Bridge Graft Question

Just discovered I need to do a bridge graft ASAP on a one inch diameter young apple tree. Is one bridge graft enough for this small diameter?

Yes but I would do as many as you can fit so you will up the odds of success. The last bridge graft like that I put 4 on and I think 2 took.

1 Like

It doesn’t look like we’ve had a detailed conversation on Bridge Grafting anywhere on this site. I’m wondering if people have experiences/techniques/recourses they can share. I have some pretty serious damage on my Nadia and am going to take scion but am also going to see if I can bridge graft it to save the tree I have. I’m assuming bridge grafting needs to happen when normal grafting does, but I might try an earlier round too.

Do you already know this video?

I have an apple tree with a very low damage. In that circumstance an inarch graft seems to be the right choice. Thats when you essentially plant another tree besides the damaged tree and graft its stem into the damaged tree right above the damage. Its like a bridge graft “on its own roots”.

Until now my tree holds its own but it isnt really able to close the damage. I am thinking about an inarch graft to help the tree.


I hadn’t seen that video. It’s helpful. Maybe inarching is the way to go for my tree.

I have another bridge graft question and this seems a good place to put it. I’ve read a lot about how to do it, and I have two grafts done, but now I’m wondering how to manage the grafted piece. Is it best to remove the leaves or does the piece need some leaves to keep it alive while it grows into the trunk?? One graft is a small sucker near the trunk and the other is a piece cut from another tree. I’d like to know what others have done and your experience (hopefully successful). Thanks, Sue


Yes ,remove leafs


Hi Scott,
I have been reading up on bridge repair grafts. So far I find very little advice on when to do it; ie best season, using green scions with buds removed or dormant scions? I have two candidate trees that show pretty severe damage. One is a recent Hachiya persimmon that you saw earlier, this one I did a green bridge graft because about 2/3 of the bark just above the graft union to rootstock has not healed from an unknown damage source. The other is a sweet cherry tree that I am finally having good success with converting it over to plums, but this 20 year old tree is being held back in vigor by a rather large vertical split in the bark which may have been borers? Now it seems to not be able to regrow the bark on about 1/3 of the circumference. A pic below, the dark is pruning sealer I applied for a year or so, while hoping it would heal over the scar. Now that it’s apparent that will not occur, should I try a bridge graft this long? And when should I do so, what season?
Kent, Wa

Dennis, I don’t do bridge grafts if 1/3 of the bark is still there. The bridge graft is going to add bark on maybe 1/6th of a large trunk so there is not much advantage to it. They also are not super reliable. That scar may not heal but it should be able to get more than 1/3 live bark over time.

1 Like

Good points

Could someone post a picture of a healthy tree saved by bridge grafting five years or more after the grafting was done?

I think @joleneakamama has posted such.

I can if I remember to snap some.

1 Like

The tree we bridge grafted never missed a beat.
It’s been seven years since and though its been nibbled on a few times it has never seen the kind of damage it had before.

Here is the whole tree just after sundown. It is at least 16 feet tall in my estimation.

Here is a close up of the two long scions.

Here are the two short ones, the one on the left is wider now.

Lastly, here is the strip of bark that was not girdled.

The pictures from when it was first grafted are at this link, as well as an update or two.


Thanks. I have to graft a badly girdled Blenheim Orange and wondered what the result would look like down the road if I’m successful.

Makes a nice comparison with the earlier pictures.

1 Like

Thanks Jolene
Well done! I have a plum and a persimmon that need such repairs this spring, so you inspire me to get to it!
Kent, wa

1 Like

We did a flat type taper on the botom, shoved it under the bark flap cut to width, (two parallel cuts) then nailed it down. On the tops we sharpened them to a tapered point like you would for a cleft graft and slipped it under the bark with the scion bark lined up with a vertical split in the bark (bark facing my right as I recal). We just lifted one side, then after they were placed we wrapped the whole trunk with some fairly stout nurrsery tape. It stretched some, but was much harder to break then parafilm and let us put good pressure on the joints.
Each scion was wrapped with parafilm too.

It was devastating when the tree was girdled, but we learned from the project and were able to save it.