Grafting fruit and nut trees is a great way to introduce new plants to your land. Macadamia trees, though one of the more challenging trees to introduce, can be grafted too. So, if you're wondering how to graft macadamia nut trees, don't go anywhere! We've researched the topic and have a method for you to try.
To graft macadamia nut trees, follow the steps below:
- Choose and grow your rootstock
- Select your scion from your preferred macadamia tree
- Prepare your scion for grafting with a grafting knife
- Make a cut into the rootstock for the scion
- Bind the two together with a rubber strip or grafting tie
- Wrap the entire graft with parafilm grafting tape
- Allow it time to grow before planting in the ground
Those are the basic steps to graft a macadamia tree, but keep reading as we elaborate on each one further. We'll also answer some other questions you might have about macadamia trees and grafting and growing them.
7 Steps To Graft Macadamia Nut Trees
We mentioned earlier that grafting macadamia nut trees might be harder than grafting other trees, especially if you're a beginner. This is because the wood is harder. However, hopefully, you'll feel more confident in what is required from reading this article and following the steps below.
Step 1: Choose and Grow Your Rootstock
If you're familiar with grafting, you know you need rootstock for grafting your scion to. Rootstock is essentially the base of your plant. You can't choose any old rootstock for grafting. It needs to be closely related to the tree that you want to grow. For macadamia, H2 and Beaumont are the most common types of rootstock used for grafting, but there are lots of choices.
You can purchase rootstock or choose to grow it yourself. If you choose to grow rootstock from a seed, it'll take about a year for your rootstock to be big enough for grafting. You need to make sure the rootstock and scion are both from smooth shell macadamia or rough shell macadamia when it comes to macadamia trees. You can't combine a smooth shell with a rough shell macadamia.
Step 2: Selecting Your Scion
The scion is the shoot of the plant you want to grow. You will need a mature macadamia tree to obtain a scion from. Your scion should be from a tree that produces the kind of macadamia nuts you want to grow. This ensures the quality of the macadamia nuts.
You will need to girdle or ring bark a branch in order to achieve a scion that you can successfully graft to your rootstock. Girdling a branch allows carbohydrates or sugars to build up, which will help maximize fruit yield.
Once you've girdled your branch, you will need to leave it for at least six weeks to six months before removing it for grafting.
Step 3: Prepare Your Scion For Grafting
Once you have the two main components for grafting, it's time to begin the actual procedure. Take your scion and use a grafting knife to shape the scion.
Near the base of the lowest bud, make two sharp cuts downward on each side. You will create a wedge shape revealing the cambium layer. The cambium layer is a tissue layer that is the main growth tissue for lots of plants. The main goal when grafting trees is to make sure the cambium layer of the scion and the rootstalk are touching as much as possible.
Step 4: Make A Cut In Your Rootstock
Now it's time to prepare your rootstock for grafting. In order to create as much contact as possible between the cambium layer of the scion and rootstock, it's important to find a part of your rootstock that measures about the same as your scion in diameter.
Using the grafting knife again, cut into your rootstock. Rock your grafting knife back and forth to cut into the rootstock. The cut should be about one inch deep. Try not to split the rootstock, but you can cut that area off and try again if you do.
Step 5: Bind The Scion And Rootstock Together
Insert the scion into the rootstock. Wrap it tightly using a rubber strip or grafting tie. Make sure the cambium are in contact with each other as much as possible and secure the graft in place with the tie.
Step 6: Wrap The Graft With Grafting Tape
Cover the graft you just bound with a layer of grafting tape or parafilm. Begin just below the graft and wrap the entire scion. Wrapping your scion will help protect it and help maintain water.
Step 7: Allow Your Plant To Grow Before Planting In The Ground
Keep your plant in its container for about a year to give it time to grow. After this time, it should be ready to plant in the ground.
Do macadamia nut trees need to be grafted?
Grafting can be tricky, so if you're feeling a little intimidated, you may be wondering if it's your only way to introduce macadamia trees to your land. They do not have to be grafted. However, while they don't have to be grafted and can be planted by seed, macadamia do best when propagated or grafted. Grafting macadamia trees ensures the quality of the nuts produced. Grafting macadamia trees will also give you results faster than if you were to grow the tree from seed.
How long does grafted macadamia take to mature?
You can expect to see nuts on your macadamia tree in about three to four years after grafting. In contrast, macadamia trees grown from seeds can take up to ten years to mature. So while it might seem like waiting three to four years for results is a long time, grafting a macadamia is the quickest way to produce fruit.
Can you grow macadamias from cuttings?
You can also grow macadamia trees by using cuttings from other macadamia trees. Trees grown from cuttings take about four to six years to mature, so they might take a little longer than trees grown from grafting.
Here's a short YouTube video on how to grow macadamia from cuttings.
Many plants can be propagated. To read about another plant that can be propagated, check out our other blog post here: "How To Propagate An Areca Palm [2 Viable Methods!]"
Are macadamia nut trees self-pollinating?
Some trees require another tree nearby in order to cross-pollinate. However, some trees are self-pollinating, which means they can be grown by themselves. So what's the deal with macadamia nut trees?
Macadamia nut trees are self-pollinating, which means they do not need another tree in order to produce fruit. However, you might see an increase in fruit yield if you do have other trees nearby to cross-pollinate.
Can you transplant macadamia trees?
If you've taken the time to grow a macadamia tree and you don't want to leave it behind when you move house, you may be wondering if you can transplant it or whether you'll have to grow another.
Fortunately, you can transplant macadamia nut trees to a new location, but if you don't do it correctly, it can cause your tree some stress. Make sure to keep the roots covered in dirt and moist the entire time you transplant the tree. It's best to do this by placing it in a large bucket with as much of the roots intact as you can.
Hopefully, our article has given you some insight into how to graft a macadamia tree. While it might seem like an intimidating task, the results of your hard work could benefit your family and land for years to come. Good Luck!