Grafting 1mm “coffee straw” scions

What would people recommend for successfully grafting very thin scion? Of course, pencil size is best but sometimes all we get is the coffee straw size.

Thank you.



You are probably going to want something sharper than a standard grafting knife. Maybe a razor blade that has been honed a little. Getting a straight cut should not matter because the scion is so thin it will flex easily, but a flat cut will be good.

I typically would put them in a cleft graft…take two little pieces and align one on the right of the rootstock cleft, and the other on the left side line up with the cambium/bark.

Also have had success taking a thin limb tip of an existing tree, or a small seedling tree–and sharpening to a flat point – then taking my boxcutter knife and very carefully splitting/slicing upwards from the base of the scion about the same length,
then placing the twig over the sharpened root or limb. (Saddle graft.)
If your knife is really sharp, you can even carve a identical receptacle into the little scion…but the cambium only has to make good contact, it dosn’t have to be “perfect”.

Then you wrap and seal as you would any other new graft. Hold it together, keep air and water out.

Good luck. Sharp knife will be essential.

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I use a new blade on a 9mm “quick point” Stanley knife and make a wedge shaped slice along one side of the scion. I remove a 1-2mm long piece of bark on the opposite side.
On the stock, I make an inverted “L” shape cut in the bark gently lifting the bark under the cuts.The horizontal cut is about 3 x the diameter of the scion.
I slide the scion into this space with the wedge facing the cambium that the entire scion is behind the bark.It is tied in with Parafilm, which is also used to cover the exposed portion of the scion. A YouTube video by Sacadura provides good detail of the technique.


With lateral bark grafting
When working with rootstock that calluses quickly or where the callus is prolific, I find it sometimes pushes the scion away from the union.
Parafilm, doesn’t seem strong enough to hold the union.
I have trouble applying rubber bands so have used cable ties (Zip ties) 100mm long x 3.6mm wide (Approx 4 x 3/16").to hold the union tight. I loosely place the first tie around the scion before I slide the latter into place. Once the union is as I want it, I slide this tie down over the union and tighten it about 3-4mm (1/8-1/4") below the top of the graft. A second tie is placed about 1/3 the way up from the bottom of the graft. After the second tie is tightened, I cover the union with Parafilm.
If the bottom tie is tightened first, the bark flap above it will often fracture.
I remove the ties 4-6 weeks later.


That’s a good tip - I hadn’t thought nor heard of that.

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Summary:

-can tuck into bark on side
-razor blade rather than grafting knife for flat cut
-cleft graft
-saddle graft upside down V (lay two sides of thin scion over the sharp point of the upside down v)
-bark graft, tucking the thin scion under an inverted L flap of rootstock scion (Sacadura youtube video). Callus might separate the graft, so secure with zip ties or something strong.

ie cleft graft vs saddle graft vs bark graft

Is the biggest challenge that the small scion is apt to dry out?

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I have never done bark grafting on a toothpick size scion in the spring. I had never been able to get the dormant scion’s bark peel off easily in early spring grafting. I did grafted toothpick plum scion using what Steve depicted above with success. What I have also done was waited a little longer till the bark slip and lifted the bark then tugged the scion under the bark.
Good Parafilm wrap of grafting union and scion is important