General information

Grafting apple tree in spring


Spring vaccination is a proven method of experimental change and stimulation of apple development. Thanks to it, you can enhance the yield, bring a new variety of fruits, increase the crown, rejuvenate the tree and achieve many other beneficial effects. The main thing is to know how to competently plant an apple tree. To help you understand this matter, we will tell and show on video how to graft trees in spring in steps: from preparatory processes to final processing of apple trees.

Preparatory work

For a start, let's clarify why it is recommended to inoculate apple trees in spring. Everything is simple here: sap flow begins this season, thanks to which the grafts take root much better than in summer or autumn. The ideal period is from late March to mid-May.

To perform vaccinations are required:

The stalk needs to be prepared even in winter - cut it off immediately after the first frost, so that the stock is in a state of hibernation.

Council If you did not manage to prepare the stalk in the winter, do it in early spring before the buds begin to swell.

In the role of the graft, one-year-old shoots of exceptionally healthy apple branches should be used. The recommended length of the twig is no more than 3.5 cm. Its lower edge must be cut along an oblique line — the length of the cut must be three times the diameter of the scion.

Cut cuttings until the spring is stored in a cool place. The best option is a basement. In this case, the lower, cut, parts of the branches should be placed in a slightly damp sawdust. An alternative is a fridge. Here the cuttings should be stored in a damp cloth. For two or three days before direct vaccination, you should get the branches from the storage and ensure that they warm to room temperature.

An equally important step at this stage is the preparation of tools. It is important to first sharpen the saw and the grafting knife, then wash it with soap and treat it with a disinfectant to protect the graft and stock from potential contamination.

Vaccination methods

There are many ways of grafting apples - select the most common ones:

  • Standard copulation. Suitable only for those cases when the scion and rootstock have exactly the same diameter and identical oblique cuts. Most often used for young apples - one or two years. The essence of the method: the graft and the rootstock are connected in one branch so that their cambium layers exactly match.

  • Advanced copulation. A more reliable version of the vaccination: first, oblique cuts of the rootstock and scion are performed by “tongues” - longitudinal cuts with a depth of 1/3 of the diameter of the branches, and then the graft is inserted into the stock so that their “tongues” grapple with each other.
  • Budding. Implies inoculation through the "eye" - the kidney. To perform such an operation in the graft, you need to cut the kidney with layers of tissue and insert it into a previously made T-shaped incision of the stock.

  • In the split. The best option for grafting branches of different diameter. First, a cross or cross-shaped split is made in the stock, and then a graft is inserted into the resulting gap. Moreover, if the diameter of the stock is large, then two or three branches can be inserted into the cleft at once.
  • In the side cut. A fairly simple but reliable version of the vaccination: on the stock through the bark and the top layer of wood at an angle of 20-30 degrees, indirect cutting is done, into which the graft is then inserted. It is desirable that the cambium layers of both elements coincide at least from one side.

Binding and final processing

After the apple tree is grafted, it is necessary to tie and process the places where the scion branch and the rootstock were connected.

First of all, the vaccination site should be carefully covered with garden pitch - it is the best way to heal the cuts. After applying the patch, the area must be tied in order to securely fix the position of the attached cutting and to ensure the correct accretion of the elements. Here you can use several materials:

  • black electrical tape - contributes to the active heating of the vaccination site, which allows for the rapid restoration of important pathways in the apple tree,
  • blue electrical tape - more durable than black, so it guarantees a better attachment of the graft to the rootstock,
  • elastic polyethylene film - the main advantage of the material is the maximum convenience of its use.

Council If you decide to apply the film, make sure that it does not cover the cutting itself - in this case, it will prematurely dissolve.

And finally, in order to protect the sites of vaccination from infection and penetration of various kinds of pests, the finished strapping should be treated either with linseed oil or paint based on it.

As you can see, the spring grafting of apple trees is possible even for an inexperienced gardener, because it does not imply any super-complicated manipulations. All that is required is to deliberately choose the type of vaccination and precisely follow the instructions for its implementation. By following simple rules and recommendations, you are guaranteed to be able to count on an increase in both the volume and quality of your apple harvest.

Goals and objectives of grafting apple

To effectively vaccinate the apple in the spring, it will take several workouts. Vaccination does not belong to the category of compulsory procedures, just with its help you can solve many problems:

  • accelerate the reproduction of a favorite variety,
  • to grow a new apple tree on the stump of a tree that was cut using the root of the stock,
  • quickly get a new variety, not looking for where to buy a seedling,
  • increase the variety of varieties on one tree, not planting a small area with several seedlings,
  • improve the characteristics and immunity of the variety.

In addition to these options, vaccination solves an important problem associated with the salvation of a mechanically damaged culture.

When is it better to plant an apple tree: spring or autumn

It is possible to plant an apple tree all year round. In winter, the procedure is available to owners of large greenhouses and greenhouses. In the summer they plant young shoots just cut from a tree. You can train to infinity, until you get a positive result. Autumn vaccinations also take root pretty well, but there is a threat of scorching of the graft with the wrong care. It is best to traditionally plant an apple tree in the spring before the beginning of the growing season. With the onset of heat, wood begins active processes. The cutting with the stock grows together faster and over the summer they have time to get stronger before the onset of winter frosts.

The timing of grafting apple in the spring

Experienced gardeners determine the timing of spring grafting of an apple tree intuitively. It is important to catch the moment when the sap flow has not yet begun at full speed, but the tree has already begun to awaken from winter tranquility. Typically, such a period in spring lasts from March to April, and it begins immediately after the snow melts and the end of frost.

Preparation of tools and materials

Even before the time for grafting apple trees in the spring, the gardener must prepare the tool. From its quality, sharpness of sharpening and sterility depends on the survival of the scion with the stock. You will need a hacksaw, pruner, special garden knife with one-sided blade sharpening. The sharpness of the instrument is checked on any branches. A cut with a pruner or knife should be even without torn bark and wood. If the cut quality is poor, the tool is sharpened.

During vaccination in the spring, the infection should not be cut. Immediately before the procedure itself, the instrument is disinfected with alcohol or a 3% solution of copper sulphate. In addition, materials will need a fixing tape. It can be replaced with tape, only the vaccination site is wrapped with a non-adhesive side. For the treatment of the open cuts remaining on the tree, a garden warmer, oil paint, mash from clay and mullein, putty from wax or paraffin are prepared. It is better to prepare garden var with natural pitches, than to use the purchased product made of waste oil.

The selection and preparation of the scion

Apple cuttings are cut from branches of a year old. It is important to first examine their appearance. The branches should have an elastic living bark without mechanical damage, cracks, signs of disease. Gardeners usually prepare the graft in late autumn or early winter, when light frosts no less than –10 o C will begin outside. The cuttings will have time to harden under natural conditions. They will only be folded in the cellar or refrigerator for storage until spring. Another method of storage is based on burying cuttings in a snowdrift of snow, but first they are put in a box and covered with sawdust or peat.

What to choose as a stock

The basis where the cutting will be grafted in spring is called the stock. In order to graft apple trees in the spring to give a positive result, the graft must be a close relative of the rootstock. Optimally plant an apple tree on your native shtamb. Combination of unrelated varieties is allowed. It is important to choose grafts and rootstocks so that they belong to the same family. The apple tree is well grafted on the pear, apple tree and other trees of the seed family. A rowan or quince will be suitable as a stock, but the percentage of graft graft is reduced.

When choosing a stock are guided by the purpose of vaccination in the spring. If the variety needs to be enhanced resistance to frost or drought, it is better to graft cuttings on a wild apple or pear tree. At the same time from such mating reduced fruit ripening period. When there is no place for a garden on the site, different sorts of apple trees are grafted on one young tree, which differ even in terms of ripening.


A difficult way of grafting for beginners is called copulation. The cuttings are harvested in spring from the annual branches. The scion must have awakened buds, ready for foliage. The stalk can be taken a little thinner than the stock, but it is better to stick to the same thickness.

Simple spring copulation is done with a sharp knife. On the stock and scion make oblique cuts at the same angle. When two parts are combined, a single branch is obtained.

More complex, but improved copulation is done with the tongue. Knife figure cutout will not work. Here from the tools need a graft pruner. On a stock in wood cut deepening. On graft cut the bark and make the tongue. Its size should coincide with the deepening on the stock. Now it remains to connect the elements, wrap a ribbon, brush with garden pitch.


The best scheme for grafting apple trees in the spring for a beginner is budding. The process is based on the engraftment of the rootstock of the kidney. The graft is cut in spring from a healthy branch with a piece of bark and wood. The kidney should not yet begin to bloom. On the stock with a knife, the bark is cut with the letter “T”, gently bend the side shelves and enter a kidney into the resulting window. The operation site is smeared with garden bale, wrapped with tape.

With the “bark” method, it is necessary to plant the apple tree in spring in the month of April, closer to the beginning of May, when sap flow is already in full swing. The procedure allows for a large cut to make several thin branches. The step-by-step process consists of the following actions:

  • on the bark of a hemp a knife makes the necessary number of cuts (usually there are 2),
  • on the edge of the cuttings make oblique cuts 3 cm long,
  • the bark of the rootstock is gently turned down, injected with a cutting of cuttings,
  • The vaccination site is tightly sealed with a rope, wrapped with a ribbon, treated with garden barb.

It will take a long time to get accustomed to grafting for hemp bark. In the second year, leave the strongest escape, and the rest is shortened with shears. After 3 years, leave only one powerful apple tree, and the remaining weak gains are completely removed.

In the side slot

A novice gardener doesn't even have to read instructions or watch a video on how to plant an apple tree in the spring, if you choose the simplest method “in a side cut”. From the tools for vaccination, only a knife is needed. The lower part of the cutting of the apple is cut at an acute angle. At the stock, a cut is made above the base by 25 cm. The blade of the knife is leaned at an angle of 25 degrees, and the bark is cut through with a thin layer of wood with a strong push of the hand. Now it remains to insert the cutting into the turned-on pocket, pull off the graft with ribbon, smear it with garden pitch.

Vaccination in spring can be done in two ways:

  • Full split. Stock along along fully split with a knife.
  • Semi-splinter In the stock longitudinally split only one side.

Cuttings of apple trees with 3 buds from below are cut off with a wedge 3 cm long, inserted into the split pocket, the compound is treated with garden pitch, and the graft is wrapped around the top with tape.

Breezing is a complicated process, but it allows saving an apple tree in the spring, in which the hare nibbled the bark in winter. On the tree trunk with a knife make a smooth edge of the bark below and above the damaged area. From thin twigs of apple cut cuttings. The amount depends on the thickness of the apple trunk. On both sides of the cuttings make oblique cuts in the same plane. All the buds break off. On the lower and upper edges of the bark of the rootstock, they make cuts against each other. Under the bark insert cuts cuttings, smeared with garden pitch, zamatyvayut vaccination tape.

Advantages of using graft pruner

For gardeners who have decided to seriously engage in grafting apple trees, in the arsenal, it is desirable to have a special graft pruner. The tool is expensive. However, its beauty lies in the presence of interchangeable knives, allowing you to cut the desired configuration. The cut of the rootstock and the scion exactly matches, which increases the percentage of vaccination survival. When using a grafting pruner, an important condition is the selection of the same cutting diameter and stock. The maximum thickness discrepancy is 2 mm.

When confronted with a tool for the first time, a video about working with shears will help to instill an apple tree in the spring:

Spring is the best time for grafting not only apple trees, but also many other trees and shrubs. At the beginning of the season, the plants begin to move juices, their immunity increases, the periods of healing and recovery pass without complications. This applies not only to the rootstock plants, but also to those that act as donors.

Many gardeners in their work prefer to focus on the lunar calendar. In this respect, the best time to work with plants is the growing moon.

Spring vaccination rules:

  • The air temperature must be positive, the weather must be windless,
  • the best time of day is morning or evening.

What is required for the work

To perform all the manipulations with grafts and rootstocks, you will need a set of tools that are in every gardener's arsenal:

  • a knife with a short sharply sharpened blade,
  • grafting knife
  • abutment knife
  • hacksaw or pruner.

It is recommended to purchase and specialized graft pruner. This tool has a special blade shape. Different models can be equipped with knives with a different cut method, including figured ones.

Features and benefits of this tool:

  • less traumatic than normal
  • allows you to make curly cuts so that the articulation of parts of plants was perfect,
  • performs thin and precise slices for budding.

There are different models of graft pruners. Costly are characterized by higher quality steel from which the knives are made.

Such a novelty, as a vaccination pruner and knives, included in its packaging, caused a lot of negative feedback. Therefore, it will be easier for inexperienced gardeners to start learning different methods of grafting using a standard set of tools: grafting or eyeblading knives, garden shears.

Materials for work

To prevent damage to the injured places by pathogenic bacteria and insect parasites, as well as for the purpose of rapid healing, they use garden pitch. He has other, "popular" names: "garden resin", "garden putty". This viscous mixture tightly cover the injured part of the plant.

In the application of garden war there is one feature. Manufacturers of this product are trying to make it universal, suitable for use in regions with different, including harsh climates. Thus, companies seek to expand the market.

This approach affects the quality of products. In some climatic zones, the standard garden var cracks or after some time drains from the place of processing, exposing the injured area.

If the drug purchased in the store was useless, you can make your own, high-quality. There are several recipes for self-made garden pitch. In haste, you can make one that is called "village":

  1. Take 1 part of liquid cow dung and fatty resin. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add for density down and small hair of domestic animals.

The result is a sticky and viscous mass with good healing properties.

To strengthen the scion on the stock, strapping is necessary. For this purpose, use narrow tape, cut from a plastic bag. Some gardeners use tape, winding it around the branch so that the sticky side is facing out.

How to choose the graft and stock

The result of vaccination depends on how well the donor plant and stock are selected. For success of the event are guided by the recommendations:

  • растения должны быть здоровыми, без видимых повреждений ствола,
  • если цель прививки – изменение роста и кроны дерева, оптимальный возраст растения-подвоя – до 3-х лет,
  • The best stock for this climatic zone will be the variety that consistently produces good yields in these climatic conditions,
  • graft is desirable to harvest from apple trees, fruit-bearing at least two seasons.

The effectiveness of vaccination works depends on the affinity of varieties. The closer they are, the better the result. But the choice of related varieties is not a prerequisite. It is possible to instill wild apple trees, thereby cultivating them.

How to prepare cuttings

An important point in the procurement of cuttings - the choice of wood. It must be healthy and over a year old. It is desirable that the donor tree showed its yield, and the gardener knew the taste of the fruit in this variety.

Rules for harvesting and storage of cuttings:

  • optimal harvesting time is the second half of autumn,
  • air temperature should not be below -10 ° C,
  • wiped off the branch selected for grafting,
  • during operation do not touch the cutting plane,
  • if the cutting fell on the ground, wipe and update the cut,
  • the selected stalk is wrapped in a damp cloth and placed in a cool place (in the cellar, basement, on the lower shelf of the refrigerator,
  • branches set vertically, cut down the ends,
  • if there are several cuttings, they are placed in a container with sawdust or sand, which must be kept wet.

If there is no basement or cellar, choose another storage method. Before the onset of cold weather, the cuttings are wrapped in wet sacking and placed in the coolest place in the house. After snow falls, the burlap is replaced with a plastic wrap so that the upper part of the branches is free.

Next, transfer the graft into a snowdrift and set it so that the branches protrude from under the snow. This is important so that they "do not suffocate." With the onset of spring take measures to preserve the snowdrift, slowing its melting. For this, a layer of sawdust or sand is poured onto the snow. After the snowdrift has melted, the cuttings are again placed in sacking and moistened.

Requirements for the quality of cuttings:

  • on the branch chosen for engraftment there should be 3-4 full-fledged buds without visible damage,
  • the best part for cutting is the middle one,
  • the upper section of the graft should be even and diagonally
  • The lower cut of the scion is done as required by the rules for performing the chosen method of grafting.

Methods of grafting apple trees

Among the following types of grafting apple trees are often and rarely used. The most effective ways:

Regardless of the method chosen, several requirements must be observed:

  • prepare the instrument by disinfecting it and degreasing it,
  • wash hands thoroughly
  • during work, try not to touch the cutting planes on the cuttings and rootstocks.

Vaccination for bark

This type of grafting is optimal for trees older than 3 years. It is optimal for acclimatization and increasing the yield of apple trees, which are reluctant to develop in this region. This method refers to the category of complex and requiring precision movements and skill. The grafting is performed only in the spring, because at this time of the year the bark is easier to separate from the branches. Up to 4 cuttings can be planted at the same time.

Stages of work:

  1. Choose a place on the apple tree, located at a distance of 1-1.2 m from the ground.
  2. Cut through the wood with a knife, making a cut length of 4-5 cm.
  3. Gently shift the bark.
  4. Cut the lower end of the cutting.
  5. Get him behind the bark.
  6. Perform strapping with polyethylene.

Novice gardeners often make one mistake: when preparing a cutting, they do not take into account the direction of growth of the kidneys. Therefore, sometimes they nourish branches whose eyes are directed downward, not upward. You need to be careful when performing each stage of work.

There is one more thing that determines the success of the procedure - the speed of its implementation. Those who have no experience, it is desirable to practice on unnecessary branches of other trees.


Apple inoculation is a procedure involving the use of traumatic instruments. In order to To minimize the risk of self-harm, follow a few simple rules:

  1. Work is performed in dry windless weather.
  2. During the procedure, try not to be distracted.
  3. Make sure that when performing the cutting of branches, the left hand is not under the blade of the knife.
  4. Before you make a cut with a knife or split with an ax, mentally trace the trajectory of the tool.
  5. When cutting the butt of the cutting, the movement of the knife should be directed “away from you”.

Reasons for the failures

In novice gardeners, the effectiveness of vaccinations is usually low. The main problem is the premature drying of cuttings and kidneys due to the slow accretion of graft and rootstock. This nuisance is caused by a loose fit of the slicing planes, which are made incorrectly, have waves or notches.

Another reason for poor survival is insufficient protection against bacteria and pests. Therefore, it is necessary to perform high-quality treatment of injured places with garden barb. It can be replaced with clay (less desirable) or clay.

Errors in the preparation of the scion and its attachment to the rootstock to some extent can be compensated by the installation of plastic bags. They are immediately put on the ends of grafted branches. In order for the bags not to interfere with the growth of the graft, the length of the bags must be at least 15 cm.

If there is no suitable polyethylene on hand, you can use thick paper. It is rolled up with a roll so that a hollow cylinder 10-15 cm long is obtained. The roll is set on a graft and the paper is attached with a string.

After the graft takes root and becomes a full-fledged part of the stock, in the first season all leaves and shoots are removed from the young twigs. This is necessary for her to gain strength. Also ensure that the neighboring branches are not shaded graft.

If a novice follows all the recommendations of experienced gardeners, he will quickly master the art of grafting apples. And will be able to grow several varieties on any fruit trees.