Grafting for complete beginners?

I did my first grafting last weekend. :flushed: I have a couple of questions. Well… more than a couple. This was a last minute decision and I’m really excited about it but I do know that the conditions are probably not ideal for success so I’m basically calling it practice. I cut some scions a few weeks ago from some wild mulberries and grafted back onto these same trees. I wrapped the scions in parafilm, wrapped the unions in parafilm and reinforced a couple of the grafts with electrical tape, and sealed some of them (cleft and side grafts) with pruning sealer.

Question 1: How soon do you notice bud swelling? We are in major spring here. The mulberry stock was barely breaking leaf. It’s been in the mid 80’s the last few days.

Question 2: I can see a scant amount of moisture around the buds through the wrapping. Did I not wrap them tight enough. It actually looks like condensation. Is this detrimental or expected?


I sometimes see moisture like you are referring to but it hasn’t cause any graft failures yet. The time to push new buds will not be exact. Some pop out in a couple of weeks and some takes longer but this time of the year they should start growing sooner than later.

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I understand that bench grafts need to be in 60-70 degree room for two weeks after grafting and then moved outdoors to 35 plus weather. Anybody done this successfully? Is the graft supposed to show signs of growth in 2 weeks? If it does is it a good idea to move it outdoors to 35 degrees?

Thanks Bill. Of course I can’t keep from going out to look everyday even though I do realize it might be a long shot.


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  1. Bud swelling doesn’t mean the graft took. If the graft took you can see it in 2 weeks but also 2months.
  2. It is condensation. It just means you did a good job wrapping the scion.
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I have made lots of grafting videos for beginners , my native language with English subtitles on most videos :smile:

This is my playlist about grafting fruit trees.


Nice work. Ne vidim titlova engleski. Možda na drugim videa?

I have titles on most of videos not on all, translating subtitles still in progress :slight_smile:.


Oh, I missed the ‘most’ in the first description. I’ll keep watching and learning!

I think the temperature depends on what you are grafting. I keep my new apple bench grafts closer to 34F for as long as 3 weeks before I bring them into higher temps. and they seem to callus very well. Plums and pears I keep warmer.

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These are plum grafts. I guess I will keep them inside for 2 weeks and then move outside. Thanks.

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I know it’s early. I know I have to wait for proving but I know no other grafters than on this forum and I’m really excited to get this far. I did my first ever grafts on March 18 and I’ve had a bud break through the parafilm!! I did 4 grafts on some wild mulberries in my woods and all four of them are showing green in the buds and this one broke the film.

Even if they fail I have broken the confidence barrier to try again!




Congrats! It looks great. I did my first ever graft this season. I’ve been checking on them couple of times a day. So I know the feeling right before that feeling :grinning:
Still waiting to see bud break through parafilm.


Ain’t it great? Way to go, Katy, way to go. Looks like you’re on your way.

One thing I will suggest, if you don’t mind, is to not be shy with the parafilm (nothing wrong with a couple of layers over everything) and don’t be afraid to pull it tight enough so that no air is held in. I know that when you’re wrapping at an angle it can be hard to get it all snug but it helps to pull right up to the breaking point.

Congratulations on your good work!


Thanks. I wondered about the parafilm. I was consciously making it only one layer thick because I wasn’t sure about that. Also I found out that if you’re going to use a sealer do all your parafilm wrapping before you get the sealer on your hands!

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Yes! I know too… we have had some really warm weather…days in the 80’s so I think that kind speeds things up down here. Good luck on yours!

Ah, that first bud break :slight_smile: Quite a thrill, grin. Most of us remember that like it was yesterday.
Grafting sometimes seems a little intimidating, and now you know you can.
From there, it all seems possible. There are different kinds of grafts each person likes, but they all work, so, go, and enjoy them. have fun.


Congratulations! The peaches I grafted at the end of February are also breaking through the parafilm. Parafilm is just awesome stuff. I can’t wait to get a couple inches of growth to declare success. I got bud break on all three attempts, both in the tree I am top working to a known variety, as well as the back up grafts on a stray root clone of St Julians as well as a on my larger Hale Haven.

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I grafted dormant scions to dormant R/S. Some of the R/S are leafing out while the scion still hasn’t done anything. Does that tell me anything about my grafts (like, that they failed?)

Also, should I let the rootstocks leaf out or pull off all the leaves for right now?

Keep all buds and sprouts from rootstock rubbed off as soon as they appear or they’ll starve the graft. Rootstock sprouts don’t tell you anything about whether your graft has taken- it’s just a response to being cut.