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T-budding is an easy form of grafting (propagating), where a bud rather than shoot is attached to a rootstock to make a new plant. It sounds complicated but, with practice, can be mastered by anyone and, as just one bud is needed to make a rose or tree, it is very economical.
T-budding is used for roses, but is also suitable for propagation of many trees (although chip budding is more usually used for trees).
Some people find T-budding easier than chip budding, although neither is as technically demanding as grafting. In chip budding, a bud on a sliver of wood that exactly matches a notch on the rootstock is tied tightly to the stock stem. For grafting, a piece of wood with several buds is attached to the rootstock.
T-budding should be carried out from mid- to late summer in cool weather.
Before you start, you need to choose a rootstock (the plant you will be propagating onto). Rootstocks can often be bought from rootstock growers and nurseries that specialise in the type of plant in question. Alternatively, they can be raised from seed or cuttings.
Choose a rootstock with desirable characteristics; such as a dwarfing habit that makes fruit trees more compact, or a rootstock that resists root diseases, or one that is easier to propagate than the scion (top part of the budded tree).
Failure of buds to take usually results from not cutting accurately enough to get the cambium layers to match. Practise on spare shoots until a really good match can be reliably cut. Some less experienced gardeners like to attach several buds as at least one should take. The RHS, horticultural colleges and others offer budding courses and these are strongly recommended.
Knowing when to remove the bud ties can be difficult; the bud and the cambium must have united and this is indicated by swelling of the budded part of the stem.
Chip buddingCuttings: hardwoodCuttings: rootCuttings: softwoodCuttings: semi-ripeGrafting ornamental plants and fruit treesLayering
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