Are there citrus that does well on its own roots?

thisisme(az9b)January 3, 2010

I have a couple trees that really only do well when grafted to another rootstock. Are their any good fresh eating citrus varieties that grow well and healthy on their own roots that are easy to propagate?

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Are you asking in reference to in-ground or containerized plants..?


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 2:13PM
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Hi Mike, in ground or in container just so long as you say which is which along with any specific planting requirements.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 2:57PM
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The reason why I ask is because I am familiar with growing in containers, and do not have enough authority or experience to be able to help you with in-ground. The only ones that I grow in my yard in the tropics are on their own roots, and some do great, others do not. My grapefruit and certain oranges do ok.. I never tried a citrus on different root stock in ground there.

There are some here who are pros, experts at it, a couple in particular who would be able to help you. I think of rhizzo right off the bat whom I miss around here, fruitnut, tsmith, and a few others! I think certain root stock is need to avoid nemetodes destruction and disease in ground? Some need to be hardy for in-ground if my memory from past posts is correct..

I would like to know too for plantings I would like to do when I head to the Carribeans for my yard.

As for pot culture, I grow both and both grow remarkable...I think this was brought up in a post once before too, and I can not remember..Sorry.

But through my experience, both grafted and those on their own roots are doing amazing!

Hope to see what someone has to say about in-ground...


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 4:55PM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Dr. Malcolm Manners coulod help you....but I know Meyer Lemons do great grown from their own seeds...and many types of grapefruits.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 10:35PM
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Wilmington, while it's true that 'Meyer' lemon seeds grow easily, they won't generally end up being 'Meyer', since it has a very low level of nucellar embryony -- nearly every seedling is sexually produced, and therefore genetically different from 'Meyer'. That's why it was so long before we had so-called 'Improved Meyer'; unlike so many other varieties that were easily rid of tristeza virus by just growing some seeds, 'Meyer' seedlings didn't come true to type.

And Mike, I suppose one always has to have some caveats with any recommendation. The reason for grafting onto a rootstock is that the rootstock gives you something you need or want, that the own-root plant would not.

So for example, sweet oranges on their own roots are tremendously cold-hardy and produce very high quality fruit. But their root systems are shallow, necessitating frequent irrigation, and they are (except for 'Valencia') highly susceptible to phytophthora foot rot.

Indeed, most varieties will be at least somewhat susceptible to foot rot, which is the major reason for the use of rootstocks in Florida and many other areas, where that disease is prevalent.

Grapefruit are ok on their own roots, but you can make a richer, sweeter flavored fruit with a rootstock. Also, they are not very cold-hardy on their own roots.

Some mandarins are good on their own roots. In Florida, 'Murcott' is sometimes grown that way, even from seed. With mandarins, the major reason for grafting is likely to improve fruit size and/or overall yield. 'Dancy' is notorious for making tiny fruit unless you graft it to a vigorous rootstock.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 11:15PM
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Thankyou for for sharing your expertise here, and in satisfying my curiousity about the same question..


    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 4:29PM
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wilmington_islander(9A/Sunset 28)

Dr. Manners:

So good to see/hear from you on here.....and ordinarily i would defer to the "Dr." BUT, I have grown several "true" meyer lemons from seed....and they bore in as little as four years...I will admit, however, that one of the meyer lemons turned out to be a true lemon of some sort with the classic lemon shape and fruited at 4 years as well....and died at 26 degrees which the other young meyers shook off with ease. And grapefruit, at least in my are and points further north like Charleston, SC, seem to indeed have extra cold hardiness imparted to them....most of these trees have seen the upper teens. ANd I'd put my grapefruit up against just about anybody's for flavor....better than any in California, equal to Texas grown....but alas, inferior to Indian River as my rind is a wee bit thicker.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 9:35PM
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Wilmington, I'd not be surprised if 'Meyer' seedlings were quite similar to the parent, especially if self-pollinated. But they should virtually all (perhaps absolutely all??) be sexually produced, not nucellar in origin, so should have some genetic variation. Much like one sees among purebred dogs -- very similar, but not quite clones.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 8:04PM
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Improved Meyer Lemons are very easy to root cuttings, which of course would be a clone of the parent, and grow fine on their own roots in ground or in pots.

Key limes also grow well on their own roots, though I have only done so in pots.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 8:52PM
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Thank you everyone for your feedback.

john how do you root those cuttings?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 2:16AM
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I take about a 10 inch cutting, clip off all the leaves except for 2-3 on top, and place it deep in a pot (only 3-4 inches of the cutting visible). I use about 50% pine bark and 50% potting soil. I water it lightly to keep the potting medium moist but not soaked, and I place the pot outside in the bright shade (or morning sun). According to climate, this of course should be done in spring or summer. It works every time for me.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:47PM
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Thank you john that is exactly what I wanted to know. I have some young fast growing trees that want to be bushes. I want to train them to be trees so I am always tossing cuttings. I figure why not make some more trees. I will either get fruit from them someday or trade them or give them away. Anything is better than tossing them away.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 2:00PM
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I know for a fact the Australian lime's are grown on their own roots. When I purchased a Australian Finger Lime from Four Winds Citrus Growers (it came on its own rootstock). This is probably due to the fact that the rootstock already has high disease resistance and root rot resistance.

I am now working on making new plants of it from cuttings. I am still trying to track down the other varieties of Australian limes especially the Desert Lime.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 4:00PM
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Are there citrus that can stay in the ground in cold weather? That was kind of a surprise to me. I am in the Pacific Northwest. Our winter temps will go down to 20 degrees a couple of times in the winter and, occasionally even lower, but so far never below 10 degrees. I always bring the plants, which are potted, inside in the winter, but that mystery tangerine I posted about is 4+ ft. high and wanted to be bigger until I clipped him off. It is getting kind of big to move. If there are varieties that are cold hardy enough and can stand the wet winter weather, I would try them.

Mona Everett

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 9:55PM
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I live in Central Valley, CA so I don't experience true freezes. But it's 8a,8b,9a range where our freezes are 25'ish a couple times in winter.

There are varieties of citrus that can stand colder weather -- but what is usually discussed is the upper foliage and fruit. Any of them in typically sized containers are going to suffer root loss if unprotected below 30F weather, which can severely compound the problem if even lower. Unless you are burying the entire pot in-ground (or creating a giant mulch mound around it), it is best to continue your practice with relocating the citrus of the extreme cold.

If you are asking about in-ground plantings, the satsuma mandarin is supposed to be very cold hardy, so are kumquats, and many lemons will regrow the canopy if the rootstock was protected adequately (much easier than protecting the entire tree) during rare freezes.

However, you might visit this link to check out his opinions about cold hardy citrus, esp from WA folks asking about it. He thinks it's a myth.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cold hardy Citrus a Myth?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 5:46PM
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