Tree Grafting

Easy to follow steps on how to start a new tree by grafting a branch of an existing tree.

My neighbor has a beautiful plum tree that has consistently produced some of the sweetest plums I have ever tasted.

This past spring he decided to prune the tree back. I caught up to him just as he was about to snip off a nice straight six foot branch that was about one inch in diameter. Instead of pruning it and throwing it on to the brush pile he allowed me to graft a tree from his tree.

It takes only a few minutes to accomplish. Just follow these simple steps ......

1) Select a straight branch or a branch that has a balanced number of smaller branches growing evenly around it.

2) Make one single clean cut almost half way through the branch. This cut should be at approximately a 30 degree angle. This is very important. Do not cut straight across the branch. To do so will cause the branch to starve and die.

3) Slightly bend the branch at the cut and place a tooth pick or the like across the cut. Release the branch and the tooth pick should stay in place.

(note) There is a root growth product that may be purchased at a good quality nursery but I have never found it a necessity. Use your own best judgement.

4) Apply a handful of good quality gardeners moss mixed with a equal amount of potting soil to this area. Both moss and soil should be soaked in water. It should have a consistency of muddy moss. If using a root growth product it should be applied at this time to the cut area before applying the moss and dirt.

5) Wrap this whole area with cellophane sandwich wrap. Secure with wire garbage bag ties on each end. This wrap should be secure but take care not to strangle the branch. Just tighten enough to hold wrap in place.

6) Wrap the cellophane with Aluminum foil. You may use wire ties again if you so prefer.( Again take care not to tighten ties to much)

7) Allow this wrap to remain in place and undisturbed for six to eight weeks.

8) Remove wrap and moss with care. Inspect area for root formation.

9) If roots are noted snip branch off between root area and the tree. ( If no roots are noted or they are very small, carefully wrap as above and wait a few more weeks.)

10) Plant in large container and stake in up right position from three different directions.

11) Water heavy twice a day for at least four to six weeks.(note) If all the leaves fall off of your new tree do not give up. Continue to water and with in a few weeks new leaves will begin to appear.

Fertilize with a good tree fertilizer at one half the strength recommended for newly planted trees.

The best time to graft a tree in this manner is in the very early spring. I have however grafted as late as mid June. I do however live in a warm climate area. Use your best judgement. Give your tree time to grow and produce a good strong root system before transplanting.

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