Shield-budding, or T-budding, is a traditional way to propagate rosaceous plants by grafting. A bud from the plant to be propagated is placed behind the bark of the rootstock so that the back of the bud and the exposed surface of the rootstock wood are in contact. However, this technique can only be carried out when the bark of the rootstock lifts easily; this is normally between May and August.

Select a suitable rootstock, either a seedling or a one-year-old layer. Plant it in some open ground during the winter. Label it and allow to establish.

As soon as the bark lifts easily from the wood underneath, prepare the rootstock for shield-budding. Insert a rose bud into the hypocotyl of a seedling rose (see page 92) and a tree bud into a stem of a compatible root-stock at the required height.

Cut off any leaves and branches on the bottom 12 in of the rootstock. Make a T-shaped incision through the bark by cutting a horizontal slit and then a vertical downward incision sufficiently large to take a suitable bud. The taut bark will begin to spring away from the wood underneath. Loosen the two flaps slightly to receive the bud.

Select a plant that has suitable budding material. Cut off a stem with all the current year's growth and with plump, healthy buds.

Horizontal Budding Branches

1 Plant a rootstock in the open ground in winter. Label. Allow to establish.

2 Trim the bottom 12 in of the rootstock of all leaves and branches in summer.

3 Make a T-shaped incision through the bark. Loosen the two flaps of bark.

7 Cut shallowly underneath the bud. Lift it off once the knife is past it.

8 Bend the bark outwards and flick out any wood underneath the bark.

9 Slip the bud into the T-cut on the rootstock. Trim the tail neatly.

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Remove the leaves, but leave about J in of each leaf-stalk attached to the1 stem.

When shield-budding, always select buds from the middle of a stem where the buds are mature. Do not take them from the bottom of the stem because they may be latent, nor from the top where they will be immature.

Cut shallowly into the stem, or bud-stick, about ¿in below a mature bud; then cut shallowly underneath the bud; when past it, lift off the bud together with a tail of bark. Ensure the cut is deep enough to avoid damaging the "eye" of the bud.

Remove any wood from under the bark by bending the bark outwards and flicking the wood out. If the bud-trace comes out with the wood, the bud is not mature and should be discarded.

Using the leaf-stalk as a handle1, slip the bud into the T-cut on the rootstock, and trim off the tail flush with the horizontal cut.

Tie the budded rootstock with clear polythene tape, leaving the bud and leaf-stalk exposed, and label it.

After three to four weeks the bud will have united with the rootstock and the tape can be removed.

In late winter/early spring, cut back the top of the rootstock to just above the bud, which will then grow out during the following spring.

4 Select a plant that has suitable budding material. Cut off a vigorous stem.

5 Remove the leaves but retain ^ in of each leaf-stalk on the stem.

6 Cut shallowly into the stem about 5 in below a mature bud.

10 Tie with polythene tape, leaving the bud and leafstalk exposed. Label clearly.

11 Remove the tape once the bud has united with the rootstock.

12 Cut back the top of the rootstock in late winter/ early spring.

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