How to Graft a lemon Tree (Ultimate Guide)

Last Modified

March 13, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

A simple technique for grafting lemon trees is T-budding, which gives a high rate of success, and this guide shows you how to graft a lemon tree using this method.

The T-budding technique involves grafting a single bud from the desired variety onto a rootstock. Nurseries often use the T-bud method when grafting lemon trees. It is also used to graft a wide range of fruit trees in addition to lemons.

The art of grafting seems like it should only be performed by experts, but it can be done by anyone with pruning shears and grafting tape.

The best part about lemon trees is that if you grow them correctly then they will produce a regular and plentiful harvest. You will be pleased with the results.

How to Graft a lemon Tree

Citrus grafting is not as easy as other methods, and not all methods are applicable to Citrus. Among the many methods of grafting citrus trees, T-budding is the most effective and simple.

1. Choosing the right tree

The first thing you need to do is to select the tree you wish to duplicate. Healthy and vigorous growth is ideal for the tree. It is important to check with local authorities before using imported or quarantined budwood, as some states do not allow the importation of this wood.

2. Get your Budwood

In the rootstock, one of the buds will be inserted from the budwood, a part of a tree you want to propagate. Be certain that the tree providing the budwood is healthy and completely disease-free. Ensure that you’re following all budwood requirements in your area. Consider your grafting goals when selecting your budwood tree. Remove all leaves from your budwood.

How to graft a lemon tree

Trim it to approximately 8 to 10 inches using your knife or small pruners. Remove all-around budded branches on the scion tree that have grown this season. As soon as possible, use the budwood you have collected. Place the wood into a sealed polyethylene bag and store it in the crisper of your refrigerator.

Frequently check for signs of moisture buildup or mold. Within three months, use the buds that have been stored. The growth period is the best time to collect buds. Furthermore, the bark will be full of nutrients at this time, making it easier to separate from the plants.

Ensure the twig does not lose water due to leaf transpiration by removing all the leaves from the stem.

3. Select Rootstock

Consider your grafting goals when choosing your rootstock. If you don’t want to purchase rootstocks, you can either grow your own out of cuttings or seeds or order rootstocks from specialized nurseries and growers.

4. Rootstock preparation

Ensure that the leaves and thorns are removed from the rootstock at a height between 8 and 12 inches or 20 to 30 centimeters above the ground. In comparison to trees planted closer to the ground, trees planted at this height are less likely to suffer from the disease.

You can cut the rootstock in an upside-down T shape. You can also use an upright T. Having an upside-down T has the advantage of helping to keep water out. For those living in rainy climates, this method may be more effective. The knife will stop once it hits the wood after it cuts into the bark.

Since the bark is the only part of the tree that must be severed, little force is needed to cut through it.

5. Bark Peeling

To prepare the rootstock for receiving the bud, peel back the bark with a bark lifter and grafting knife. The bark may be too thick, or the graft may not be appropriate for the season. If the bark does not peel back easily, it might not be the right time of year.

6. Prepare Budwood

Cut a bud from the wood with your knife. Slice a 1-inch piece of wood parallel to the budwood in order to remove it. If necessary, use your knife to gently handle the bud and avoid touching the cut surfaces.

7. Grafting Process

Create the site in the rootstock and insert the budwood. Scions should fit into bark space, which makes them adhere to the bark. Take great care to ensure the bark of the budwood lies along with the cambium layer of the rootstock. It is time to break off the leaf stalk as soon as the budwood reaches its station.

The orientation of the buds

Ensure that you graft the bud on the right side of the plant and in an upward direction. The scar that remains from the leaf attachment should be on the bottom; the bud should be located at the top.

9. the bud

Ensure the tape is tightly wrapped around each bud, starting at the bottom and wrapping upwards. The outer membrane of the rootstock should be tightly wrapped around the buds.

The two sides must be in close contact in order for the graft to be successful. Vinyl tape is easy to stretch and is an excellent wrapping material because it does not break when stretched. For wrapping purposes, you may wish to use parafilm rather than vinyl tape.

The strength of parafilm is inferior to that of vinyl tape. A breach in the parafilm can result in the grafts not healing properly and subsequently resulting in the death of the buds.

10. Unwrap the buds

Removing the budding tape after 21-28 days is recommended. Grafts that have failed usually show limp, rotten buds; the ones that have been successful show green, healthy buds.

11. Force Growth

The union will grow more effectively if the buds grow forcefully. Cutting rootstocks 2/3 of the way through is the easiest way to achieve an even depth. Cut rootstocks about 1.5 inches above the buds.

Next, remove the rootstock from the soil and lay it down. Once the bud grows 3 to 4 inches, it is then possible to remove the rootstock’s top 1 inch above the top. The roots of rootstock buds must be removed immediately when they appear so there will be no competition.

Material Required

The graft is more likely to survive when the grafting tools between grafts are sterilized in order to prevent any spread of disease.

  • Isopropyl alcohol, bleach, or household cleaner
  • Vinyl tape or budding tape
  • Knife of small size and sharpness
  • Sharp, small pruning shears

Lemon Tree Grafting: Why it’s Needed

In Citrus fruits, seeds are produced through cross-pollination with the blossoms of another Citrus tree. The resultant seeds inside the fruit will display traits of both the parent plant and the resultant cross-pollination.

There are two kinds of trees: trees that donate pollen and trees that receive pollen and bear fruit. The characteristics of the new Citrus plant will not become apparent until 3-4 years after it has grown and matured. Fruit-bearing plants might behave the same way as this seed.

 Pollen donors might act similarly to anonymous trees, or they might exhibit traits of both. Farmers need to know exactly what will happen when they plant specific trees, so uncertainty is damaging to their crops.

This is where grafting comes in. A lemon tree can be grafted to take on the characteristics of a particular tree. It’s a little bit more complicated, but also fun than the vegetative propagation of lemons.

  • Sun and drainage are essential for lemon trees.
  • Three years is a reasonable time frame to expect fruit if certain conditions are met. You can just as easily grow a lemon tree in a pot if you don’t have enough space for one. Trees without grafting produce fruit after 10 years.
  • The ability to fight diseases more effectively
  • A more frost-resistant plant
  • The same kind of fruit grows on the plant
  • An increase in fruiting time
  • Improved seed-to-seed pollination

Frequently Asked Questions

What can lemon trees benefit from coffee grounds?

According to the University of California Riverside Research Facility, the best soil pH for citrus trees is 6.5. Using mulches that acidify the soil will help improve your soil if your pH is high. To prevent making your soil too acidic, regularly check its ph.

What happens if you overwater a lemon tree?

After they dry out, citrus trees begin losing their leaves as soon as they are watered. The leaves of a citrus tree will begin to yellow and eventually fall off if there is too much water, indicating poor drainage. If you lose all the leaves on your citrus tree as a result of overwatering or overexposure, don’t worry.


It is better to buy a grafted lemon tree rather than grow it from seed. Benefits outweigh costs by a wide margin. In a fraction of the time, you’ll have a mature lemon tree-bearing fruit. As our citrus orchard expands, we will have to start doing our grafting.

Grafting citrus trees, whether you’re thinking of cloning them or simply providing a harder tree, is an excellent way to manage your citrus trees. You can do T grafts yourself if you plan to do the grafting yourself. As soon as the scion turns green it means it is working.

We have provided all the information related to T-budding for lemon trees in this article. We hope so you will find this article helpful in this context. Thank you!

Research Links

Gil-Izquierdo, Angel, et al. “Effect of the rootstock and interstock grafted in the lemon tree (Citrus limon (L.) Burm.) on the flavonoid content of lemon juice.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 52.2 (2004): 324-331.

Olmos Ruiz, R., and M. Carvajal. “Nutrient Passage in Different Grafted Lemon Trees.” Biol. Life Sci. Forum. Vol. 1. 2021.

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