How to Properly Graft an Apple Tree: Useful Tips

Experienced gardeners say that you can graft apple trees all year round, but each season has its own peculiarities. Not all owners of fruit trees graft their plants, but if you want to do it – follow our instructions, it can be mastered even by a beginner.

When to graft an apple tree – the timing

The most preferred period for grafting an apple tree in spring, but also a good time is late July – early September. If you have time to graft the apple tree before the onset of cold weather, the part that you grafted will take root and will survive the winter without problems.

Throughout the season, gardeners graft apple trees several times, if it did not work from the first. In early spring – in the split, in May or early summer – under the bark, and closer to the fall use another method – perching.

Is it possible to use freshly cut cuttings for grafting

The preparation of cuttings is an important stage, on which the outcome of the situation depends. It is important to choose branches of fruit-bearing trees so that the apple tree will also give a good harvest. Cut the branch before the very perching and proceed with the preparation.

Gather all the tools you will need for perching, and have a garden brew ready. It is advisable to decontaminate your hands and garden tools by treating them with alcohol.

How to properly graft an apple tree in summer

In order to properly graft, follow our instructions:

  • Choose a branch that has matured in the past year and cut it off;
  • Make an angled cut on the tree you have chosen to graft;
  • cut off a piece of bark 2-3 cm above the previous cut;
  • the branch you cut earlier and make two cuts – above and below the bud;
  • separate the part of the bark between the cuts with a knife;
  • place the bud on the part of the tree where you made the cut to connect the parts of the plant;
  • Wrap cling film or duct tape around the joint, covering the cuts.

An important nuance: the branch for grafting the tree must be chosen no older than two or three years, otherwise the chances that it will take root, may times reduced.

How to graft an apple tree into a cleft

Another method that is actively used by experienced gardeners. If you like it, write down the procedure:

  • choose a tree that you want to graft, and cut it at an angle to a height of one meter;
  • Take two cuttings and prune them so that you have two buds left on each;
  • Grind down the lower part of the stalk to a peg;
  • split the trunk with an axe, and then drive a wedge into it, dividing the tree into two parts;
  • Insert the cuttings into the resulting hole, so that the entire peeled part is inside the trunk;
  • Take out the wedge once both pruning sticks are in the wood.

Once all the steps are done, wrap the trunk and cuttings with foil or duct tape and then grease with horticultural varnish.

How to find out if the grafting has taken root

It is important to carefully inspect the tree immediately after the operation, and you should do this for two weeks after grafting. A month or two later, the tape can be removed. Some growers leave it longer, then you need to change the wrap once a month so that the tree has room to develop, but before the onset of cold weather, the tape must be removed in any case. In order for the grafting to take root, regularly remove shoots that appear below the grafting, otherwise, they will “take away” all the useful substances the tree needs.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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