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T-bud grafting of maples

I have some standard Japanese maples onto which I’m trying to T-bud the weeping laceleaf maple. I’ve had pretty limited success, so I wonder if there’s something I’m doing wrong.
I’ve tried at different times of the year: late spring, summer. I cut a young small branch off the weeping Japanese maple. Then I cut off a leaf bud. I use a very thin slice under the bud, and cut the leaf off the stem. I cut the T about an inch long in the standard Japanese maple, and slide the bud in. I’ve used duct tape and plumbing tape. I don’t cover the bud but try to snug right up to it with the tape. I only get about 5-10% success doing this. Any suggestions?


You may want to consult the American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation manual (edited by Alan Toogood; DK Publishing, 1999), as it has detailed (and illustrated) information on T-budding and chip-budding. In the description of T-budding, the book emphasizes the importance of not pushing too hard into the bud. It also says to “sever the remaining tail of the bud by cutting into the bark again at the horizontal cut. Then secure the bud in place with plastic tape or raffia in the same way as for a chip-budded ornamental tree, leaving the bud uncovered to avoid exerting too much pressure on it.” Texas A & M University also has an illustrated explanation of T-budding.

According to J.D. Vertrees’s book Japanese Maples (Timber Press,2009), chip-budding is advantageous because it can be done at almost any time of year and uses less material per graft, allowing growers to make more trees with less. In any case, as long as your grafting knife is nice and sharp and you’re working carefully, don’t worry that not every graft takes. Professional propagators sometimes make four grafts expecting only one to take.

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grafting pears

Can I graft an Asian pear onto Anjou rootstock?

Anjou is a European pear variety, and European pears are the species Pyrus communis, which is not an acceptable rootstock for Asian pears, according to a Pacific Northwest Extension publication by Robert Stebbins on “Choosing Pear Rootstocks for the Pacific Northwest.” Here is an excerpt:
“Asian pear trees require rootstocks that impart a high state of vigor. No Pyrus communis rootstocks are vigorous enough for most Asian pears, with the possible exception of the most vigorous Old Home x Farmingdale clones.

Asian pears require vigorous rootstocks such as P. betulaefolia or P. calleryana. Unfortunately, their cold-hardiness isn’t well-known.”

bark slipping and grafting

I’m looking for the definition of the term “bark slip” and the time of year when bark slip is most likely to happen. For example: “T-budding, the most popular budding method, is limited to the time of the year when the bark is slipping, however, chip budding can be used when the bark is not slipping.”

The term “bark slipping” is being used in the context of grafting.

According to Texas A & M University’s Horticulture department, bark slipping happens when the rootstock of a tree is in active growth.

“Successful T budding requires that the scion material have fully-formed, mature, dormant buds, and that the rootstock be in a condition of active growth such that the ‘bark is slipping.’ This means that the vascular cambium is actively growing, and the bark can be peeled easily from the stock piece with little damage. T budding can be performed on certain fruit trees (peaches, for example) in June using cold stored budsticks and field grown seedling rootstocks. Many deciduous trees are budded in late July or early August after the current seasons buds have developed fully and are dormant using field grown seedlings that have slipping bark.”

Similar information from North Carolina State University Extension indicates that the time when bark is slipping varies, depending upon the type of tree, and upon weather conditions.

“T-budding must be done when the bark will ‘slip.’ Slipping means that, when cut, the bark easily lifts or peels in one uniform layer from the underlying wood without tearing. The exact time when this condition occurs depends on soil moisture, temperature, and time of year. It varies with species and variety. Dry or excessively hot or cold weather can shorten the period when bark slips. Irrigation can be valuable in extending the T-budding season.”

In The Grafter’s Handbook by R. J. Garner (Cassell, 1988), bark is referred to as rind, but the principle is the same:
“Budding is done when the rinds readily part from the wood of the stock and when buds have developed at the base of the leaf-stalk on young shoots of the scion variety. This means that the budding season may extend from early June until September, but from the end of June until mid-August is the optimum time in normal seasons. In periods of prolonged drought the rind may not lift without tearing, and it is then wise to postpone budding in the hope that rain will come and rootstocks increase their rate of growth.”

grafting a walnut scion onto a maple

Is it possible to graft a walnut scion onto a maple tree?

The book, Plant Propagation edited by Alan Toogood (American Horticultural Society/DK Publishing 1999) says that Juglans regia and Juglans nigra, grown for their edible nuts, are usually whip-and-tongue grafted. You would “use a slightly narrower scion than the stock so the thinner scion bark will align with the stock’s cambium more easily.”

I was not able to find any information on grafting a walnut scion onto a maple, but here is an article (pdf) on by William Reid, which has detailed information.

This publication from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, entitled “Propagating deciduous fruit plants common to Georgia” (1999) indicates that whip grafting or ring budding will work best for walnuts.