Fruit Tree Grafting Advice From the Experts

Welcome to another ‘From the Experts’ post in which, rather than pretending I have anything new to add to the store of knowledge on a particular orchard-related subject, I instead point you in the direction of some quality content that I’ve found on YouTube.

Apple and pear grafting season is in full swing at the moment – I’ve spent a happy few hours at work recently grafting new trees for Ordsall Hall‘s heritage orchard and/or plant sales – and I know many folks will be trying grafting for the first time, or be keen to brush up on the skills and techniques that they probably won’t have practised since last year.

Speaking of practice, if you’re in the Manchester, UK area and would like to learn or practice fruit tree grafting under the tutelage of an experienced grafter, check out the Kindling Trust’s event page. They’re planning to graft upwards of 12,000 fruit trees over the next couple of years and need all the help they can get, so they’re laying on volunteer sessions – effectively a free tutorial – for anyone with a steady hand and a good eye who’s keen to learn.

Anyhow, without further ado, here’s a selection of tree grafting videos that demonstrate a range of both bench grafting (joining scions to lifted rootstock) and field grafting (joining scions to an established, planted tree) techniques, for anyone who’s interested in learning more. Or, if you’d prefer text-only, there’s a very good summary of various techniques at, with links out to more video demonstrations.

The Orchard Project

With bases in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh, The Orchard Project works to develop and support community orchard projects and teach orcharding skills. This film demonstrates the whip-and-tongue bench grafting technique.

People’s Trust for Endangered Species

The PTES website has lots of information on traditional orcharding and this short film covers the basics of whip-and-tongue grafting.

Stephen Hayes

Winchester-based veteran orchardist and author of Tales From an English Orchard, Stephen has probably grafted more fruit trees than I’ve had hot dinners. In this collection of videos he explains a range of grafting techniques for both bench and field.

Saddle Grafting

Rind Grafting

Cleft Grafting

Whip and Tongue Grafting

Saddle, Cleft and Rind Grafting

And finally, if you’re in the mood for experimenting, via the ‘Growing With Julie’ YouTube channel, here’s Nigel – a fella who clearly knows his fruit trees, if his amazing-looking allotment plot is anything to go by – trying the ‘drill grafting’ method (and using Vaseline instead of grafting wax; a lower-cost and easier-to-source alternative, but I would assume not a capital ‘O’ Organic one).

How about you? Do you have a tired-and-tested, favourite grafting method? Do you have any grafting questions that I might be able to answer, or point you in the right direction with? Do let me know, via the comments.


  1. Hi there! I haven’t grafted before and have very unsteady hands. I’m planning on grafting 2 varieties of Acacia together and was wondering if you could help me out by telling me which graft to use when the branches are very small in diameter
    (possibly 1/8 inch)? And would one of the manual grafting tools be able to do this?
    I realise this is off topic, but am after some quality advice if you’re happy to give it. Thank you

    1. Hi Kelly – I asked around on Twitter, and one of my good Twitter-buddies, @stewartwaine, suggested cleft grafting as the best method to use. He says his hands aren’t so steady and as cleft grafting doesn’t involve too many precisely-shaped cuts, it’s a much easier method than some of the alternatives.

      There are a few good videos on YouTube which can explain the process much better that I could here, and this article from Johnson’s Nursery seems a good one as well:

      Hope that helps, and good luck!

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