how do i splice a apple tree
In Arizona, we usually use a T-budding technique, because of the low humidity. This involves cutting budwood from the desired variety of Apple in the winter, and keeping it cool, moist, and well oxygenated until spring, when the buds on the rootstock start to swell. At this stage, the green, growing layer of the inner bark--called the "cambium"--is starting spring growth, and joins most easily with new grafts. This is when you take the budwood out of the fridge. Make a T-shaped slit in the rootstock--preferably in a piece between pencil and finger thickness--with the "leg" of the T pointing down. On the budwood, make a horizontal cut slightly into the wood above a bud, then start a shallow cut from below the bud, slanting up to meet the horizontal cut. You should wind up with a small, shield-shaped chip of bark and wood, with the bud centered on top. Slip this chip into the T cut, round side down, until the bud is slightly below the cross bar of the T, peeking out between the flaps of bark formed by the T cut. Wrap the graft with natural rubber bands, or grafting tape, leaving the bud exposed. All of this should take less than two minutes--it may take some practice! You will know the graft has taken when the bud sprouts, in a couple of weeks. If the graft doesn't take, the bud and shield will shrivel.
In moister climates, such as the UK, it should be possible to use a simpler method, called "cleft grafting". In this method, the lower end of a short piece of budwood is sharpened to a chisel point, and a cleft is driven into the cut top of the rootstock. The point of the budwood--or "scion"--is pushed into the cleft, and the join is wrapped as above. Signs of success or failure are the same as above.
9 Feb, 2011
Even in the UK your full method of grafting is the recommended on Tugb. The grafts should be removed and heeling in during December/January and then grafted to the rootstock when it starts to flower as this indicates that the sap has risen.
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