In the open air this may be done from the end of July up to the end of September almost the later date being preferable after a hot and rainless summer. Expert budders know exactly the best buds to select from the shoot of any particular variety, avoiding naturally those that are too young and sappy, or too old and already beginning to sprout, as shown in fig. 442 at a. Consequently the most likely buds are generally obtainable from the centre of the ripened shoot of the current years growth. The method of budding usually practised is that known as "T-bud-ding" or "shield-budding". This is shown in the annexed diagram, fig. 437, in which A represents the stock and B, B the bud with a shieldlike piece of bark attached. The shoot is held upside down in the left hand, and after the leaves have been removed, with the exception of a small piece of the stalk, as shown in fig. 436, a, b, the bud is cut out and temporarily placed between the lips. A transverse slit is then made in the stock A, as shown at a, with the budding knife (specimens of which are shown in fig. 438), and a vertical cut about 1 in. long is made upwards to meet it as shown at b, this forming the letter T, from which the name arises. The bud B, which has had its tail of bark cut across straight as shown at e, is then inserted at a and pushed down towards b - the bark having been previously raised and opened a little with the bone handle of the knife. The diagram to the right shows the layers of bark, cambium (c) and wood with the base of the bud d in the centre. If a thin strip of wood adheres to the bud when first cut from the shoot it may be easily removed by a slight bend and a twitch with the point of the knife blade between finger and thumb. Care, however, is taken in removing this plant not to bring the core of the bud with it. Should this happen, as it sometimes does, the bud is useless. Another method of budding is shown at fig. 439, called inverted T-budding, but it is rarely or never practised in British nurseries, although it has advocates on the Continent. Fig. 440 shows how the buds are inserted and tied on the upper shoots of a standard or half-standard stock.

Shield budding or T budding.

Fig. 437. - Shield-budding or T-budding.

Budding Knives.

Fig. 438. - Budding Knives.