Gardeners, Plant Lovers: Learn How to Graft a Tree at This Workshop


WOOSTER, Ohio — To paraphrase an old U2 song, two plant parts can beat as one.

It’s called grafting, and you can learn how to do it at an upcoming event in Wooster’s Secrest Arboretum.

“You can use the skill to graft heirloom varieties of apples, for example, that might not be available commercially,” said the arboretum’s program assistant, Paul Snyder.

“It’s a helpful skill to learn because it makes you a better gardener if you understand the mechanics behind plant production.”

The arboretum’s Summer Grafting Workshop goes from 8 a.m. to noon July 20. Snyder will teach it. Registration is $40 and is limited to 10 people, Bono not included.

The arboretum is at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. The center is part of The Ohio State University and its College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Best of both donors

Grafting combines a part from one plant with a part from another to create a whole new plant — typically one with the best traits of both. The original plants usually are related, at least as members of the same genus.

So a branch from a crabapple tree that has amazing flowers, for example, can be grafted onto the roots of a crabapple tree that laughs at terrible winters. Result: A crabapple tree with the double benefit of being both hardy and spectacular.

Good skill to have

Snyder said anyone who works with plants — from beginning to experienced gardeners, farmers to nursery managers — can put grafting to helpful use. He said it’s especially true of the type he’ll teach, which is called chip budding.

“It’s nearly universally used on deciduous trees,” he said. “It’s transferable to any setting, including ornamental, shade and fruit trees. It’s the primary graft commercial growers use for summer grafting.”

Participants in the workshop will learn the hows and whys of the technique. Then they’ll practice on trees such as apples, crabapples, black gums and sweet gums.

Participants also can take their grafted trees home to plant. But they might not be able to pick the types they work with — Snyder said it all depends on the donor trees he can get.

How to register

Details on the workshop and a link to register are at The registration fee is paid at the event. Cash and checks will be accepted.

Participants should meet in the arboretum’s Jack and Deb Miller Pavilion on Williams Road on the OARDC campus. The main entrance to the campus itself is at 1680 Madison Ave.

For more information, call Snyder at 330-263-3761.

CFAES News Team
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Paul Snyder