Split graft

Split graft

The split graft is one of the most used in the cultivation of fruit trees: its purpose is to give life to fruits with better characteristics. Let's see what are the rules to follow to carry it out correctly in a home cultivation.

How to practice

The trees planted do not always give rise to fruits that satisfy the needs of the growers: in these cases we turn to the grafts, so as to join parts of two different plants, thus giving rise to fruits with the best characteristics and quality. The split graft is one of the most practiced, also due to its simplicity of execution.
To carry out this practice, a mother plant is required (also called "rootstock"), a branch of another plant that includes some buds and a special knife for grafts. This type of blades is very robust and must be sharpened before carrying out the operation. We do not recommend the use of a normal knife: in addition to not being properly sharpened, it is not shaped so that the parts of the two different plants coincide.
The branch to be inserted into the slit (also called "marza") must be cut so that its end is perfectly suited to the cut inside the mother plant. At this point, it is advisable to tie the two branches tightly together, so that the scion can sprout and give rise to new fruits, taking the nutrients from the mother plant. The split graft involves the use of a branch as a scion and not, as in other types of grafts, the single bud.
The most suitable period to carry out split inserts It is the spring one, when the scions begin to sprout. The scions must however be cut off from their tree during the winter months: it is in this period, in fact, that the plants are in a state of vegetative rest. Once cut, it is advisable to keep it in the refrigerator (protected by a special food bag): in this way, they will arrive to the spring still in perfect health.


It is necessary to pay close attention to the two plants involved in the grafting, as the success of the operation, even if it was carried out correctly, depends on many factors. One of these is that the scion remains solidly in place inside the mother plant. Should it move, even slightly, the success of the graft would be compromised. To avoid this, it is often necessary to check whether the two plants are still firmly tied together: if the binding has weaknesses or is loose, it must be redone quickly. The ligature must be eliminated only when the scion has taken root inside the mother plant. To know that the procedure is having the desired result, it is sufficient to observe the behavior of the scion: if the buds become enlarged, it means that it has taken root correctly, and that soon there will be new flowers that will give rise to the fruits. It is also recommended to keep the mother plant under control: if it produces buds, flowers or buds, it is necessary to remove them, as they could remove the nutrients they need from the marza. Each inflorescence of the mother plant must therefore be treated as a weed weed.

The different types of splitting

This type of graft can be done in many different ways. The first is what is called "common split graft", and which sees the mother plant as the lower part of a tree that has been cut. Once the scion has been inserted (it too must be cut, so as to perfectly match the slit in the rootstock) it is advisable to use a special putty to seal the cuts: the normal binding with cloth or raffia may not be enough . This type of graft is suitable for adult and still young plants, unlike the "English" split grafting, especially recommended for plants that are not yet adult. This type of graft requires that a branch of the mother plant be cut vertically: inside it must be inserted a scion that includes only one bud: this type of graft allows the two plants to be perfectly embedded. In this way, the possibility of infections will be reduced, and it will be sufficient to ensure the scion to the mother plant with a ligature made of fabric. The last type of split graft is what is called "lateral" or "full". It consists in making a cut on one side of the mother plant, in which a properly shaped scion is inserted that has two or even three buds. Sometimes it can also be achieved by raising the scallop bark, so as to fit it more firmly. Use a ligature or putty to seal everything.