Grafting Lemon Trees – Grafting Fruit Trees by T-budding

This video shows how to graft
a lemon tree using T-budding. The T-bud is commonly used
for grafting lemon trees. It is easy and it gives a high success rate. It works well for grafting new fruit trees. This is the rootstock that I will be grafting to,
a variety called carrizo. The fruit that I will be grafting is
a delicious lemon hybrid called lemonade. It is not as sour as a traditional lemon. It can be peeled and eaten like an orange
and has a similar balance between sweet and sour. In order to achieve a successful graft
and also to avoid spreading disease, I sterilize my grafting tools with
a 1.5% concentration of chlorine bleach. First I remove the leaves and thorns
from the rootstock. A budding height of
at least 8 to 12 inches or 20 to 30 centimeters above the soil will make for a healthy tree. I cut an upside-down T into the rootstock at this height. An upright T will also work.

The advantage of an upside-down T
is that it can help to keep water out. This may produce better results
in a rainy area. Next I peel the bark back
with the bark lifter on my grafting knife to prepare the rootstock to receive the bud. T-budding must be performed
during a time of year when the tree is actively growing,
allowing the bark to be peeled back. I cut the bud by slicing underneath it. The back of the bud has wood attached. The wood does not need to be removed. It is important to avoid touching
the cut surfaces of the bud. It is often possible to hold the bud
by the petiole where the leaf was attached. Since the petiole has fallen off,
I pick the bud up with my knife. Next I insert the bud under the bark. I cut off the bottom of
the bud piece that was sticking out. It is important to graft the bud right-side-up. The bud should be on top. The scar where the leaf was attached is on the bottom. This is a thorn. Next I wrap the bud tightly
with vinyl tape, starting below the bud and wrapping up.

My step-by-step article at has more information on wrapping material. In order to improve my chances of success,
I will graft a second bud to the rootstock. This way I will succeed
even if one of the bud grafts fails. Citrus cuttings have the potential
to spread tree-killing diseases. It is often not apparent when a tree
is infected with a fatal disease. This makes the source of citrus budwood
for grafting very important. In California where I live we now have
both exotic diseases that kill citrus trees and also the insects
that spread the diseases.

The situation is so severe that it is now
against the law in California to graft with backyard citrus cuttings. Hobbyists in California now instead
order their budwood at a nominal cost from the Citrus Clonal Protection Program
or CCPP, a program that exists to provide disease-free budwood
for the grafting of citrus trees. I have made a video that shows how to set
up an account and order citrus budwood. You can click here or visit the link below. The CCPP will ship budwood anywhere in the
world where the local laws allow it. Many citrus growing regions
where it is not allowed have their own disease-free
citrus budwood programs. Information on other programs
is included in the ordering video.

After the grafts are finished,
I move the tree to a shady area for a three week healing period. After the healing period, I unwrap the grafts. Both buds are still green,
an indication of success. I would normally perform the next step
with the tree in the container, but my family likes lemonade fruit so much
that I decided to plant the tree in the ground first. Citrus trees do much better in the ground
than in containers, so this will give the tree a better start. I create a watering basin
whenever I plant a citrus tree. Lemonade is my daughter’s favorite citrus fruit
and she is excited to help. I let the tree settle in for a few days
before the next step, which is forcing the grafted bud to grow.

A phenomenon called apical dominance
governs the growth of citrus buds. Natural hormones from the buds
at the end of the branches prevent buds lower down from growing. In order for a grafted bud to grow, the
effect of these hormones must be overcome. I break the apical dominance
by cutting halfway through the rootstock and pushing it over so that
the terminal buds are lower than the newly grafted buds. The timelapse shows about three weeks of growth. After a bit more growth,
I remove the top of the rootstock and stake the tree. Here you see the lemonade tree the following spring. It is important to remove any sprouts from the rootstock. If left to grow,
it would outcompete the grafted variety and produce undesirable fruit. In order to encourage branching,
I again break apical dominance by cutting off the terminal buds.

Here you see the new branches
on my lemonade tree. I hope that you have enjoyed this video
and have found it helpful. If you have any questions,
please ask below in the comments. I will be happy to answer. I have made this video to save citrus trees
all over the world from deadly diseases. You can help by sharing this video,
by giving it a “thumbs up”, and by subscribing
to this YouTube channel. Another thing that you can do to save
citrus trees is to inspect them monthly for citrus psyllids, the insects that
spread the deadly huanglongbing disease. Even a single psyllid is a cause
for immediate action.

Learn more here. You can download my free eBook
with more citrus grafting tips at

As found on YouTube