Fruit trees and roses can be increased by T-budding using commercially available rootstocks. Roses can also be budded onto a briar rootstock.

Plant the rootstocks in autumn about 30cm (12in) apart in a nursery bed.

T-budding should be carried out from mid-summer in cool showery weather. If the weather is dry water the rootstocks for two weeks beforehand.

For the bud wood select strong growing ripened shoots. For roses select a flowered shoot about 30cm (12in) long with three or four growth buds. Remove the foliage and place in a plastic bag to prevent drying out.

Cut away a healthy bud with a strip of bark extending about 2.5cm (1in) above and below the bud.
Preparing the T-bud. Photograph copyright Dorling Kindersley The prepared T-bud. Photograph copyright Dorling Kindersley

Carefully pull away the woody material from behind the bud.

Cut the rootstock just deeply enough to pierce the bark and make a T-shaped incision at a height of 15-30cm (6-12in), with the horizontal cut about 13mm (1/2in) long and the vertical cut 2-4cm (1-11/2in) long. For roses draw back the soil and make the cuts about 2.5cm (1in) below the top growth. Inserting T-bud into rootstock. Photograph copyright Dorling Kindersley

Ease the flaps of the ‘T’ outwards to reveal the cambium layer beneath.

Insert the bud behind the bark flaps with the bud just below the cross-stroke of the T.

Trim away the surplus tail protruding above the T.

Secure the bud using a rubber binding tie or damp raffia around the grafted area.

When the shoot develops the following spring cut off the growth from the rootstock above the bud.


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