How to Graft an Orange Tree (Arborist Guide)

Last Modified

March 13, 2023 by Hirah Ehsan

By learning how to graft an orange tree, you can produce various types of oranges from a single rootstock. One interesting aspect to note is that orange trees can be grafted with any type of citrus wood, not just oranges. It takes a month for Mother Nature to decide whether the grafting was successful or not.

Orange trees provide luscious fruit and are easy to grow! As long as you have a warm climate, you can grow orange trees reasonably easily. Citrus trees can grow in a variety of conditions even if yours aren’t ideal.

There are orange trees planted in almost every country in the world for their delicious and nutritious fruit. If you do not live in a warm climate, you can also grow them indoors or in a greenhouse.

How to Graft an Orange Tree

1.Pick up budwood.

 The best time is between April and November during the growing season. Pick twigs whose bark has already hardened but the buds are still soft. You should not take soft cuttings from your tree after it has just sprouted new leaves. Young buds are not recommended from the current growth flush.

Make sure that the budwood is eight or twelve inches long. As soon as possible, use the budwood you have collected. Store the wood in your refrigerator’s vegetable crisper in a sealed polyethylene bag if you want to store it for some time.

Periodically check for signs of moisture buildup or mold. Store buds for no more than three months. For your first graft, ensure you have extra budwood so that you can compensate for any mistakes.  

How to graft an orange tree
How to graft an orange tree

2. Rootstock selection

Decide which citrus tree will serve as your rootstock. Find a variety of trees that will grow vigorously in your area. A hardy, disease-resistant rootstock is the best. A reputable local nursery can sell you a grafted orange tree for an affordable price.

3. Prepare Rootstock

Cut a 1-inch horizontal slit into the bark of a healthy rootstock stem about 6 inches from the ground by using a sharp knife. Then, along the bottom, make a vertical cut forming an upside-down ‘T’.

On the rootstock stem, a diagonal incision is made a few inches above soil level through the bark. To make these cuts, all it takes is a little pressure. When it reaches the wood, the knife will stop. Cutting into wood is not necessary.

4. Taking the bark off the tree

After making the vertical cut with the bark lifter, peel back the bark where you made it. After the bark flaps are removed, place the bud graft underneath. The chip graft would have been the alternative if the bark had been difficult to peel back.

5. Bud-cutting

Choose the biggest bud on the first graft branch. Gently separate the bud from the wood splinter, as well as any bark, that’s attached to it with a sharp knife.

6. A knife is used to pick up a bud

To minimize the possibility of damaging the bud, never touch the area where it has been cut. Contamination can lead to a failed bud graft. Dropping a cut bud on a dirty surface and having it fall apart requires discarding it and cutting another.

Petioles are sometimes attached to bud pieces that have been cut. Use the petiole of the bud as a handle to pick up a bud.

Grafting process.

Place the citrus bud under the slits in the rootstock’s bark. The insertion should be complete. To allow nutrients to flow freely from the roots to the buds, we need to create a connection between the two.

Using vinyl grafting tape to wrap the bud

Start at the bottom and wrap the tape upwards, wrapping the buds tightly as you go. It is important to wrap tightly so that the outer membrane of the bud is in contact with the rootstocks. To achieve successful grafting, there must be close contact between the two sides.

It is easy to stretch the vinyl tape without it breaking, and it makes an excellent wrapping material. If you do not have vinyl tape on hand, you can use parafilm as a wrapping material. Compared to vinyl tape, parafilm isn’t strong enough. When the bark flaps penetrate the parafilm, the grafts may not heal properly leading to the death of the buds.

It’s time to 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.

Equipment required

  • Gloves
  • Saw
  • Grafting Knives
  • Vinyl Tapes

Advantages of Grafting an Orange Tree

Grafting is the process of making a new tree from a piece of a present tree. Rather than starting from scratch, this is a better option for many reasons:

  • Trees grow too slowly from seeds. Plants propagated from cuttings mature more quickly. Commercial growers will particularly appreciate this. Generally, grafted trees mature after 2-3 years, but trees grown from seeds mature after 7-15 years.
  • Seeds introduce genetic uncertainty into the process. You may not get fruit from the new tree, or the fruit may not be desirable.
  • Trees grafted onto specific rootstocks can acquire desirable characteristics. Resilience and smaller tree size are two of these.
  • Keeping old varieties alive is possible through propagation. Despite the fact that a citrus tree is weak and old, you love its fruit. Start a new tree from the young, healthy growth of an existing tree.
  • Multiple citrus species can be grown on a single tree through grafting. People with smaller yards will love this fruit cocktail tree that is often called the “fruit cocktail tree.
  • Both the rootstock and the mother tree have advantages in a budding tree.
  • Three to four years are all it takes for them to bear fruit.
  • As some citrus trees lack seeds, they are only capable of producing
  • Fruit from the buds. Picking them is easier since they don’t grow so high.

Caring Tips for a Grafted Orange Tree

  • Place your grafted fruit trees in an area where there is plenty of sunlight and well-draining soil. Drop the tree into the hole so the graft sits 2 to 3 inches above ground level. Prepare a large hole that will fit the root ball. Provide five gallons of water after backfilling with the soil. Those trees planted in windy areas should be staked.
  • Repair any damage to the seal on your graft on a weekly basis. The raft is usually sealed with tape or wax specialized for this purpose. The purpose of both products is to prevent air from damaging the fused scion and rootstock while trapping moisture against them. In case of damage, follow the above steps immediately to reapply the grafting tape or wax.
  • If any new rootstock is growing, prune it off right away. Often, fruit trees send the bulk of their energy to the rootstock since it is stronger, and that weaker scion dwindles. Any suckers should be pulled off or new growth should be cut off with gardening scissors or gardening shears immediately.
  • If any new rootstock is growing, prune it off right away. Often, fruit trees send the bulk of their energy to the rootstock since it is stronger, and that weaker scion dwindles. Any suckers should be pulled off or new growth should be cut off with gardening scissors or gardening shears immediately.
  • Maintain a weekly watering schedule of 5 gallons for the tree. It is not necessary to irrigate grafted fruit trees that received more than an inch of rainfall in that particular week.
  • Remove the graft tape or wax when the area starts growing again, which normally takes a few months. Taping or waxing can limit growth if left on the surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to overcome apical dominance?

Due to a phenomenon known as apical dominance, grafted buds don’t usually grow if left untreated. In natural plant hormones found in higher parts of the tree, the grafted buds are discouraged from growing.

In order to encourage the growth of the grafted buds, apical dominance must be overcome when grafting orange trees or any kind of tree. The rootstock can be cut halfway through, and the top pushed over or out to break apical dominance.

In order to grow healthy orange trees, what fertilizer is best?

Orange trees that are newly planted need phosphate fertilizer. Once it becomes established, it will need less maintenance. The soil should be enriched with 1 3/4 cups of liquid phosphate fertilizer for newly planted trees. A pound of phosphorus is then all orange trees require every three to four years after that.


People have started grafting orange trees all over the world. The reason is this plant is nutritive rich and easy to graft. It is a rich source of Vitamin C as well. You can easily manage its requirement and care for its protection. If you also want to graft an orange tree, then this article is for you.

This article consists of a step-by-step- guide on How to graft an orange tree and provides some tips for care related to grafted trees. You will be able to easily graft your orange tree after reading this article. We hope this article will prove of some help to you. Goodbye. Find more articles about tree removal, and tree services on

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