Close Window
Click picture to enlarge
What you need:
  • Sharp, sterile pruning knife
  • Rootstock
  • Scion material
  • Grafting tape or plastic wrap
In whip and tongue grafting, fruit tree scions are grafted in the dormant season on rootstock whips of similar diameter that have been growing at least one season. Collect scions about 9 in. long and - in. in diameter in midwinter from the previous year's growth. Store in a plastic bag and refrigerate until needed.
Click picture to enlarge
Prepare the rootstock just before bud break. Use hand pruners to trim the rootstock to within 10" of the ground, cutting at a slight angle.
Click picture to enlarge
Starting 1 " below the original cut, make a shallow, upward-sloping cut that penetrates the cambium layer, a very thin, colorless layer between the bark and the wood.
Click picture to enlarge
Next make a downward slit in the exposed cambium. This creates a "tongue" into which you will insert the scion.
Click picture to enlarge
Now prepare the scion. Remove the soft growing tip of the scion, leaving 3-4 buds.
Click picture to enlarge
Treat the scion just as you did the rootstock; make a matching tongue that fits into the tongue on the rootstock. Avoid touching the cut surface.
Click picture to enlarge
Carefully fit the scion and the rootstock together, lining up the cambium layers. It's essential that they remain in contact with one another.
Click picture to enlarge
The cambium layer is a very thin, colorless layer between the bark and the wood. It's essential that the cambium of the scion and the understock come in contact with one another.
Click picture to enlarge
Wrap the graft with grafting tape or plastic wrap. After the cut surfaces have healed, remove the tape. If the graft takes, the scion will start growing during spring.