Moving next year, want to take plums and Meyers with us

gourdo1May 31, 2013

Complete newbie here, so go easy on me...

Our family plans to move in about a year's time to a nearby neighborhood in the SF Bay Area. Our current house has a great Meyer lemon and plum tree that we'd love to transplant to our new home when the time comes.

If I were to plant the seeds from each tree, I'm led to believe that I could be waiting many years for fruit and that the trees may grow too high to be accessible in our new backyard.

So... I was thinking of buying some commercially grown fruit this year, planting the seeds in a large growing pot and using the resulting plant as root stock (assuming the commercially grown fruit would produce good roots). Then I'd graft branches from our current trees onto them so that by the time we move in a year or so, the small grafted trees would hopefully be ready to plant in the ground permanently.

My question is first of all, is this a feasible plan and if so, at what point would I want to graft the branches onto the root stock?

Thanks,
Gordo

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canadianplant

Well, its a bit tricky growing fruit from seeds - Ill try not to rant your eyes off :P

A good potion of citrus should/will grow very similar to the parent. THe exception ive read is grape fruit. I dont know how close Meyer will be because it isnt a real lemon, it is a type of orange crossed with a lemon. The good thing is, meyer lemon is polyembryonic, which means the seed has multiple "plants".

As for the plu, the only plums ive read that should come close to the parent when grown from seed are some green/yellow plums (these are the only plum seeds ive actually got to grow from seed).

IF you do choose to grow the lemon from seed, keep the seed moist, keep the seed clean, and sow in the top 1/4 inch of moist potting soil. Keep it warm.

The plums are a bit diferent. Plums need cold stratification. Clean the seeds well, and soak them for a week, changing the water daily. Sow them in moist potting soil about half an inch down ( try to plant them one seed deep). Put them in the fridge for 6 weeks - 3 months, take them out in spring and expose them to cool conditions. They grow very quick.

Another thing is, lemons take 5 - 10 years to fruit from seed, plums are closer to 5 years.

Lastly - What you may want to do, is find some cheap seedling rootstock that is roughly a year old, and graft some branches of the lemon on trifolata root stock, and graft the plum to some root stock as well. This can be done using saddle grafts in spring or bud grats in summer. This will garuntee that you get those exact trees, and both should flower in 2 - 3 years!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 7:59AM
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murkwell

If you know that it is a Meyer lemon the simplest thing to do would be to just buy another Meyer lemon tree from a reputable nursery and it should be the same.

For the plum, you can buy a rootstock of known characteristics like St. Julian A for a few dollars. You can bench graft dormant scions onto the rootstock in late winter or you can plant the rootstock, let it grow, and graft it at some time in the future.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 8:49AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I agree with murky. Your best bet is to simply buy a new (grafted) Improved Meyer lemon tree, they're not expensive, and you'll get a tree that will establish itself quickly and fruit right away. If you're opposed to that, then take a cutting and start from a cutting (Meyer lemons are one of the few citrus trees that are often commercially started from cuttings). You can always graft a dormant plum scion onto rootstock. You can order rootstock from Raintree Nursery.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 9:42AM
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JoppaRich(7b)

Meyer doesn't come true to seed. It's mono-embryonic. If you plant Meyer seeds, you'll get something, but it won't be very close to a meyer lemon.

It'll also most likely take 10+ years to get fruit.

you'd be much better off taking a cutting of a meyer tree and growing that. Meyer grows pretty well from cuttings (frankly, there's probably more Meyer cuttings being sold than grafted meyers).

If you're planning on planting seed just as rootstock, there are a whole lot better options than using commercial fruit. Get some of the true rootstock varieties.

I see you're in CA... make sure everything you're doing is legal. There are parts of CA under quarantine now I believe.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 10:33AM
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johnmerr(11)

I would advise against the rooted cutting for your Meyer, if you intend to plant it in the ground. Meyer roots are not very vigorous and not very resistant to a lot of soil borne problems. If it were me, I would buy a 2-3 year old Meyer from Four Winds; if you check their website, you might also find that they sell rootstock trees, if you want to graft your own... that is especially valid, if you particularly like the genetics of your Meyer that you have now... and unlike the trees I produce, they are not all genetically identical.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 5:56PM
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tim45z10

Have you researched to verify these trees will prosper in their new home?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 8:37PM
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