Grafting Different Varieties of Avocado onto a Root Stock
Hundreds of varieties of avocados grow around the world. Avocado varieties can be grafted, or joined, together, producing more than one type of fruit on a single tree. Grafted avocados also produce fruit the same as the parent plant and start fruiting in as soon as five years from grafting.
Before You Start Grafting Avocados
In order to make a successful graft, you need the right tools, equipment, and plant stock.
The basic supplies you need for grafting avocados are:
- Grafting knife. A specialty knife with a bevel on only one side of the blade, allowing for precision cutting through bark.
- Grafting tape. Used for tying together grafted sections.
- Grafting wax. A special wax for sealing grafts.
- Disinfectant. Clean grafting tools before using by rinsing in one part pine oil cleaner mixed with three parts water.
- Scions. These are short sections of dormant branches from the cultivars you want to add-on to the root stock.
- Root stock. This is the growing tree onto which you graft the scion.
Avocados permanently growing in pots and indoor trees do not produce fruit, so only graft onto trees which are, or will be, planted in the ground.
Grafting Avocado Cultivars
There are several grafting methods, and whip grafting is the simplest method and also the best method for grafting small scions and root stock material up to ½ inch in diameter.
Graft avocados in the spring or fall. Cut scions from another tree of the cultivar you want to add onto the root stock, or acquire scions from a nursery or plant-trading club shortly before grafting.
Disinfect your grafting knife by soaking it in disinfectant for five minutes and then rinsing it with plain water. Dirty tools can cause diseases in the tree.
Cut the stem or branch of the root stock tree in a slant 2 to 3 inches long. Then cut one end of the scion in a slant matching the cut on the root stock, cutting the end of the scion on the side where it was attached to the tree when it was growing.
Join the two pieces together, making sure the green cambium layer of bark on scion and root stock are aligned and touching at all points. Wrap the cut section with grafting tape, and then use grafting wax for holding the join together and keeping it clean.
Caring for a Grafted Avocado Tree
Keep the plant in indirect light until the grafted branch begins growing. Cut off any shoots appearing below the graft. When the graft heals, remove the wax and tape and care for the tree in the same way as a non-grafted tree.