Grafting onto an established rootstock

spontanteousgardenerMarch 23, 2014

Could I graft some dekopon onto an established rootstock, say a piece on each side of the trunk?
Here are the details:
I managed to get about five Sumo/Dekopon seedlings started last spring. I believe four clones and one zygote, since it is only about 4 inches tall, while the others are about 16 inches tall now. One of them even has a fruit forming.
I also have/had a Tahoe Gold mandarin that froze back to the root stock this past winter. The top is dead but the root stock is sending up nice new growth. It's about 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter. I don't know what type the rootstock is. I believe the plant was supposed to be a semi dwarf. I got it from Capital Nursery a couple years ago before they went out of business and I'm not sure where they got their stock. It appears to be a pretty hardy stock since it survived the winter while the top died back.
So, would it be to my advantage to try to graft onto this stock since it is already established?

Thanx a bunch

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

You certainly can try, spontaneous. I have not top worked a citrus tree, only grafted stone fruit, which is much easier, but you can try to top work your Tahoe Gold and see if your grafts take.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:54AM
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spontaneousgardener(Sacramento, Ca)

OK, so it may be possible to do this, but is there any advantage to doing this? I guess what I am really trying to do is find out if there is any way to speed up the process of getting these seedlings to maturity. I had not realized until recently that the plant you graft onto a rootstock must be an adult bearing plant in order for it to be able to produce fruit in a couple of years after the graft.
So is there no way to "trick" a citrus seedling into thinking it is of bearing age and speed up the process?
Here is a hope. I have a 1/2 inch fruit on one of the plants. Maybe it's "special".
Here is a picture of the little guys. I had a bit if a problem last fall with leaf miner, but they are taking off again now.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 11:46AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

The advantage is your rootstock will be less susceptible to soil issues (water, pathogens), and may promote some increased precociousness in getting your tree to maturity, but most of that is determined by your scion (cultivar) reaching a mature node count. That count is different for every citrus cultivar, and I don't have any resources that delineate what the particular node count is. So, time is required to get a citrus tree to maturity in order to produce. Your seedlings look great, and I probably would give grafting a try if you can sacrifice one branch. Personally, I wouldn't sacrifice an entire tree. Citrus grafting is a bit tricky and in the beginning, you may have a low success rate. But, if you can spare a branch and do some slip grafting, then it might be worth a try. There are some extremely good examples of how to top work graft a citrus tree on the Citrus Grower's Forum you can check out (you'll need to join, first.)

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus Grower's Forum

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:03PM
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spontaneousgardener(Sacramento, Ca)

I actually just joined the Citrus Growers forum but apparently it's been a month or so since any new members have been accepted, so I am in wait mode for the time being.
If I do attempt to graft onto the root stock I was considering an approach graft in order to try to keep the branch attached its root supply until healing took place.
I've read a lot of info regarding nucellar citrus reproduction and it appears there are some good benefits to that type of reproduction. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the age of the parent plant is passed onto the seedlings as happens with a budding or graft, even though they are genetic clones of the mother plant.
I'm still hoping my plants are just "special" little nucellar babies. LOL

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 1:49PM
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