General questions on grafting…

I find the whole concept of grafting mind-blowing…. I have a couple general questions that maybe you guys can help me with.
(1) Can I graft a scion from this year’s growth? For example, I have a very small mandarin tree with many young branches; can I cut one of those branches and graft them? Are there advantages/disadvantages to the age of the scion?
(2) One of the surprising (at least to me) effects of grafting is that you get fruits earlier. My question here is this, if I graft a scion into a tree that is already fruiting, will the grafted tree also fruit within the first year? I other words, does the maturity of the rootstock have a relationship to how soon the grafted scion will fruit?
(3) If I grow a tree from seed, and then, while still young I cut a scion from it, and graft it into an older tree, will I still get fruit sooner? This last question is mostly from curiosity…

Most l likely not now but I haven’t tried it. I did have success doing it in October with a splice graft with a peach. It is normal to do bud grafts in August or September but advice might be different in your zone 13 climate.
Edit: I now remember accidentally cutting off a plum branch in August. I immediately grated two pieces to a different plum tree and both survived and produced one plum this year.

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I’ll try - some of these will be “it depends”.

  1. Grafting with this year’s growth is possible if your growing season is long enough and your skill level high enough. I believe @Jsacadura has a video on it, but I may be confused.

Although grafting with this year’s growth is not the way it’s usually done, you do want to collect bud sticks from this year’s growth. Bud sticks provide dormant buds hiding underneath a leaf stem, and are sliced out that same season to bud into another rootstock or growing tree. If you’re not familiar with budding you should learn about it. @fruitnut has a good tutorial on this forum that you should be able to find with a search. I think budding might be a good choice for what it sounds like you’re trying to do.

  1. As a rule, scions are new wood (that season’s growth) gathered after entering dormancy and stored until used, usually later in the year as trees are breaking dormancy. So you might cut a foot or so of fresh growth in summer, 2021, store it, and then in late winter or early spring of 2022 graft it to established rootstock. Lots of good discussion of collecting and storing scions on this forum, as well as how to use it.

If you graft to a healthy, growing tree with a nice established root system you can expect fruiting relatively early. If grafting to a new rootstock, which might be only a foot or so tall, you have to wait for the new plant to mature to expect fruiting.

  1. Yes.
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Yes you can.
if you want more information i’d look up summer chip budding or summer t-budding.

You usually want to search for mature growth, where you can see well developed buds at the base of the leaf stalk. (a bud just above where the leaf stalk is attached to the branch)

You cut off the leaf, but can leave the leaf stalk on. When the graft has healed, it will eject the leaf stalk (it will fall of). You can use this to time when to prune back to just above the bud.

I would guess you could also graft immature shoots. But than you might run into trouble if you remove the leaves, and the new buds aren’t mature yet. In that case I’d try a splice or cleft graft. And leave the leaves on, and work with a humidity dome/plastic bag over the graft. basically treating the graft like a cutting.

It is a complicated question to answer with many possible exceptions. But generally the hormonal balance of the tree determines when flower buds are formed.
Dwarf rootstocks “mature” sooner. Meaning they get the hormonal balance to flower production sooner.

grafting to a fruit bearing (thus mature) tree will usually make the grafts produce fruit to. However depending on the fruit variety you might need to wait a year. Some plants can produce fruits on this years growth (1e leaf) but most start flower production on 1y old branches. And thus fruit in their second leaf.

As an example. if you do a bud graft, than the year of grafting it will grow a shoot, but not fruits usually, the year afterwards on that shoot it can produce fruits.

In most cases, yes. Grafting a new variety grown from seed to a dwarf or mature rootstock will get you fruits sooner.

Although there is also an indication that the “genetic maturity” of the scion might play a role. Im still learning about this, and it does not seem to be well known. But there seem to be some epigenetic effects. And thus if you graft 2 scions. Scion A from a new young seedling. And scion B from an already fruiting large tree both to the same dwarf rootstock or tree. There is a chance Scion B will fruit years earlier than scion A. Since scion A might still be in a juvenile stage.

Or it might not make a difference at all. If seen reports and experienced it both ways.

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#1 yes if wood is mature enough
#2 yes
#3 NO

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are you sure?

I’m pretty sure grafting a bud from a young seedling to dwarf stock will get your fruits earlier, than just growing out the seedling.


On citrus I wouldn’t say “mature” growth rather hardened off growth. Mature growth on citrus has woody streaks which in my experience is not good bud wood.

I’ve grown out many seedling citrus. One I wanted ASAP was seedling sugar belle, not available in Texas as budwood. I grew out the seedling big enough to get budwood and then budded it to a swingle rootstock. Swingle is a very vigorous grower so the citrus seedling got bigger faster. IMHO at least for citrus seedlings they fruit when the tree gets to a large size, 8 feet or taller. As it gets larger the thorniness decreases and flowers set. Still for sugar belle it took 6-7 years for flowers. On a dwarf rootstock the citrus seedling wouldn’t get bigger faster.

I don’t think at least for citrus that grafting a seedling bud to a bearing tree speeds up fruiting rather the size of the seedling growth determines fruiting.


Wow! Thank you all for your help! This forum is awesome! I have to lookup tutorials and let these things sink in, but that is great!
Thanks again to all.

Nr. 3 is a yes

Thats the way fruit breeder get earlier fruiting from a seedling to determine fruit quality of that seedling.

I don’t know nothing about citrus though.

All those questions are already answered in length in different threads in this forum. If you use the search function you will find a wealth of information about your topics.

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Hoping @oscar or others can help me with some chip budding questions.

I need some advice for chip budding peaches this summer.
The rootstocks I want to chip bud onto are 2 seedling peach trees that are 4 or 5 years old. They are overgrown and not pruned well. I have spring grafted them with dormant scion wood several years in a row, but either the grafts did not take, or they are varieties I do not want anymore &/or are poorly located on the trees.

I would like to use some of my own bud wood from better cultivars I have growing currently. I don’t know how to select the best places to put the grafts on the seedling trees, since these are multi-branched mature trees (i.e., big and messy).
How do I go about chip budding onto these mature, fruit bearing peach trees?
Should I select this year’s growth as low on the trunk as I can find? Essentially budding to create a new trunk? Or would it be better to bud to secondary shoots off of main laterals?

I’ve watched chip budding videos and understand the concept, but all the tutorials I have seen are budding onto 1 yr old stock. In that scenario, you prune above the bud and your bud becomes the new trunk. With my over-grown mess of a tree, I just don’t know how to approach grafting it over to one or more better cultivars.

Advice appreciated if you have the time!

Budding or chipping to older wood is dicey- the younger the rootstock (or shoot off of your established, mature trees) the easier, assuming it’s old enough to work with. So you might do better to bud to a young shoot that you can use to replace the overgrown branch it’s growing from: select a water shoot growing fairly close to the trunk of the tree, bud fairly low on the shoot, and when the bud is forced and gets a little growth you can pull the shoot to horizontalish. Remove the branch it’s replacing.

That’s assuming you don’t have suitable fairly young growth close to the trunk otherwise.

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Thank you for your advice, Mark. That helps!
Perhaps I should look at the big picture. After my failed grafts, I still should have chosen 3 to 4 good laterals and removed the rest. I did not do this. That should still be my goal. It’s just messy to look at an overgrown tree, and hard to know where to start.
If I can find find several decent laterals with good attachment to the main trunk, then choose side shoots as you suggest and bud to those. Then ultimately I will be removing 80% or so of the growth of the tree. But if the buds take, I’ll have something worth keeping.

I like to do bark grafting if converting older wood.

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@murky, Don’t you need dormant scion wood to do bark grafting?


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I’m not sure if this has been asked here yet,but sometimes people send me scions that include the branch tip.
Having read,that the middle part of a cutting is the best,does anyone have good experience,by using that end piece and not trimming it off?

It depends on species, but I think people prefer the middle section of last year’s growth for good vegetative growth. If what I have includes terminal buds, I don’t use them first, but also have no problem using them.

For loquat using the growing tip seems to help a lot.

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I’ve been known to use the end piece.


newbie grafting question here - is it possible to graft a morus nigra onto some compatible older wood or hardy rootstock so that it could survive Zone 5?

thanks in advance

Im sorry for the late reply. Took a brake from the forum.

If grafted on 2 and 3 year old wood. (chip buds, plum apples pears, asian pears)
I however have very limited experience with peaches. So I’m afraid I’m of no help.

I am curious though. Did the grafts take? where did you end up grafting?

If your gonna try again this spring/summer. I would search for some young growth close the the main trunk. Graft on there. And prune back and grow a new framework from those grafts.

Like marknmt recommended.

I would not prune everything on the tree after grafting. You usually keep a few branches out of the way from the new grafts. for a season.

I remember skillcult having a chip budding video with a “guest host” specifically showing what peach buds are good for summer grafting. Might be worth looking up.