Apple Tree Propagation

Apples August 31, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Please note: With the proper guidelines, rootstocks, equipment, and practice, most people can successfully bud or graft apples. However, due to patenting restrictions, it may be illegal to propagate some cultivars without paying the royalty fee. Many nursery catalogs list whether a cultivar is still in patent and how much the royalty fee is. Cultivars that are trademarked, licensed, or “clubbed” are not legal to propagate.

Asexual Propagation

Because the seeds (sexual propagation) produced by apple fruits are the result of cross-pollination, the resulting seedlings are not genetically identical to each other or to the “mother” tree.

To create multiple copies of the same cultivar, asexual (i.e., not sexual) — also called vegetative — propagation techniques are required, and apples are easily budded and grafted.

Apple Tree Propagation: Budding

Apple Tree Propagation: Grafting


For step-by-step descriptions of propagation techniques, see the following articles:

Dr. Diane Doud Miller, Ohio State University

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Apple Rootstocks

  • All about understanding and choosing the right rootstock

Apple Cultivars

  • Characteristics, descriptions, and how to choose the best to grow and eat

Establishing an Apple Orchard

  • Buying and planting trees

Managing Apple Trees and Orchards

  • Insects, diseases, wildlife and other challenges

Propagating Apple Rootstocks and Trees

  • Grafting, budding, tissue culture, and all about how rootstocks are developed

Regional Resources

  • Links to apple information specific to your area


This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.