessary.
2. Method 1. Make a vertical cut from the top of the stock
about 1 to 2 inches long through the bark to the wood.
Slightly separate the bark and wood on either one or both
sides of the vertical cut (Fig. 6). The distance between the
cuts should equal the width of the scion.
Method 2. Make two parallel vertical cuts 1 to 2 inches
long through the bark to the wood. Make a horizontal cut
between the two vertical cuts slightly above the base. Re-
move the bark leaving just the small flap of bark at the
3. Scions are made with a long sloping cut (1 to 2 inches) on
one side and a shorter cut 1/ to 1 inch) on the opposite side.
Slant the shorter cut to conform to the slope of the bark
on the stock. Place the side with the longer cut next to the
wood of the stock to get cambial contact (Fig. 7).
Method 1. Push the scions down between the bark and
wood. Nail the scions in place; two nails should suffice.
Method 2. Insert the scions into the slot made by removal
of the bark. Slip the end of the scion under the raised flap
of bark. Nail the scions in place making sure that one nail
goes through the flap (Fig. 8).
5. Thoroughly wax the grafted stub and the areas around
Grafting waxes serve two purposes: (1) to seal over the graft
union and prevent loss of moisture, and (2) to prevent entrance
of disease and decay-causing organisms. Good grafting waxes
have these qualities:
1. Adhere to plant surfaces and are not washed off by rain.
2. Do not get brittle and crack.
3. Do not melt in hot weather.
4. Remain pliable to allow for swelling of the scion and en-
largement of the stock.
There are three general types of waxes-hot, hard and cold.
Hot or cold waxes are the most satisfactory for commercial opera-
tions. A hot wax may be made by heating 4 pounds resin, 1 pound
of beeswax, 1 pint of raw linseed oil and 1 once of lampblack.
Hard wax may be made by heating together 4 parts of resin, 2
parts of beeswax and 1 part of tallow. Cold waxes should be pur-
A vertical cut about I"
long is made in the
A horizontal cut is made
through the bark about
one-third the distance
around the stock. The
knife is given a slight
twist to open the two
flaps of bark.
Figure 9. Preparing the stock for T-budding.
Starting about 1/2"
below the bud, a
slicing cut is made
under and about I"
beyond the bud.
About 3/4" above the
bud a horizontal cut
is made into the wood,
permitting the removal
of the bud piece.
!* : i
Figure 10. Preparing the bud in T-budding.
Succesful budding operations depend upon the easy separation
of the bark separating from the wood (slipping). This condition
occurs during a period of active growth of the plant usually in
Shield or T-budding is the most widely used budding method
in propagation operations. The steps to follow are these:
S11 I The shield ii |,' Il
piece is in- ,
serted by l 1
of bark__ S\ -until the hori
I on the shield
ll 1 ping ma-
Figure 11. Inserting the bud into the stock in T-budding.
1. Select actively growing stocks 1/, to 1 inch in diameter with
thin bark so the bark and wood will be separate.
2. Make a vertical slit about 1 inch long in the stock. Be sure
to cut through the bark (Fig.9).
3. Make a horizontal cut at the top of the slit to create a "T"
(Fig. 9). Cut through the bark about one-third the dis-
tance around the stock. Slightly twist the knife to open
the two flaps of bark. Do not make either of the cuts too
long or extra tying will be needed.
4. Cut a bud shield about 11/ inches long from the budwood.
Start about 1/ inch below the bud and make a slicing cut
under and about 1 inch beyond the bud. Make a second
horizontal cut 1/2 to 3 inches above the bud to permit re-
movel of the shield piece (Fig. 10).
5. Insert the shield piece into the incision in the stock plant.
Push the shield piece under the two raised flaps of bark so
that it fits snugly and is covered by the flaps of bark, leav-
ing the bud exposed (Fig. 11).
6. No waxing is necessary, but the bud union must be wrapped
with budding tape, raffia or plastic tape. Remove the wrap-
ping about 3 weeks after budding. If the bud is green all
Collecting Budwood for Shield Budding
In collecting budwood for shield budding, keep these points in
1. The best budwood is from the second flush of growth from
the end of a branch.
2. Budwood should be rounded with plump buds. Leaves should
be trimmed to very small stubs as the budwood is cut from
TEACHING I A S
This publication was promulgated at a cost of $288.92, or
5.7 cents per copy to provide information to nurserymen
and their employees on grafting and budding propagation
of woody ornamentals.
Single copies are free to residents of Florida and may be obtained
from the County Extension Office. Bulk rates are available upon
request. Please submit details of the request to C.M. Hinton, Publi-
cation Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
K. R. Tefertiller, Director