T-budding vs chip budding stone fruit in July

I have had a lot of failures T-budding stone fruit in the summer. The bud just falls out, drying up a few weeks later.

I have had some success with chip grafting. But that too, will sometimes fail. I think the trees in So Cal grow so fast that the parafilm is stretched and the chip dries out.

This time I am going to try a second wrap that is more loose. I will also cover the chip in foil to protect from the sun. Does anyone else have tips for how to get success in either T budding or chip grafting stone fruit in the summer? Thanks.

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If your T buds are falling out you don’t have them properly wrapped. You need appropriated sized budding rubbers. Wrap them up tight with those leaving only the scion bud and petiole stub uncovered.

The other thing is that the bark on the rootstock needs to be slipping well. You absolutely need to get the scion bud fully under the rootstock bark. The bark slips well when the tree is well watered and growing.

Don’t bud into last year’s rootstock wood or wood with thick bark. Those will fail. Bud into new growth from this year preferably of a somewhat bigger diameter than the scion piece you are taking buds from. Removing the wood from the scion bud may help the fit esp if scion is equal or bigger diameter than the rootstock.

If the T bud is wrapped up well with budding rubbers I haven’t found it necessary to cover that with buddy tape. Commercial grafters don’t cover their T buds with anything. They just warp up tight with budding rubbers.

I have had better success covering chip buds with buddy tape than not covered. Chip buds are also wrapped up with budding rubbers prior to buddy tape.


How about chip budding into second or even third year wood? I have a plum I’d like to work over to about 50% apricot, and I don’t want all my apricot wood to start too far from the trunk. Thank you.

I think you’d do better by cutting the rootstock hard to force new growth down low. Then T bud or chip bud into the new wood.


Makes sense. I’ll do mostly that and one or two into two year old wood. Thank you much.

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They fell out when I checked them, meaning they never took. I will try using 1 year wood and the rubbers. What size is too big for t bud? Is bigger than pencil size okay?

Pencil size is good for the scion budwood. Twice that diameter for the rootstock works well. Smaller for both works. Current seasons growth on an actively growing rootstock is what you need.

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I would like to try my hand at summer t-budding cherry and plum. It is currently in the 90’s here (north central Connecticut), is that too hot for budding? If so then I can wait for the heat wave to break but when do you think is the latest approximate date that it would be expected to succeed?

My experience is mostly with May and June T buds. I’ve tried some in late summer and fall with limited success. I think chip budding might do better than T buds late in the year. For chip buds the bark doesn’t need to be slipping.

The only success you’ll have right now is in a shaded structure.

There’s an old school technique for mid-July into about the first week of August where you do a single bud veneer with 1/2 petiole attached to scion. The rootstock is given a haircut and the canopy shortened to similarly what rootstocks look like at Spring, chip budding time.

The grafts are done inside a shaded hoophouse with high humidity and they are grafted on the dry side (this is for potted or trees planted in the ground inside structures since people do that) and a single bud is used and if in 7-10 days the petiole turn black at the junction of the bud and petiole & it falls off, the graft is successful. If the petiole stays green or never turns black at the junction of stem/bud, the graft is unsuccessful.

At the same time on (a) successful graft, you’ll watch and notice the bud raises up a little bit. I’m talking fractions of an inch. It’s when this bud raises up that the petiole is ‘pushed off’. The bud literally turns green (a faint bit) and grows about 1/8th an inch and then stops dead in its tracks. This technique is used for Japanese maples of all kind(s) and for Ginkgo.

After a successful graft, the grafts must be moved to full shade (often sited up against north buildings) for 7-10 days and kept extremely dry. You only give pots that are nearly-completely-dried up a sip of water at a time for those 7-10 days; after 10-days, they can be watered as much as you want and they can be taken to complete & full sun.

The bud will not grow this year. You will only know 100% sure the following year when the bud grows, but, they usually do. The year after and the same as chip buds, you are to chop off the rootstock above the bud after the bud has expanded and grown a full set of true-leaves. …get a stake in place to tie the growth of the new cultivar/varietal to.

This doesn’t work for everything. I only know it works for Ginkgo’s and Japanese Maples. Your option to do this also works just as well to pitch a tent inside a barn with sunlight coming in from a single window. Then follow the rest of the procedure to the north side of a structure, limit water for 10-days, (watch out for rain), and then move them to sun and you are allowed to water, again.

The best/easiest option is to wait until mid-August and chip bud… (for the next 2-3 weeks).

The Polish graft their conifers in mid-Sept (humidity chambers inside hoophouses/greenhouses with white plastic.) I’ve never tried.

Agree with fruitnut, you need new growth so cut them back now to take advantage of the remainder of growing season. Once you have new shoots you can do dormant spring as well as summer green budding. Below is a pic of my recently summer graft of cherry plum onto my sweet cherry that I am topworking to convert over to plum. The cherry plum scion will serve as my interstem next spring to add new plum varieties.
Kent, wa

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Dax, thanks for the lesson. I’m not set up for shading so I’ll wait and try chip-budding in a few weeks.

Dennis, are you saying that new growth from this season so far is not suitable for grafting onto in the spring? The rootstocks are loaded with new branches that are growing pretty vigorously.