Grafting - Hand drawn examples of scion and rootstock

The Northern Fruit Group offers both grafting and budding courses for members but what is the difference between grafting and budding?

Both are techniques used to increase stock of most top fruit – apples, pears, plums, cherries etc.

Established varieties can be propagated either by grafting in early spring or by budding at any time of the year provided that dormant buds are available.


Start with a scion of the variety that you want to propagate. A scion is a portion of last year’s growth of at least five buds. It is collected at winter pruning and kept cool and moist until used in early spring when the sap is rising in the rootstock.

The rootstock is determined by the type of tree required.

Matching sloping cuts are made in both the scion and the rootstock, the growth layers are matched and the two are bound together until a union is formed.

Grafting - Hand drawn examples of scion and rootstock


A single dormant bud is slipped under the bark of the rootstock. This is normally done in summer when the rootstock is in growth. A budstick is cut from the current season’s growth and the leaves removed leaving the leaf stem in place. A single bud with the associated bark is cut from the budstick. For T-budding a slit is made in the bark in a T shape, the bark parted and the bud slipped in place and bound. For chip budding, the bud is cut with some wood behind it and the same shape is removed from the rootstock. Growth layers are matched and the bud bound in place.

Budding - Hand drawn examples of t-budding and chip budding

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