T-buds from last summer now sprouting

Last summer I learned how to T-bud, via a grafting book. I went around my small orchard adding varieties to existing trees, for pollination, or to copy varieties that I liked from my old place, to my new place. I budded about 10 plum grafts, 10 sweet cherry, 5 tart cherry.

It’s a long wait to see if they grow - Budding June to August, with growth starting now in late March. Two of the June buds actually grew like crazy last summer, and 2 grew about an inch last summer, but the rest stayed dormant.

Of the rest, some obviously didn’t take, falling off during the winter. All of the plums took. They must be very easy. Only 1 of the sweet cherries took, and none of the tart cherries took. Maybe I did not wrap tight enough. I used polyethylene tape. Or maybe the timing was bad. I also tried to add 2 peach buds to a peach tree, those also did not take. I tried to add 4 buds to an existing lilac; only one took. I wanted to create a “bouquet” lilac shrub.

Even with not 100% success, I still feel excited, even awed, about the ones that grew.

These were the ones that took off and grew last year, T-budded onto small branches that I then trimmed off. This is a NOID plum or pluot tree. Ultimately I want these to replace two of the original branches. The tree has only borne 2 plums in 3 years. Maybe it needed pollenizing varieties, which it is now getting.

Rainier cherry T-budded onto Almaden Duke cherry

This was Hollywood plum, budded onto a mature plum branch. This bud bloomed. I don’t know if there will be stem growth. There were several that bloomed. Not a bad thing - I think those new varieties helped with fruit set on the understock branches.

I think this one was apricot, budded onto a NOID plum tree. Forgot to label. Might be Toka plum.

Hollywood Plum on a NOID plum tree.

I know the nurseries propagate thousands of trees by T-budding, so it isn’t rocket science. Even so, I feel like I learned something useful and fun, and I feel like I accomplished something that was new to me. This year I want to do more, reworking selected plums and cherries, and moving some additional varieties to existing stocks in my new orchard.



Nice work!! If I could make one observation it would be that the buds probably weren’t wrapped tight enough. At least that’s the way it looks based on the flared edges around the buds. How were they wrapped?

1 Like

The fact that you successfully budded Prunus Cerasifera onto some unknown but likely P. Domestica gives me hope that the project I mentioned yesterday will succeed:

Fruitnut, I used a commercial polyethylene grafting tape, 1/2 inch wide, stretching it. Your thought is what I am thinking too. The sides of the cherry T-buds really curled, much more than the plums. This year I will need to wrap tighter.

1 Like

Matt, I have a Hollywood Plum which some sites list as P. cerasifera or a hybrid of P. cerasifera. In addition, Myrobalan is listed as one of the most popular plum rootstocks, and is also considered a P. cerasifera.




I bud grafted Hollywood onto Methley, Toka, and 2 NOIDs, and all took and are growing, at least at the moment. I also have extras of cutting-grown Hollywood. One, I grafted Ember onto, and the others I’m saving for later rootstock efforts.

I bet yours will grow!

Nice work.

Very interesting Bear. Fantastic photos! Looks like a nice place you have there.

Bear, well done. I can’t wait to start graft some of my trees

Thanks everyone for the great comments. Grafting is a lot of fun.

Bear, would you tell us what you read to learn what you needed to start budding? I’m always interested in good tutorials and information for propagating things in simple, small-scale ways, and my limited attempts at budding have all failed so far.

Floyd, I read several books kind of obsessively during the off season, just because I was so interested in doing it.

The books that I downloaded onto my kindle were-

Grafting and Budding by Lewis and Alexander

The Grafting Handbook by R.J. Garner

Grafting Fruit Trees by Larry Southwick.

This video shows it nicely.

The differences for me were, I grafted onto young tree branches instead of new rootstock, and I used polyethylene tape instead of parafilm.

Thanks, Bear. I always appreciate recommendations of learning resources.