How to Graft Oak Trees

Grafting is the process of fusing one tree to another. It is typically used for the propagation of trees grown commercially. Oak trees are grafted for the purpose of producing superior firewood, as strong hardwood stock for fruit trees and, in places like California, for the purpose of regeneration. They are also grafted to save species, such as the blue oak, from extinction that could result from the over development of land once doted with the native tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Oak tree
  • Saw
  • Shim
  • Gardner’s moss
  • Plastic wrap or electrical tape

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Wait until a time of the year when the wood is dormant.

Choose a branch on your tree that is straight and balanced.

Cut a clean swipe halfway through your straight branch at a 30-degree angle. The angle is the most important part of the cut. Cutting straight or too deeply could result in a dead branch.

Bend the branch at the cut and place a shim or other placeholder in the cut.

Place potting soil or nutrient rich sandy loam and gardeners’ moss into the cut. The soil must be saturated with water and have the consistency of mud. Unlike fruit trees that require only consistent water, oak trees, when in the fusion process, require liberal water.

Cut a tip into the branch you are grafting to your oak tree root stock. The tip should be flat and pointed as it must fit into the cut you made. The branch you are splicing to the root stock is called a scion.

Wet the branches. Remove your shim and insert the scion into the cut in your root stock. You will need to gently open the cut wide enough to securely input your scion. Again, when grafting oak trees, moisture is essential for the fusion process to take.

Wrap the muddy mixture at the fusion point with cellophane plastic wrap or electrical tape. If you use plastic wrap, secure the ends with glue and leave wrapped for six weeks. The wrap must be secure, but it should not be so tight that it smothers the branch.

Allow the root stock and the scion to fuse together.

Remove the wrap carefully and sprinkle with water immediately.

Paint on a liberal amount of sealing compound so that air cannot dry out the graft. According to Home Orchard Society, drying out is the main reason grafts do not take.

Water the tree heavily for an additional six to eight weeks. When you graft a tree you put strain on both the root stock and the adhering scion. During this time, and for a full year following the fusion, you must water the tree liberally.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not prune your newly grafted tree the first year after it is grafted.
  • After the graph takes cut off the side shoots.

References

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