Chip budding in spring

I’ve had terrible luck t- budding last summer and wondered about trying chip budding. I know it’s normally a summer type of graft with leafed out actively growing wood. But also heard that it can be done in the spring time. Is it done with the same dormant scions used to whip or cleft graft? Could I potentially take a rootstock and use a whip and tongue to graft variety A while also adding a chip bud 4 inches down the rootstock of variety B? Or is this to much to ask of a young rootstock? Reason I ask is that I possess several different scion varieties now that are dormant but won’t have access to the same varieties in the summer. Thought it would be a way to not only get a leg up on a multi variety tree but also make use of the extra scions I currently possess.


The lower bud might not push even if it takes. It sometimes takes high vigor to push a bud depending on position etc. A newly planted tree may not have enough ump to get everything going. Plus budding right onto the vertical trunk might make a weak attachment.

I’ve made great multigrafted trees by budding onto existing branches with good structure. That could be chip or T budding.


I have chip budded apples on to young rootstock multiple times in the spring with about a 50% success rate. Many of the failures had live buds that just refused to grow no matter what I did to try to get them to push. What I mean is that almost always the graft itself lived, but the bud often doesn’t grow. I’ve occasionally but not regularly run into the weak attachment issue mentioned by fruitnut.

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Looks like about 2/3rds of my spring chip buds will be successful this year. Here’a a crappy picture from my phone of one of them spring chip bud.jpg - Google Drive

Considering this is my first year doing grafting I’ve had satisfactory success when I had healthy wood to work with. I’ve grafted in the spring and mid summer. A few weeks ago I tried chip budding. It was simple and I think it will be successful but won’t know until the spring. I tried leaving a leaf on one of the chips out of curiosity and after three weeks it’s doing fine. Since the chip is involved in making a good connection with the main wood, that chip leaf may have an advantage.
So if chip budding works in the spring, summer and early fall it seems like a excellent technique. Are there disadvantages?

Only disadvantage I can think of is it isn’t useful on large understock. Like T budding it’s limited to small wood. Maybe slightly larger wood than T budding. It’s a really nice technique.

I’ve used it and like it, but some of mine seem kind of “perched” on the understock rather than in it. That seems to happen especially when I’ve tried to stick them on too-large understock. So listen to Fruitnut and don’t put them on oversized stuff.

I like to put a chip or bud behind a whip or cleft graft as back up. That’s worked for me a few times.

I have never left a leaf on a chip; I’d be concerned that it might transpire moisture from the chip before the thing took. But after three weeks I’d bet you’re in the clear. Way to go!


I done some late summer apple chip budding with about the same 2/3rds success rate. As @fruitnut stated it seems it would be impossible on very large rootstock. I’ve also experienced the perching effect mentioned by @marknmt but it’s never seemed to affect the long term viability of the graft. Some of the perched ones took, some didn’t, and if they took they grew well.

Right about losing moisture so I put a zip lock bag over it with a few drops of water. It kept that leaf alive until it could get water from the main stem.

Here’s the chip graft after 4 weeks. Used some of @Appleseed70’s silicon tape that worked very well.


Good idea and a good job. I’ll remember that. Thanks for the followup.

Couldn’t see the picture though. I wonder if my browser is acting up.

I couldn’t see a photo either

Reloaded photo.
If it leafs out in the spring I’ll show the result.

I see the photo now.

All of my chip buddings were failures, including the one in the photo. I blame it in my poor technique. I need to try again this year.

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Mebbe not your fault- I thought you had it and I think there may have been some other factor at play.

Words of wisdom from my mechanic guiding me through a clutch replacement:

“Keep at it. You’ll get it.” (Thanks, Bob Andrews!)

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I’m reading up on chip budding these days. I always do cleft grafts and never done chip budding. But I’m at a point that cleft is not an option. I’m trying to espalier my pear tree that was planted last year inside my veggie garden. I don’t have many sunny spots in my yard so I’m using the space inside the veggie garden for fruit now. But I have to keep it contained against the wall as an espalier to kee it from shading my veggies.
Anyway, so I have a tall pear tree with no branches on the trunk. Just the top. So I want to chip bud on to the trunk to get branches where I want them. But reading this thread it sounds like it’s a bad idea to chip bud on to the trunk and also it sounds like chip buds even if graft takes may not push the bud and start growing.
So I’m wondering whether to go ahead with chip buds anyway and take my chances or try and notch the trunk to induce branches where I want them and then hope it listens to me and push out a branch and then next year cleft graft to it. Thoughts?

I’ve had success with an application of BAP-6 on fig trees. BAP is a cytokinin. Nearly 80% of the buds which had BAP applied woke up and grew vigorously. It may work in this case as well.

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I’ve chip budded about 30 trees over the past two months, and wondering when i can remove the parafilm / grafting rubbers? Also, would it be a good idea to cut off the tops, as they are just starting to wake up (a few blooms, but no leaves just yet).

I did a lot of chip budding. First you don’t need to take off parafilm, and the sprouts will get out by themselves . If you wrapped with rubber/ other grafting film, you can unwrap in one month. You don’t need cut the top, and the top can help pull the nutrition up. You can make a cut above the bud if you find the bud is still alive, but didn’t sprout.