Grafting – Gardening techniques – Grafting – Gardening techniques

Also known as “a occhio” or “a scudetto” (shield), it is certainly the most common grafting technique both for its easy execution and for the excellent rooting it offers.

This grafting mode is divided into two types:

(a) dormant gemstone

(b) vegetating bud

The bud grafting is done during the vegetative slowdown phase from August to September. The trunk must first be cleaned of leaves and any twigs, for a length of about 10 cm.

You must therefore choose the gentle one: the branch must be well vigorous and in good health. When practicing grafting, try to remove the bud without tearing the tissues (if possible, when removing the bud, also remove a part of the wood in order to facilitate the grafting operations).

Make an incision on the T-shaped rootstock, 1-2 cm wide and 2-3 cm long.

Lift the flaps of the incision very gently (with the help of the graft) and finally insert the gentile into the slot, checking the polarity.

Make sure that the areas of the gearbox are in close contact with each other and tie gently with the help of raffia or special plasters easily available on the market.

If the grafting has been successful after a short time the bud of the gentle will give rise to a new plant.

Cut the trunk only when you are sure that the graft is well rooted and proceed with the cutting of the rootstock above the graft taking care to respect the bud of the nest.


The crown graft

Use a saw to cut the rootstock to form a flat surface. Then make a cut perpendicular to the previous one and gently lift the gearbox. Insert the previously prepared scion into the slot. The scion will be cut in a “pen” shape and should be about 10 cm with four or five buds.

It is advisable to put more than one scion in relation to the size of the diameter of the rootstock, usually two or four.

Once the graft has been made, it binds with raffia, taking care to cover the cuts with mastic.

The ideal time to practice this type of grafting it’s April.

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Split grafting

innesto a gemma With a sharp object make a split about 8/10 cm deep and then cut the wedge-shaped scion, making sure that the beginning of the cut has the same size as the split of the rootstock.

Insert the scion into the split, taking particular care to perfectly match the areas of the external gearbox of the gentle with that of the rootstock.

Tie tightly so that the scion does not move from its seat, cover with mastic all taking care to fill the gap.

The triangle graft

This graft is the only one that is carried out in full vegetative rest, ie in the months of January and February. The plants that adapt to this type of grafting are mainly pears and apples.

Make an incision in the wood in the shape of a triangle and prepare the scion with the same inclination as the cut. It is very important that the triangle is the same size as the inlay that we made on the graft holder (and this in order to increase the rooting of the graft).

Insert the scion into the inlay and bind with raffia and cover with mastic.


It often happens that even those who are familiar with greenery and vegetative reproduction techniques are rather sceptical and afraid of grafting.

It is instead a fairly simple technique that can give a very good percentage of successes, most of the time quickly (compared, for example, to cutting or reproduction gamic by seed).

This methodology allows to conjugate a root, the rootstock strong and suitable for the most diverse soils and conditions (usually resulting from purebred species) to an aerial part, the nesto, with better ornamental characteristics or with more palatable fruits. The only limit is that they must belong to the same species. Where the two parts join, a “callus” forms, a sort of scar through which the sap begins to flow. These, even if united, continue to maintain their characteristics.

The advantages of this technique are many: it is simple and fast, the resulting specimen is stronger and goes into production faster. Moreover, it is usually more adaptable to different soils and climates.

The rootstock

Traditionally, the rootstock is obtained by sowing. Sometimes it is defined as wild because it is of uncertain origin: the seeds used derive from spontaneous specimens whose origin is unknown. If, on the other hand, the seed comes from a known specimen whose peculiar characteristics are known, it is identified as outspoken . On a professional level, however, (especially if you want to achieve good and uniform results) you avoid getting the franc from seed.

This is because different seeds produce different subjects: sometimes weak, sometimes too vigorous. Today, therefore, we proceed by multiplying a rootstock carefully selected for the purpose by agamic means, that is, cutting, layering or offshoot. It is then defined clonal rootstock .

How to choose the rootstock?

If we want to proceed at home we must first of all get the seeds from a fruit (or, in the case of ornamentals, from a flower) grown in the area. This is very important because we will have a better chance of obtaining a rootstock suited to our climate and soil. The seeds should be planted in boxes with a mixture of peat and agricultural vermiculite. After a short time we will get some plants that will be ready to be used as rootstocks after about 6 months – 1 year.

Let’s not forget, however, that some seeds need to spend a certain amount of time outdoors to germinate (vernalisation). As we have said, you can also proceed by cutting or propagation.

How to choose the nesto?

The choice of the specimen to be used as a nest is decisive. You have to select healthy specimens and choose the bud or segment from a branch that has always been very productive.

Graft with scion or shield

Innesto a marza o a scudetto The nest is the part that gives rise to the canopy of the tree or bush. Originally it can be a portion of a branch of about 1 year called scion or a portion of bark and equipped with a gema. In this case it is called shield or eye. The scions must always be at rest. Therefore, even if the grafting is done in spring, it is necessary to get the nest in the middle of winter.

Once the branches have been collected, they should be placed in wet newspaper sheets and stored in the refrigerator or in a cold place.

When should the grafts be made?

Grafting may be carried out throughout the growing season. The ideal day is a well dry one and without wind, as this can cause a fast and early dehydration of the bud. In spring, on the deciduous plants, we have to proceed when we notice that the buds begin to open and the bark easily detaches from the trunk. If you proceed at this moment, the grafted bud or scion will begin to grow within ten days.

If you decide to proceed in autumn we will have a dormant bud graft: this will begin to vegetate from the following spring.

Grafting into vegetables

Grafting can also be done on herbaceous plants. It is a practice rather however in the horticultural field. Peppers, tomatoes, aubergines and melons reproduced with this technique are increasingly on sale. It is usually carried out on plants that need a lot of nourishment or that are easily affected by root system diseases. In this way it is possible to obtain more abundant harvests and reduce the use of pesticides. The most commonly used technique is splitting.

The nest must have at least one real leaf and must be inserted on the cotyledonary leaves of the rootstock. They must be kept together with a small spring, keeping humidity and temperature quite high.

Materials required for grafting

To make vouchers transplants you need to have some essential tools at your disposal.

The first is the knife: there are many on the market. It is absolutely essential that it is perfectly sharpened and disinfected during use. In fact, in order to obtain a good success, it is necessary to absolutely avoid spreading diseases and virus diseases. An excellent product for disinfection is the unscented household bleach. If you want, we can make your own knife using a barber’s razor or a disposable razor blade.

The important thing is that the cut is always clean, without smudges and you do not compress the fabrics below. For transplants A billhook and a rubber mallet are required for splitting in the trunk. You also need to recover some material to make the ligatures. Usually natural raffia is used. It allows the passage of air, but not water, and allows the plant to grow freely without being compressed.

To protect the scion grafts, a mastic is also indispensable, to be distributed on the surface concerned.

The most common grafting techniques

innesto By eye or shield

A very smooth, gem-free area must be found on the rootstock, on the trunk or on a lateral branch.

On this you must make a T-shaped incision where you must insert the gem of the individual you want to get. This must be taken from the center of a branch by making a cut from the bottom upwards: it will then be cleaned of excess wood without affecting the gemstone.

The portion is to be inserted inside the T created in the rootstock, then reuniting the edges of the bark and tying closely. The bud must be free, however, in order to vegetate.


In practice, it is a question of replacing part of the bark of the rootstock with part of that of the nest.

It is a very simple technique and is recommended for those who want to begin to engage with this practice.

First make two parallel transversal cuts on the rootstock and then proceed by removing the bark with a knife, from the bottom to the top. In the same way, a part of the bark is taken from the individual who wants to make the nest. It should be as similar as possible in size to the other.

The two parts must be overlapped and then tied very tightly with adhesive tape.

After the sprouting, cut the part of the rootstock above the point where we inserted the bud.

English split

It is widely used to graft plants of limited diameter and is the most widely used for the vine.

The rooting rates are very high because the contact surface is very large and the times are very short.

For simple splitting, it is sufficient to cut both the rootstock and the nest transversely. However, the diameter of the two must be very similar. The two parts must be juxtaposed and then closely linked. Finally, the whole is protected with the mastic.


It is perhaps the oldest technique of grafting and the one most used because it is very adaptable. In fact, plants of different sizes and ages can be combined. In this way it is also possible, for example, to use very old plants as rootstocks. Grafting can be done directly on the trunk, but also on a lateral branch.

The scions must be about one year old and have a diameter of 2-3 cm.

First of all, you have to cut the trunk or branch with a hacksaw. Everything must be carefully finished without leaving fraying that would compromise the final success.

Then a deep slit (at least two or three cm) is made in the center. Inside, the wedge-shaped slips must be inserted. They are usually about 10 cm long. Tie and cover with mastic.

Lateral split

It is a method used to replace an entire branch. An incision must be made at the base of the branch. A wedge-shaped scion is inserted into this. Usually it is not necessary to tie because if the slit is deep enough the scion will be firm.

The portion of the branch above is immediately cut off as it would prevent the grafting from taking root.


It is a graft suitable for all fruit trees, evergreens and ornamental plants. It can be done having as subject a rather old plant. Usually it is done in the spring when the bark comes off very easily.

You have to trim the rootstock well and then carve the bark. In this bark are inserted the scions (usually three) with a transversal cut that leaves a good counting surface available. Finally, they must be evened out, tied and covered with the mastic.