T-budding is a common budding type, but must be done with dormant scions and active rootstocks.

The bark must be slipping.

The term T-budding comes from the shape of the cut made in the rootstock which is shaped like a "T".

Photo showing an example of T-budding.

Two cuts are made to form the T and the sides peeled back to allow the insertion of the scion "shield".

Because of this, the rootstock needs to be actively growing and the bark has to "slip"

Illustration showing the preparation of stock for T-budding. Image shows two steps. The first step shows a vertical cut about 2.5cm (1 in) long is made in the stock. The second step shows a horizontal cut is made through the bark about one-third the distance around the stock. The knife is given a slight twist to open the two flaps of bark.

In contrast, the scion shield must be dormant and consists of only a single vegetative bud.

T-budding can be performed in the early spring, as June budding or in the fall.

T-budding is usually a field operation and usually has a high success rate.

Illustration shwoing two steps for preparing the bud, from a front and side view. Step one shows starting 1.2 cm (1/2 in) below the bud, a slicing cut is made about 2.5 cm (1 in) under the bud. Step two shows about 2 cm (3/4 in) above the bud a horizontal cut is made through the bark and into the wood, permitting removal of the bud piece.

When preparing the scion, some species have a better take if the inner wood is removed from the T-bud.

Photo of inner wood being removed from a T-bud.

Photo showing wood-in side, and wood-out side.

Illustration showing the insertion of the bud into the stock in three steps. The first step shows the shield piece being inserted by pushing it downward under the two flaps of bark. The second step shows step one being done until the horizontal cuts on the shield and the stock are even. Step three shows the bud union then being tightly tied with some wrapping material.

Illustration showing the rootstock being cut back to promote growth of the bud.

T-buds at various stages of healing.

Photo of a T-bud that has recently been made.

Photo of a T-bud moderately healed.

Photo of a T-bud with a good deal of healing.

T-buds are usually wrapped with rubber bands leaving the bud exposed.

Photo of a new T-bud wrapped with rubber bands and the bud exposed between them.

Photo of a T-bud moderately healed, with the rubber bands now removed.

Honeylocust and sugar maple are commonly T-budded.

Photo of a row of plants with T-buds, wrapped with rubber bands.

Close up photo of a T-bud wrapped with rubber bands.

Click on the button below to see t-bud grafting video.