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How to Graft Grape Vine

by Frank
Published: Last Updated on


Grafting may be used to generate new fruiting types in a vineyard at a low cost. Cleft grafting, bark grafting, and whip grafting are just a few of the simplest and most effective techniques to graft a new Grapevine onto an old one.

Collecting and Storing Scion Wood Before You Begin

During the dormant period, collect canes.[1] Scion wood is best collected in the middle of the winter, generally in January or February.

  • Scion wood refers to the grafting of smaller, younger shoot systems onto elder vines. The stock or rootstock, on the other hand, is the mature vine growing in the ground onto which the scion is grafted.
  • Wait until a big freeze has occurred. As a result, there’s less chance of accidently injuring the new shoots.

Choose plants that are in good health. [2] Take scion wood only from healthy, established vines that are free of illness, damage, or other stress.

  • You should also search for canes that have been exposed to a lot of sunshine for the greatest outcomes. Canes that grow mostly in the shadow should be avoided.

Make sure the canes are long enough. [3] The length of the canes you cut for scion wood can vary from 4 inches (10 cm) to 2 feet (0.61 m) (61 cm). Each scion wood cane should contain at least two, if not more, buds.

  • Make sure the canes you cut have buds in multiples of two for longer scion wood (two, four, six, eight, etc.).
  • Choose circular canes with a diameter of 5/16 inch (7.9 mm) to 9/16 inch (14.3 mm).
  • Make a flat cut on the bottom of the cane and an angled cut on the top of the cane using a sharp blade. Make sure there’s enough stem on both ends to reach beyond the buds.

Store the scion wood canes in a cool, moist environment. Wrap damp newspaper around the scion wood and put the bundles in a plastic bag. Seal the bags and store them in a basement or other location with temperatures that are continuously slightly above freezing.

  • Scion wood should be bundled in groups of 100, although smaller groups may be used if required.
  • Temperatures between 34 and 36 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal (1.1 and 2.2 degrees Celsius).
  • Take the scion wood out of storage at least a day before you want to graft the vines. Allow them to sit outside until the temperature reaches the desired level.

Cleft graft is the first method

Remove the vine’s top.[4] Choose a big stock vine and cut the top off about 30 minutes before you want to transplant the scions.

  • It’s worth noting that this is the easiest grafting procedure to utilize, and it usually yields satisfactory results.
  • The top of the grafted vine should be clipped to the desired head height. Cut the vine at a clean, undamaged spot until the rootstock is about 4 inches (10 cm) shorter than the ultimate ideal head height.

Divide the stock into two halves. Split the rootstock along the middle of its upper surface using a cold chisel or equivalent splitting blade.

  • The depth of the split should be at least 2 inches (4 cm).
  • Keep the chisel inside to keep this split open as you prepare the scions.

The scions should be tapered. Using a sharp, clean blade, taper the bottoms of two dormant scions into a “v” shape.

  • Make straight, even cuts all the way down the scion from the lowest bud to the bottom. The tapering edge should be approximately 2 inches (4 cm) long, or about the same length as the depth of the rootstock split.
  • It’s worth noting that the scion’s outside edge is normally a touch broader than the inner edge. This method of cutting the wood makes it simpler for the scion to touch the proper section of the rootstock.
  • The taper should be roughly 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) broad at the bottom.

In the split, place the scions. Wedge one scion’s tapering bottom into one side of the rootstock divide. Wedge the other scion into the split on the other side.

  • Before installing the scions, remove the chisel. Use a big, flat screwdriver to keep one side of the split open while wedgeing a scion inside if required.
  • Push the scions down until their cambium layers and the rootstock’s cambium layers meet. Just beneath the bark, the cambium is a single layer of active plant cells. At this point, the link between the two independent vines will be established.

Close the crack. Rubber bands or tape may be used to wrap the split’s sides. Apply grafting compound to the exposed split in its entirety.

  • Existing moisture is kept in while extra moisture is kept out by sealing the split.
  • Using a large, stiff paintbrush, apply the grafting compound liberally.
  • You may even paint over the dry grafting material with interior latex paint for further protection.

Grafting Bark

Remove the vine’s top layer.[5] Choose a vine with slippery bark and use a saw to remove the top of the vine.

  • This procedure is likewise one of the easiest grafting methods for grape plants, however it is somewhat less specific and effective than cleft grafting.
  • When the vine’s bark starts to split and peel away from the wood, this is known as bark sliding. Before attempting to utilize this grafting process, you should wait until all of the vine’s bark has split.
  • Only around 4 inches (10 cm) of the vine’s top must be removed. However, if you want a lesser head height, you may trim even more.

Cut a design into the scion’s basal end. Using a sharp, clean blade, slice off a bit of bark and wood along the bottom half of a dormant scion’s shoot.

  • This cut should be around 2 inches (4 cm) long and straight yet slanted. Position this cut on the opposite side of the bud for optimal effects. [6]
  • Make a secondary incision on the scion’s opposite (bud) side. This cut should have a similar shape to the primary cut but be one-third the length.

Cut the stock in the same way. Cut through the side of the rootstock at the cut top with the same blade. The section you cut away should be the same shape and size as the scion portion you removed.

  • Remove the grafting location’s loose outer bark.
  • Hold the scion’s cut edge against the stock’s planned grafting spot. On both sides, cut a slit in the bark. The incision should be as broad as the scion’s diameter and as deep as the length of the scion.

In the cut, place the scion. Insert the scion’s cut surface into the rootstock’s freshly cut wedge.

  • Peeling away the flap of bark on the stock may need the use of a flat screwdriver. Before inserting the scion into the wedge, remove around one-third to one-half of this flap.
  • The scion’s long side should be pressed against the stock’s trunk.

The grafted area should be sealed. Use a strong rubber band or heavy-duty tape to hold the grafted vines together. Apply grafting compound to the whole exposed region.

  • Hold the graft together with 1-inch (2.5-cm) long brads or staples from a staple gun for added security. Seal as usual, then paint over the dry grafting material with latex paint.

Graft Whip

Remove the scion’s lower half.[7] Cut the bottom of the scion at a slant using a sharp blade. From the lowest to highest point, the exposed surface should measure between 1 and 2 inches (2.5 and 5 cm).

  • This procedure is a bit more complex than cleft and bark grafting, but it’s still very straightforward and works best with young, tender vines.
  • The diameter of the scion should be nearly equal to the diameter of the rootstock vine you want to utilize.

At a similar angle, cut the top of the stock. Cut the top of the rootstock at an angle and length that matches the scion’s cut using a saw or sharp blade.

  • This procedure works best on vines that are just a year or two old. This method is ideal for vines that are too small to be grafted using cleft or bark grafting because the vines must be no more than 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) in diameter.

Cambium layers must be matched. Place the scion on top of the rootstock. Arrange them in such a way that the vine’s cambium layers touch.

  • The cambium is a single layer of active plant cells that lies immediately under the vine’s bark. If the two vines are to become one, they must be joined at their cambium levels.
  • If the rootstock is broader than the scion, you may have to make do with matching the cambium layer on just one side of the graft.

Both parts should have a tongue cut out of them. With a sharp blade, slice through the rootstock, then mirror the cut in the scion. Both cut wood pieces should be able to fit together.

  • On both the scion and the stock, both cuts should begin about a fourth of the way down from the point of slanted cut.
  • These tongues aid in holding the graft together more firmly and keeping the structure more stiff.

The grafted area should be sealed. Wrap the grafted part of the vine with heavy-duty tape or similar material, then graft the exposed vine with a thick amount of grafting compound.

  • Sealing is crucial in all procedures, but it’s extremely crucial in this one. When wrapping the grafted region, be sure to use strong grafting rubber tape or electrical tape.
  • Apply a liberal quantity of asphalt grafting compound with a stiff paintbrush, then top it over with a layer of interior latex paint after it has dried.


  1. NameBright – Coming Soon. (n.d.). NameBright – Coming Soon. http://berrygrape.org/an-illustrated-guide-to-field-grafting-grapevines/.
  2. Selecting And Storing Scion Wood for Grafting. (2014, April 11). MSU Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/selecting_and_storing_scion_wood_for_grafting.
  3. Selecting And Storing Scion Wood for Grafting. (2014, April 11). MSU Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/selecting_and_storing_scion_wood_for_grafting.
  4. Cleft Grafting. (n.d.). Cleft Grafting. https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/propagation/cleftgrafting/cleftgrafting.html.
  5. Bark Grafting | Chelan & Douglas Counties | Washington State University. (n.d.). Chelan & Douglas Counties. https://extension.wsu.edu/chelan-douglas/agriculture/treefruit/horticulture/bark_grafting/.
  6. http://cetulare.ucanr.edu/files/82000.pdf
  7. Whip Grafting. (n.d.). Whip Grafting. https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/propagation/whipgrafting/.


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