I’m new to T budding figs. They seem easy so far and the wood is big enough to show well in pictures. Too close on some so not focused but still visible I think.
First a couple of key points. Don’t even try if the bark isn’t slipping well on the rootstock. If not slipping it’s hard or impossible to insert the bud cleanly under both flaps of the T. Not cleanly under and success falls thru the floor.
Get bark slipping by watering at least a week ahead of budding. Also cut back the rootstock in winter if needed to force strong new shoots. Those strong new shoots make the best stock. This is not a technique for old and thick barked stock, graft that.
It helps if bark is slipping on the scion wood but not essential. Bark must slip if you want to do a bud with wood out. Taking out the wood makes a much better fit if scion is as big as the understock. I’ll show what taking out the wood looks like in pics below.
First a couple pictures of T buds, nectarine/pluot, onto K1 for a forum member. I’m kinda proud of the second because it’s a half inch above the top roots and was between two new shoots since pruned off. T budding can be done on very small wood in very tight quarters.
Here are the materials needed: understock in pot, scion wood, budding rubbers, grafting knife, and pruning shears…oh and for me magnifying glasses.
Immediately cut off leaves on budwood to reduce water loss. Leave a stub of the petiole to help inserting the bud.
Find a flat spot on the understock away from any buds or anything else that might limit slipping of the bark, like damage to the bark.
Make your two cuts, down and across. Cut fully thru the bark but not into the wood. It’s usually easy to tell as the bark is much softer than the wood. Then I sometimes on stuff like figs with thick bark cut a ramp above the T. This can help insert the bud.
Then I pry the bark loose with my thumb nail starting at the top and moving down. I like using this method because I can use my finger to brace against the stock so as to only loosen the bark not pull it off or tear it.
Not a good pic but the prepared stock with bark slightly spread.
Now that stock is prepared cut the bud starting below the bud and cutting up.
Now cut through the bark above the bud and gently pry the bark loose at the top by the cross cut. Again I use my thumb to avoid tearing the bark. When the bark is loose at the top press down and sideways on the bud. If the bark is slipping this will pop the bud stick off minus the wood.
Now insert the bud down into the T. If necessary use you nail to pull the bark out slightly while inserting the bud.
If you could see it first the partially inserted and then fully inserted bud.
All that’s left is wrapping with the budding rubber while leaving the new bud uncovered. Covering it for two weeks won’t hurt.
Another picture of the budstick with the wood left behind. The bud pulls off at the cambium layer. If you get the bud cambium fully under both flaps of the stock and laying flat against the cambium of the stock, you’ll get 80-90+% takes.
Here’s a budded fig after three weeks. The new bud is starting to swell and graft union indicates a good tight fit of bud and stock. Can’t be seen here but after 2-3 weeks if the inserted bud looks alive, cut the stock back above the inserted bud. Don’t cut too close or you risk damaging the union. Keep all buds pushing from the understock rubbed off.