The whip-and-tongue graft is a form of detached scion grafting.

When done properly, it can be a very successful graft because it lines up a large amount of cambium from the scion and rootstock. It also forms a strong graft.

This graft is similar to a splice graft, except that a second reverse "tongue" cut is made in both the scion and rootstock that allows the partners to fit tightly together.

Illustration of a whip-and-tongue grafting. Photo of a whip-and-tongue grafting.

Illustration showing how to prepare a stock in three steps. Step One: A long, sloping cut 2.5 to 6 cm (1 to 3.5 in.) long is made at the top of the stock. Step Two: A second downward cut is made starting one-third of the distance from the tip to the base of the first cut. Step Three: The stock is shown with the second cut pulled open.

Illustration showing preparing the scion. A long, sloping cut is made at the base of the scion the same length as the cut on the stock. A second cut is made junder the first, just as for the stock.

Photograph showing how the stock and scion look after being cut, but before being joined.

Illustration showing the stock and scion being joined in four steps. Steps one and two, the stock and scion are slipped together and the tongues interlocking. Steps three and four, the graft is then tied and waxed.

A top graft used to make weeping cherry trees is a good example of a common whip-and-tongue graft. Illustrated to the right is a grafter performing this graft in the field. He has the rootstock, which is 8 feet tall, under his arm (arrow 1). His waist pouch contains a supply of scions (arrow 2) and his grafting tape (arrow 3).

Photograph of grafter perfoming a graft in the field. The elements one through three mentioned in text are pointed out to illustrate what is being done.

The scion is cut with a sharp grafting knife using a single motion. After the first cut, a second reverse cut is made three-quarters of the way into the first cut to form the tongue.

Photograph showing the making of the first cut in the scion.

Making the first cut in the scion.

Photograph showing the second inward cut which makes the tongue.

The second inward cut makes the tongue.

After making matching cuts in both the scion and rootstock, the two are joined together and wrapped with nursery tape. If the scion is smaller in diameter than the rootstock, then one side of the scion should be matched to one side of the rootstock.

Photo showing the joining of the scion and rootstock together.

Joining the scion and rootstock together.

Second photo showing the joining of the scion and rootstock together.

Aligning the cambial regions.

The graft is held in place with grafting tape.

Photo of a roll of grafting tape.

Photo of worker taping the graft in place.

Since this is a field graft, it is important to cover the graft union with a grafting wax to prevent the cut surfaces from drying out. In this case, the propagators have chosen to use a hot wax. The wax is kept in a liquid state by using a warming pot. The wax should be hot enough to flow easily but not boiling hot which will damage the graft.

Photo of a pot of grafting wax, with wax being applied to a graft.

Photo of grafting wax applied to a graft, with the scion and rootstock identified.

Click on the button below to see whip-and-tongue graft on bareroot stock video.