Ok lets admit it, grafting may be easy, but learning to graft is hard

I tried those exact ones but they made me feel clumsier, like I couldn’t grasp the rootstock with confidence - or anything really. I guess when using a knife, for me, the ‘feel’ is important. So anyone can fab this.

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My worst cut ever was a cleft. Bled all over, lost feeling in my fingertip for over a year. I still wouldnt call a collar mandatory even though it might be nice—i prefer whip and tongue but do clefts several ways:

Bench rootstocks can be “split” against a cutting board (which is basically the same as using a utility cutter except the board and knife act as the utility cutter jaws would but you dont need the cutter)

Utility cutters as mentioned above work

“Tapping” the blade into any anchored rootstock to make the cleft, with the heel of your hand, a hammer, etc to pound the knife

Locking thumbs to prevent slippage

I am not slamming collars, just saying they arent the only way to fry this particular fish…


I recently got a pair of these:

They are not very bulky, and are quite flexible. They really are cut/slice (highly) resistant; but not poke resistant. In other words, thorns will go right through. Just like the reviews say, they are sized a bit small. Either glove fits either hand. Medium size is tight for me and I have smallish guy hands. I sometimes use small gloves when I’m doing very precise work. I will get a pair of Large for general work in the shop, etc.
I use two single-bevel knives, one righty and one lefty. They are both for my right hand…I essentially never cut toward my fingers.

Love the utility cutter. It makes a nice straight cut on the scion that gives a ‘professional’ looking narrow wedge. I should have used it for the root stock cut, too. Next time I will. :blush:

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I’ve been grafting for 15-years. I do everything probably wrong. I did notice on a recent video I made that I had my thumbs locked together for a cleft cut into the rootstock. I was proud of myself for doing what the book says.

I was never going to tell anybody because I feel like an idiot and knew last year during a graft that I was going to hurt myself and I did. I was standing on a hill leaning backward and doing a whip for a whip and tongue when… I told myself at the exact moment I got hurt “you’re going to cut yourself” well I pulled thru a pretty thick Prunus and the knife went right toward my face and I stopped it with my other hand and cut right into the bone of my pinky finger. I stood there and shook my head and defeatedly put my head down and walked real slow back to my house. Got a rag and drove to the emergency room.

That last knuckle on my pinky finger is where the knife went in and it stopped at a slant at the junction of bone and fingernail. It was gruesome… I’ll be the first to tell you.

The only time prior to this in all these years is I was bragging to a grafter the year prior during an email in the morning that I had never hurt myself. And that morning I was staring out into the yard while standing inside my greenhouse and of all things I was cleaning my pruners and I cut the living hell out of myself.

Well boring stories maybe. I’m in the hurt/injury club now.



By the way, the moment I got home I went back to grafting.



Years ago I partially amputated two fingers while installing a wood floor. First thing I did when I get back from the hospital was install the piece of flooring I had been cutting at the time of the accident!


Yikes! Didn’t you also split one of your fingers with a saw, or was that the same accident?

same accident

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I had the good fortune to cut myself on my first time grafting. It seemed deep at the time, but healed up fine on its own.

So now I always wear work gloves with some duct tape reinforcing key areas.


Looks like the 3 trees I put together with supervision where a success. I just home my unsupervised grafting works out as well.


Having in past yeasrs only tried whip not too successfully and whip and tongue with better success…this year I added several other grafts to my repertoire…and they all seem to work! So, not sure what’s so hard. Just practice on a few sticks you aren’t actually going to plant…then you’ll do just fine.

I find something called a ‘side graft’ that is completed with a whip and tongue works wonderfully on langer rootstocks and thinner scionwood. (Reducing the need for cleft grafting…which seems less successful on dormant rootstocks.)

Just my personal observations.

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I tried grafting for the first time yesterday. I just used one of those Zen tools, so don’t know how well it will work out, but at least I didn’t cut myself. I’ve been sick, so the grafts weren’t anything elaborate, just grafting tape wrapped around them, some with a bit of electrical tape over that. The hardest part was tying the tape off after wrapping them. I did apples, plums, and apricots. I only did one practice cut so as not to dull up my blade. Didn’t use any wax. I hadn’t planned to ever get into grafting, but you guys made me do it!


Given what I learned in class. It didn’t matter how many videos I could watch or books I could have read. The finer points just did not click until someone shows you.

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Yes, I know that feeling! The thing is though, once you see that bud grow and get green then leaf out and make a branch and/or a tree then you just have to do it again!! Even if it means you have failures too.



Every time I graft and succeed, I feel like a transplant surgeon…


I think that I had a 40- 50 percent take rate, with the Zen tool, but now, getting the rootstock to root out is a challenge. Not one I anticipated.



When in Miami, Florida, we graft mangoes. Below are two successful grafts I made on a seedling (Fascell/?Haden) that was knocked down by hurricane Irma last September. It is a three variety cocktail tree: One branch I left is the original seedling.

I added Glenn and Nam Doc Mai.


First grafting experience this year and it work! On applen on pear and on plum :slight_smile: