Fruit tree grafting course

Saturday 27 July 2019
The course runs from 10am to 5pm in Stanmer Park, Brighton.

Learn how to graft fruit trees using the technique of "chip budding" on this one-day practical course.

What will the Fruit tree grafting course cover?

The course will encourage participants to develop practical skills in the propagation of fruit trees such as apple, pear, plum and cherry. We will discuss the commercial production of fruit trees and how fruit trees can be propagated on a smaller scale in the garden. Experience will be gained in the use of a grafting knife, concentrating on the technique of "chip budding" to graft an apple variety onto a rootstock. This type of grafting is carried out between late July and the end of August; participants are encouraged to put aside some time to practice after the course.

VideoWatch an introduction to our fruit tree grafting technique.

Background information will be provided on the selection and purchase of rootstocks, collection of propagating material and growing on of the trees. Details will also be given about the availability of all the materials used during the day.

The techniques learned can also be applied to a wide variety of ornamental trees including cultivars of crab apple, flowering cherry, mountain ash, whitebeam, ash and maple.

These skills are useful to anyone who wishes to propagate fruit and ornamental trees commercially, or on a smaller scale in the garden.

The course will also cover the maintenance and sharpening of grafting knives. We will be using very sharp knives which should be handled with great care. A first aider will be available to administer plasters should the need arise.

Who is the Fruit tree grafting course for?

The course will be of interest to gardeners and horticulturalists as well as the less experienced. No prior knowledge of grafting is needed. This course is open to anyone aged 16 or over.

The techniques taught are not strenuous; however, much of the work is done bending over or crouched down. You must be willing to spend most of the duration of the course out of doors. However, if there is heavy rain, we will be able to practice grafting under cover.

Learning methods and outcomes

The course will start with a discussion on the techniques used in grafting fruit trees, while the majority of the course will be devoted to gaining practical experience with guidance from the tutor. There will be plenty of material to practice and gain confidence with, before having the opportunity to make several grafts onto rootstocks.

By the end of the course, participants will have the practical skills necessary to propagate fruit trees and a variety of ornamental trees. Participants who complete the entire course will receive a certificate, which will be sent via email after the course.

Information sheets will be provided on the day.

What does the Fruit tree grafting course lead on to?

This short specialist course is not accredited and does not lead directly to any other qualification, but would be useful to people working in horticulture or those who wish to widen their propagating skills.

Course tutor

Tuition will by provided by Peter May, a horticulturalist who has propagated a wide range of fruit and ornamental trees. He is jointly responsible for the management of several community orchards and runs regular courses for Brighton Permaculture Trust and Plumpton Agricultural College on a range of orchard skills. He is co-author of Apples & Orchards in Sussex and is particularly interested in growing varieties of apples which have a close connection to the county of Sussex.


Stanmer Park (near University of Sussex)
South East England

Get directions to Stanmer Park.

If you intend to book accommodation, please check availability before booking a place, as accommodation in Brighton can be hard to find, especially over the summer months.

Get details on local accommodation and Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.

Grafting knives

We would recommend that everyone who attends the grafting course has their own specialist grafting knife. We have a limited number of knives that can be used on the day, but it is always preferable to bring your own.

The best quality grafting knives are made by TINA of Germany. The knife blades are made from a high quality steel which can be sharpened to a good edge. The knives are used commercially in the horticulture industry and are the best available. TINA chip budding knives can be ordered online from Quality Garden Tools or by phoning 0800 7832202. Model 640/10 is recommended at a cost of £82.04 plus postage.

Victorinox also make a practical chip budding knife. These are cheaper and are not such high quality. Victorinox General Purpose Garden Knife (ref 39050, price £10.39 plus postage) can be obtained by ordering online from Quality Garden Tools or by phoning 0800 7832202.

A good quality, fine wetstone is also essential for knife sharpening.  The Tina 940 Extra Fine Sharpening Stone is recommended as it has one surface for sharpening curved blades and one surface for straight blades.  Tina 940 Extra Fine Sharpening Stone (£38.40 plus postage) can be obtained by ordering online from Quality Garden Tools or by phoning 0800 7832202.

Recommended reading

These books are recommended but it is not necessary for those attending to have bought them or read them.


Fees include tuition, refreshments and information sheets.

  • £165 - Sponsored/organisation rate
  • £165 - Individual income more than 25k/yr
  • £132.50 - Individual income 18-25k/yr
  • £100 - Individual income less than 18k/yr
  • £33.75 - Individual, concessionary rate (check your eligibility)*

*Concessionary places are limited. If places are not available check back two weeks before the course/event as more may be available then.

We endeavour to make our courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of these and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.

See the cancellations and refunds policy.

Booking the Fruit tree grafting course

Booking is essential, as most of our courses/events are fully booked weeks in advance. However, if places are still available, then bookings can be made until midday the day before the course/event. A place is not secured until we have received the requested payment.

Please do not book unless you are able to pay for your place.

Paying for your place

Please read this section carefully.

When you complete the booking process, you will receive a confirmation email from us. If you haven't received that email within the next few hours, please contact us immediately, as this email contains vital information regarding your booking.

You can pay when you book your place using a credit/debit card or PayPal, or you can tick the 'Pay later' box (in the Event Fee section), which gives you the option to pay by BACS or send us a cheque after you have booked. If you choose to pay later, you will have 7 days to pay for your place. Bookings that remain unpaid on our system for longer than that will expire. You will receive notification of this expiration by email. If you then decide you want to come, you will need to contact us to see if there is a still a place available for you.

If you are booking within two weeks of the course, or the course is nearly full, you will not have the option to pay later. Instead, you will need to pay immediately at the point of booking using a credit card or PayPal.

Be certain that you understand ALL the information on this page, then:


Book the 27 July 2019 course

Contact us

For further information or if you have problems with your registration, please contact us.

  • Helen
    "There was a good mix of people and each of us were treated as bringing something valid to the course, it was great learning from others and the tutors knowledge was wonderful."


  • Kirsty
    "The course structure was nicely planned out and integrated theory and practical work in a variety of different locations ie the orchards and the plot."

    Kirsty Sloman

  • Karoline
    "Peter May and Stephan Gehrels were absolutely terrific. Peter's calm and generous teaching style was the perfect learning platform. His knowledge is spectacular."


  • Pete
    "Really well put together...Slow pace, plenty of time to practice and talk, is the way to do it."

    Pete Brown

  • Kenneth
    "Good relaxed teaching style."

    Kenneth Martin