Budding, a method of propagating trees and shrubs. The seeds of cultivated fruits, when planted, seldom produce trees bearing fruit true to their kind. Young trees, grown from seeds, are called stocks. They are removed from nursery beds when in a thrifty state, set in regular nursery rows in good ground during early spring, and in summer worked with choice buds from fruit trees. Large trees are frequently remodelled by the inoculation of young shoots with buds from more desirable varieties of fruit than their natural product. When a bud is carefully removed from a tree, it bears all the characteristics of that tree, and when properly set in a thrifty young stock will unite with it, and produce a tree similar to the one from which it was removed. The results produced by budding are the same as those brought about by grafting; but the former has many advantages, as follows: 1. Stocks may be budded at an earlier age than they can be successfully grafted. 2. Stocks may be budded the same season they are transplanted, although they ought not to be grafted until the ensuing season. 3. Budding is a more rapid operation than grafting, a workman being able to set two in a minute.
The work is also done at a season when there is not so much hurry as in the spring, when grafting is performed. 4. If a tree be budded during summer, and the bud dies, the operation may be repeated the same season, or the stock grafted the ensuing spring; whereas, if it be grafted first, it may be entirely lost. 5. Very choice trees may be rapidly propagated by budding, one bud being sufficient to reproduce the variety, while in grafting several buds are used at once - For budding a sharp, thin-bladed, round-pointed knife is used, with a handle terminating in a thin wedge-like piece of ivory or bone, which is useful in raising the bark of the stock. The buds are taken from shoots of the present year's growth, when they have become perfected; this may be known by the formation of the terminal bud. Should the shoots be backward in growth, they may be more rapidly perfected by pinching off the upper end, checking their growth, and ripening the parts. The buds to be removed are developed in the axils of the leaves, or that point where the leaf joins the stem. The buds should be well formed before being removed, or they will be of no value.
When of proper age, the young shoot from which the buds are to be taken is cut away with a sharp knife, and the leaves are removed from it, while their footstalks are left attached to the buds as handles. The removed shoot is then called a " stick of buds." They may be wrapped in damp cloths and laid in a cool place for several days, if necessary; or they may be packed in moist sawdust to exclude the air, and thus sent a long distance with perfect safety. The operator selects a smooth place on the stock, making an incision across it through the bark, and another at right angles to and below it, so as to form a T; the bark is raised on each side of the cut by the ivory handle of the knife, and the stock is ready. Taking the stick of buds in his left hand, the operator inserts his knife above the bud, bringing it out below, so as to cut away the bud, a portion of bark, and a part of the wood. Mr. P. Barry, in his "Fruit Garden," says: "When it happens that the knife passes exactly between the bark and wood, the bud cannot fail to be good; but this rarely happens; more or less wood is attached, and the removal of this is the nice point. Where the buds are flat, the difficulty is less than where they have large, prominent shoulders, as the plum and pear have in many cases.
When all the wood is taken out of these, a cavity remains which does not come in contact with the wood on which the bud is placed, and therefore, although the bark unites well, the bud will not grow. Sometimes such as these are separated by making an incision through the bark, lifting the edge of the bark attached to the bud with the knife, and pushing it off with the fingers. A safer way still is to cut around the bud and draw a strong silk thread between the bark and the wood, thus removing the bud in perfection." Mr. J. J. Thomas, in his "Fruit Culturist," says: " The English practice of taking out the small portion of wood cut from the shoot has been found, in the climate of this country, not only useless, but really detrimental. Indeed, it often happens that buds of the cherry and other trees of rather spongy growth and slow adhesion succeed much better when a thick portion of wood is taken off than otherwise, the wood in such cases assisting in the retention of moisture until cemented to the stock." Having prepared the bud, insert it quickly in the incision on the stock, and, commencing at the bottom, wrap the bud and stock with strips of bass matting, merely leaving the vital point of the bud exposed, and making the whole impervious to air and water.
The bud will soon swell, when the tie should be loosened, and finally removed. This will happen in from 10 to 20 days. Should any length of time elapse from the removal of the bud to its insertion, it should be held in the mouth to keep it moist. - The time for budding is usually from July 15 to Sept. 15. The only rule that can be given is, to secure the perfect development of the bud, and to ascertain that the bark of the stock separates freely from the wood. This will occur earlier or later, according to the kind of tree, location, and season. The inserted bud will remain in the stock in a dormant condition until the ensuing spring, when the top of the stock is removed a few inches above the bud; thus the latter receives the whole sap of the stock, and when a shoot is produced it is stayed by being tied loosely to the stock left above the insertion. Later in the growth of the tree the stock is cut down to the butt of the new shoot, which rapidly heals the wound, and the young tree becomes a true representative of the variety from which the bud was originally derived.
Budding is sometimes performed in spring, sometimes in June, but these are not desirable periods. - In anchor budding, instead of making a cross incision so as to form a T, cuts are made from the upper end of the vertical incision at a slight angle, so that the whole is shaped like an anchor qi. The bark may be more readily raised from the stock than in the old method.