How to Graft Olive Trees

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Grafting is a gardening technique used to refresh old olive trees by using fresh growth to produce new fruit-bearing branches. The technique most commonly used, and the most effective on olive trees, is known as patch grafting. With this technique, you literally introduce a patch of bark into the tree that is integrated and becomes a branch.

Things You'll Need

  • Calendar
  • Scion wood
  • Double-bladed budding knife
  • Wax-based grafting tape
  • Mark the middle of March on your calendar for grafting. This is the time of year that the bark on olive trees is slipping, making grafting easy.

  • Select your scion wood. The ideal wood are shoots that are one to two years old with the diameter of a pencil. Carefully pull the leaves from the shoot so that you don’t damage the bud underneath.

  • Remove a leaf bud from the shoot with the double bladed budding knife. Simply cut around the entire shoot and pull away the bark. This is your grafting patch.

  • Slice a square out of the tree that is the same size as the grafting patch. Remove the tree’s bark.

  • Place the grafting patch where the bark was positioned.

  • Cover all but the leaf bud in graft tape, wrapping the entire graft very tightly. By using a wax-based grafting tape you don’t need to worry about how tight you wrap it because the tape will stretch and eventually break off on its own.

  • Check on your buds in three weeks. If the patch has healed onto the tree, force the tree to grow it by cutting off the limb directly above the graft. If the bud has not healed onto the tree, the graft did not take. Find a fresh spot on the tree and try again.

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  • Photo Credit oliva image by fotografiche.eu from Fotolia.com
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