Eric Stafne, Mississippi State University
Grafting or budding is an asexual propagation technique. This is the process of placing a shoot system (a scion) of one cultivar or species on the root system (a rootstock) of another. When grafting, the scion will contain multiple buds, but budding consists of a single bud. The only requirement for grafting and budding is viable cambium contact. The cambium is a single layer of cells located just below the bark. This area leads to the formation of the graft union of the scion and rootstock. It is subject to drying out, so take steps to prevent that situation. Increased cambial contact (the more area that touches) between scion and rootstock increases the chances of success.
Grafting is a time-consuming process requiring patience and practice. Already existing vines are candidates for grafting if the cultivar is not economical or not appropriate for the site. The vines to be grafted must be healthy and vigorous, without disease or insects, and relatively young. Scion wood collection is the same as for taking cuttings. The scion is taken while dormant for most types of grafting; however, actively growing tissue can be used in some cases. There are several types of grafts that can be used, including:
The cleft graft is a simple method that requires little skill. It is for larger diameter vines and the scion must be dormant. There is a five step process for the cleft graft:
The bark graft is also relatively easy and requires little skill to make it successful. The bark must be “slipping” for this graft to work, so timing can vary from rootstock to rootstock. The scion must be dormant. The bark grafting process is:
Whip grafting is a common way to propagate many different plants. For the rootstock, use 1- to 2-year old vines, up to 3/4-inch in diameter. The scion size should match with the size of the rootstock. This type of graft can be done in the field or in the greenhouse. The process of whip grafting is:
Budding is somewhat different from grafting in that only one bud is used. Budding has many variations, but T-budding (also called shield budding) is commonly used in fruit species. Buds for T-budding must be mature and dormant, taken from healthy and vigorous wood.
There is a rapid graft propagation technique where the callused graft is rooted under mist for 30 days, grown in a greenhouse for 30 days, conditioned in a lath house for 30 days and planted in the vineyard in mid to late spring (May, in northern areas). Vines from this system are called green growing bench grafts. Summer temperatures, sunlight, and low humidity can make green growing bench grafts very difficult to establish.
Grafting and Budding, North Carolina State University
Budding, University of Missouri
Field Grafting Young Grapevines, Oregon State University
Reviewed by Jodi Creasap Gee, Cornell University
and Jim Wolpert, UC Davis