Join the RHS today and support our charitable work
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Free entry to RHS members at selected times »
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Help us achieve our goals
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Chip budding is one of the easier forms of grafting. A bud, rather than a shoot, is attached to a rootstock to make a new plant. With practice, this technique can be mastered by anyone and, as just one bud is needed to make a tree, it is very efficient.
Chip budding is often used for fruit and ornamental, deciduous trees. Trees in the rose family such as apple, cherries, hawthorn, pear, plums and Sorbus are especially amenable to chip budding. Acers, Laburnum, Magnolia and Robinia are other trees frequently budded.
For chip budding, a bud on a sliver of wood, complete with bark is inserted into a matching notch on the rootstock.
Chip budding is carried out between mid-summer and early autumn. This is an advantage over T-budding which can only be carried out in mid-summer.
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).
From mid-summer choose the buds you wish to chip bud, by selecting non-flowering shoots that are a similar diameter to the rootstock, from well-ripened, current season’s growth. Remove these 'budsticks' from the parent plant so that they can be budded onto the rootstock.
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.
Cuttings: hardwoodCuttings: rootCuttings: semi-ripeCuttings: softwoodLayeringGrafting ornamental plants and fruit treesT-budding
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
anonymous on 27/08/2014
do you have video to show how to do the grafting so as to ensure success. Would be most wonderful if you can do that. Many thanks Daryl (Singapore)
GuyB on 11/09/2014
Sadly no - it is a bit advanced for home gardeners, so it is not high on our list. Guy Barter, Chief Horticultural Advisor
This comment has been reported and is currently under moderation.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.