Gardening Articles


Budding as an art is simple, useful, and easily acquired by any one with a little practice. More can be learned practically about budding in a few hours spent with a skillful nurseryman while he is performing the operation, than could be derived

from anything we might write on the subject. We are aware that we shall not be able to state in this brief chapter what will be new or instructive to experienced gardeners or nurserymen. This is not our aim, what may be old to them is likely to be new to thousands of amateur gardeners. In another part of this book will be found a chapter on grafting; this, though differently performed, is analogous in its results to budding, and many amateurs not infrequently speak of them in the same terms. To graft a cion, one end is carefully cut in the shape of a wedge, and inserted in a cleft where it is to grow; on the other hand, in budding, we use but a single eye, taken from a small branch, and insert it inside of the bark of the stock or tree we wish to bud. From this one eye, we may in time look for a tree laden with precious fruit. To be more explicit, and by way of illustration, we will imagine a seedling apple tree, a "natural," to have grown up in our garden. If left alone, the fruit of that seedling tree would probably be worthless, but we don't propose to risk that, and will proceed to bud it with some kind more worthy of room in a garden. When the proper season for budding fruit arrives, generally from the first to the latter part of July, will be the time to bud, if the stock is growing thriftily. A keen-bladed budding knife made for the purpose, a "cion" or "stick" of the variety to be budded, some twine (basswood bark is the best), make up the needed outfit for this operation. If the seedling is large, say five or six feet high, it should be top-budded, putting in a bud or two in each of the thriftiest branches. If the stock is not over one to two feet high, a single bud a few inches from the ground will be the best way to make a good tree of it. At the spot where we have decided to insert the bud, we will make a short, horizontal cut, then downwards a short, perpendicular "slit," not over an inch long, and just penetrating through the bark; open the slit, care being taken not to scratch the wood within, then insert the bud at the top of the cut, and slide it down to its proper place inside of the bark, the top of the bud being in juxtaposition with the horizontal cut above. Considerable skill is required to cut a bud properly, and two methods are practised, known as "budding with the wood in," and "budding with the wood out." The former consists in cutting a very little wood with the bud, a little deeper than the bark itself, and in the latter the wood is removed from the bud, leaving nothing but the bare bark. Unquestionably the surest way for a young budder is to remove the wood, cutting a pretty deep bud, and then in making the cross cut let it be only as deep as the bark, and by giving it a twitch the bud will readily leave the wood. I will say, however, that most nurserymen insist on budding with the wood, which it is claimed is the surest and best way to bud. We have tried both ways for years, and have been able to discover no difference, excepting where the buds are quite green at the time of budding, when it is best to have a little wood with the bud to sustain it. Plums should invariably be budded with the wood out. After the bud has been properly set, it should be firmly tied with a broad string, making the laps close enough to entirely cover the slip, leaving the eye of the bud uncovered. Various kinds of strings for tying buds are used by nurserymen, but the basswood bark, which is made into broad, ribbon-like strips, seems peculiarly adapted for the purpose, and we advise its use where one has any considerable amount of budding to do. It usually takes from three to four weeks for a bud to callous and form a union with the stock; at the expiration of this time the strings should be taken off; we would except only those cases where the stock is growing, when if the strings pinch the stock too closely, they can be removed some time sooner. The stock or stocks can now be left until the following spring, when the top should be cut away to within an inch or less of the bud; this will assist the roots to throw all their energy into the bud.

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