A cleft graft is one of the grafts used for topworking new cultivars on existing trees.

It is used for relatively small branches and done when the stock is dormant and cracks easily.

Photo identifying an example of cleft grafting in a field of trees.

Two scions are inserted on either side of the branch and the cambium lined up along the outer edge.

When the tool is released, the pressure of the closure holds the scions in place.

Once the graft takes, only one of the scions will be retained.

Sometimes the other scion is left for a while as a nurse branch

Photo showing an example of a cleft graft.

Photo showing a kiwi cleft graft with two scions.

Photo showing a kiwi cleft graft with two scions.

Kiwi is an exception where two vines are left per graft.

Illustration showing the preparation of rootstock in two steps. In step one the stub is split several cm (in.) using a wedge. In step two a mallot is used to drive the wedge into the stub. A smooth straight grained section should be used so the split will be even.

Close up photo showing a wedge splitting a stub.

Photo of a wedge being used to split the top of a stub.

Top view photo of a completed scion with cuts on both sides to form a wedge.

Illustration showing how to prepare a scion in two steps. In step one the scion is made by cutting a long, gradual tapering wedge. In step two the outside edge of the wedge should be slightly thicker than the inside.

Side view photo of a completed scion with cuts on both sides to form a wedge.

Illustration showing the insertion of the scions into the rootstock in two steps. In the first step the split in the stock is held open by a wedge for insertion of the scions. In the second step two scions are inserted in a stub, one at each end of the split. The scions must be carefully placed so the cambium layers match.

Photo of a split being held open with a wedge so that a scion can be inserted.

Illustration showing after the scions are properly placed, the wedge is withdrawn. The entire union, including the tips of the scions, is then thoroughly covered with grafting wax.

Photo of a completed cleft graft.

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