Concepts and Principles of Budding

Concepts and Principles of Budding

This is a method of asexual propagation which involves inserting of a strip of bark with bud from the branch of the desired clones to the stem of the seedling stocks. Budding is a form of grafting and is based on the same principles of and requirements for successful union in grafting. There are different techniques that can be used depending on bark slipping or the condition which determines the ease or difficulty of separating the bud from the wood. Similar to grafting, it uses vigorous and disease-free rootstocks and scion. There are two commonly used budding techniques in tree propagation. These are T-budding and patch budding.

The principle involved in budding is the replacement of the shoot system of a plant with that of another more desirable plant. In this process, a patch of bark of the seedling plant (stock) is replaced by a patch of bark with a dormant bud (bud patch) taken from the clone to be multiplied. The bud patch gets attached to the stock permanently and becomes part of it. The stock is then cut off above the budded portion and the grafted bud develops into a shoot exhibiting the characters of the plant from which it was taken. The new tree is a two-part tree, comprising a root system belonging to the stock plant and a shoot system contributed by the donor of the bud.

Steps in T-Budding

Steps of T-budding and patch grafting

Materials needed

  • Budding knife
  • Clean wiping cloth
  • Budding tape wax
  • Bud sticks
  • Rootstocks
  • Pruning shear


  • Wipe the base of the seedling stock with 75 per cent ethanol
  • Make 2 vertical parallel incisions at 6mm apart, 5cm long and 2.5cm to 5 cm from the ground level.
  • Connect the top or bottom portion of the parallel incisions with a horizontal cut. Open the flap and cut the lower or upper portion leaving one half of the flap.
  • Get a bud patch from a bud stick, making a similar but smaller incision on the flap of the stock.
  • Slowly strip the flap having the bud eye on the middle.
  • After removing the bud patch from the budstick, carefully examine the inner side for the presence of the core of the bud. Discard the bud patch, if the core of the bud is not present.
  • Handle the bud patch with care so as to avoid any damage to the cambium. Always hold the edges of the bud patch without touching the cambium.
  • Lift the flap and insert the bud patch immediately and hold firmly.
  • After inserting the bud patch, place back the flap over it.
  • Wrap the incisions with plastic tape using 0.2mm budding tape with 2cm to 3cm width starting from the lower cut going upward. Make sure that the edges of the tape overlap each other. During the first few turning of the wrapping, the lower end of the flap should be kept gently pressed over the bud patch, to prevent it from slipping. Tighten the wrapping to keep the cambium tissues of the seedling stocks and the bud patch in intimate contact with each other.
  • Open the tape after 21 days. The budding is successful if the cambium of the seedling stocks and that of the bud patch unite. A green bud patch seen through the tape indicates successful budding. If the patch is black, then it was not successful.
  • Cutback (slide cutting) the stem of the budded plants at 3cm to 5 cm from the budeye three weeks after budding. Apply wax to the wound of the newly cut seedlings. The buds often bear shoots at 7 to 10 days from cutting and are ready for transplanting in the field.
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