How do I harvest budwood?
In late summer (usually around August for us*), locate the current year’s growth on your tree. It will generally be thinner, smoother, and glossier than older growth. Cut this off the tree and cut off the youngest end, the buds here will likely be smaller and less plump since they have not matured yet and will not be as successful for chip budding. Remove the leaves but leave the stems so you have a ‘handle’ with which you can hold the hold when working with it later. Bundle the budwood (we use masking tape) and label immediately.
*Look for a slight browning of the buds under the leaf stem. Soft, green tissue is immature. For grafting we want hardened off material with a solid heartwood core, brown bark, and bit of brown to the buds we use. Some varieties are more tricky than others; Muscadet de Dieppe for example can feel hard but look very green, and that's just the nature of it! If in doubt, give the tree another week or so until you are sure the budwood is 'ripe'. But keep in mind, the trees need 15-20 days to nicely callous with warm weather, so be careful leaving it too late in the season. We like to wrap up around early-mid September, though ideally we keep it all in August, in a typical year (weather dependent).
Store the budwood in a cooler and use it for grafting within 24h. Unlike scionwood which can be stored dormant in the fridge for months, budwood quickly dries out and is no longer viable.