Need advice on bark grafting

I’ve got a Citation/pluot I’d like to convert to nectarine. Since nectarine/pluot aren’t compatible I’m planing to cut the tree off down low into the Citation, ~3 inch diameter.

My questions are how do I shape the end of the scion that goes under the bark? And do I make one cut down to the cambium for each scion or two cuts the width of the scion stick? Should I use small scions or bigger? My range is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch sizes.

Your favorite video tutorial might be my best route to success.

Thanks for any advice…!!

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I do almost exactly as Harvey does in these video on many species. I am clumsy and find it very forgiving. The first one with taking a small amount of bark on each backside exposing cambium really helps. I wrap the scion 1st then make graft do a layer of parafilm the then rubber band for strenght then parafilm again like the back trim used here


When I bark aka rind graft I use very small stuff. 3 inches is good sized diameter and it may be to big for cleft but I would be tempted to do that because they heal faster than rind grafts. If I did rinds which is likely what I would do I would get very tiny branches cut both sides to make them thinner and slice the bark longwise and slip those little slivers of wood down in the cambium layer but making sure not to loosen the bark very much. When those slivers go in you want them super tight which means don’t peel it back much with a knife like many people do but rather just a little. Here is a post where I did an apple last year
Top working an old apple tree. Here is a video Stephen Hayes did that will help


This is how I’ve been doing it with good success. I use smaller 3/16 to 5/16" scion wood.


am partial to shorter and thinner scions, primarily to minimize leverage forces and “batting averages”(against hail/birds/wind, etc at least before new growth of cambium ensues), and especially for bark grafts because it is preferable that the bark doesn’t get torn.
a 3 inch diameter stump is probably wide enough to accommodate a 1/4 inch graft without the bark getting torn.
as for bevels, most literature and youtube instructionals feature one long(on sapwood side) and one short(bark side). I personally prefer 2 long bevels(just like a regular wedge), since we want as much ‘live’ tissue contact between the bark side and the sapwood side. The longer bevels also create thinner wedges, so less likely to tear bark.


Thanks guys that’s a big help. It appears I’ve been going with scions that are too big. I’ll try the smaller stuff.

I went outside and found some smaller wood that’s still dormant enough. If I can get any nectarine started on this stock I can convert it later to the cultivars I want.

Thanks again…!!

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I don’t always make a vertical slit in the bark. If the bark is slipping I take my knife and just pop the bark loose and slip the scion in. It seems to fit tighter and heal better. That’s how I did this peach graft last spring on a similar sized stump.


That sounds like a great tip for the small scions I now have. I’ll see if I can make that work.

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Guess what it worked, 6 for 6 scions on my Citation…!!

Thank you…!!


I’m glad it worked well for you. Doesn’t it seem like the vertical slit is a mistake ? when a scion without it just fits so much better?

Yes it does. However even with my small scions the bark did split in one place when pushing in the scion. That’s why I have it wrapped up until the bark heals up onto wood.

I was amazed they took. I couldn’t push them in but maybe 1/2 inch.

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I was top working some big stuff. I think the bigger the stump the easier it is to do without splitting the bark.

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I have a very basic question on bark grafting…i see some recommendations to make a slit on the stock then make a single angled cut through the scion. In this case there is no contact between the inside of the stock bark and the scion. The scion only contacts what looks like “wood” to me. The other approach is to make an angled cut on opposing sides of the scion which achieves additional contact between the scion and inside of the stock bark. So which ones works or does it matter? I read that cambium contact is necessary. I guess I’m not sure where that is. Is it the underside of the bark and peels back when bark is slipping, or is it the outer layer of what looks like wood and does not peel back?

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Such a great question.
I hope someone eventually replies!

Here to answer you where cambium is.