Plant Care


Chip Budding                                                                      

TRECO was the first nursery operation to integrate chip budding in the United States.  The benefits of this type of budding are numerous: vigorous growth of buds, uniform stands, well-balanced tree, and a lower incidence of bud losses.

In the past TRECO has applied a white line on the rootstocks we were going to bud (see picture on the right).  This white line keeps the budder at a uniform height.   Then select a smooth stem section just under the white painted line. 

Your first cut is then made using a very sharp knife.  Cut depth: approximately 1/8".  Cut angle: about 20 degrees into the stem, forming an acute lip.  The knife is then withdrawn, and a second cut is made 1-1/4" above the first at the same depth.  Cut down to meet the first incision.  You should end up with a piece of tissue shaped like an inverted "U" NOT "A"-shaped.  This tissue is then removed.

To cut the bud scion chip, the budstick is held with the base facing the operator; it is cut in the same fashion as the rootstock. The chip is then lifted between thumb and knife blade, transferred to the left hand (if right-handed) and placed into the rootstock.  The lip on a properly cut rootstock will ensure that a firmly placed chip remains in position until tied.  The goal is to match the cambium layer of the rootstock with the new bud.  Cuts should be slightly shallower on large, thick-barked stocks and a bit deeper on thin budsticks.  When a thin bud is placed on a thick stock, a margin of bark should be visible around the edge of the stock cut, except below the lip.  This ensures that stock cambium and the bud cambium are opposite one another.

Because a chip bud is more exposed than a T-bud, tying must be done carefully and immediately after the budder inserts the bud.

Plastic tape is placed over the lower lip of the rootstock bottom cut and pulled tight, slightly stretching the plastic.  The tie is begun by passing it around the stem, trapping the end.  Then, the chip is tied in with overlapping passes.  Once the cut area above the bud has been completely covered, the tie is finished with a half-hitch over the upper part of the chip.

To accomplish a complete and thorough tie, the plastic should be started 3/4" below the bottom cut and finished 3/4" above the top cut.

After the plastic tie has been in place for 4 to 5 weeks, remove it. You will find that the bud or variety has been healed in quite well.  Early in the following spring, cut the rootstock off above the bud to induce vigorous growth in the new variety.