Holding a grafting session

Has anyone held an informal grafting session where they live? I’ve attended several. I’m not great at it but I enjoy it so much!! Everyone I tell about grafting are amazed and want to learn more.

What should I consider? Liability? Costs? If you have had one, how has it turned out?

1 Like

First, you have to provide rootstocks. Because they’re not cheap, you’ll want to have a plan for using the leftovers.

It doesn’t hurt to have medics standing by with spare plasma, either.

Generally, you’ll schedule a presentation with a venue that’ll take care of the liability issues. I’ve seen it done with and without a venue, though.

Consider whether you really want to provide your own audio/visual (A/V) equipment.

Be sure that the info in your presentation materials is not copyrighted.


Finding wholesale rootstock is a great first step. Do you want people to have the standard apples or something different like pawpaws? Both are easy if done correctly, but now might be a good time to order materials for next year.

I’d definitely share different tools that could be used, from a v cut tool to a simple utility knife. For most people, they won’t graft enough to invest in a hundred dollar Tina 605 knife so removing cost as a barrier to entry is important. Many people already have a good amount of what they need.


You could invite people over to watch. Those that will want to try will ask and you can stand next to them and hand them your knife and if necessary, hold their hand while they grip the knife. Whatever it takes to keep it from dangerous.

I’d just graft to trees in your landscape or the surrounding perimeter of native/junk trees.

I’ve done two of those.


Friend of mine down south ran a grafting class and had to call 911 when they couldn’t stop the bleeding of one student. I’ve done two classes and emphasize use of a leather glove for non-dominant hand when cutting tongues on whip and tongue grafts.

1 Like

I went to one presentation where they gave out razorblades. I thought that was worrisome at best.

I was thinking of doing it at my home. The grafting tool is the least dangerous method I can think of.

I was going to charge a small fee to cover the rootstocks. Im not sure I’m ready to take this step. I was thinking through the process.

I’m a master Gardener and that might be a better forum with their support and sponsorship.


Excellent idea.

I know before they swipe the knife if they have any inclination whatsoever how “not” to hurt theirself. I’m standing right next to people in groups outdoors and I watch very close while I hand my knife their response and what they ‘think’ they’re gonna do. I stop 'em right away.

There’s obviously two ways to hold a class. I like showing how to do it correctly and if they have the game to do it themselves, ask em.


I kachunked my finger in the v cut tool, right through the nail. Could have been much worse, but an emphasis on safety as being paramount regardless of method is important. I was probably exhausted when I did that at the end of the night for the record.

1 Like

You need to find places to get 100 rootstocks for under $1.50 each (that includes the shipping)…i’ve done so both the last 2 years.

You could have the class for free? And charge them for each graft they take home?
Or, charge a set price…and let e’m take a free tree or two that they grafted.

You could do the ‘work’ and they just observe…but this isn’t as good as hands-on but might allay fears someone gets hurt.


Why buy rootstocks? If it’s just for practice, send them out to the plum thicket and get all the practice wood they need? And some bandaids :slight_smile:


I know exactly what you mean about knowing right away.

I’ve assisted in a number of grafting classes.


EVERYONE- listen to how a tongue is done w/o fear:

the idea is to use a Tina 605 knife that’s been sharpened after it came in a box. That’s #1. It should be ‘frightening’ sharp. When I would ask a professional sharpener to sharpen my blade I would specify that the sharper is the less dangerous for me.

The proper technique is to hold the knife (in a dominant hand) where you are raising the scion to your knife’s blade and pushing the wood into the blade not the reverse where (a) person would push THE KNIFE INTO THE WOOD. That would be mistake #1 to push the knife into the wood.

Your hand must be so solid that if someone “sat” on your arm, that knife never move an ‘inch’…

I therefore ‘push’ the wood while holding a knife so stiffly that my arm/hand never move. I am able to use downward Pressue on that hand holding the knife-blade . . but just a little-bit. I’m working in “unison” with the wood in one hand being still as a mummy from Egypt and the other hand holding the blade being as still - I’m basically bringing each together with a lot of STRENGTH in each arm & hand (LIKE POLAR MAGNETISM) - when two magnets are placed “against” each other. That’s what it should feel like to make tongue cuts.

I can push a knife held in another person’s hand to do a tongue. I do it holding their hand as stiff as I hold the knife when it’s in my hand which is really held tightly. I hold it like I’ve got a boxing fist ready to box some mf bareknuckle fighting. That’s the same stance I’m in too. A boxer stance. I have my balance from my legs being spread a bit further apart than normal. It’s pure YOGA. You are in positions or stances.

To learn is to go grab a pile of wood from trees and make one cut after another (standing) if you can.

I do a lot of chip budding at a picnic table with scions on a corkboard.


1 Like

Thanks Dax. I would like to do some practicing myself using the technique you describe. I appreciate the information.

Sure R

A friend who does a ton of grafting holds the scion in his closed fist then drops an old music CD over the scion to protect his hand while cutting tongues.

1 Like