Topwork graft - above or below old graft line?

serge94501July 18, 2014

I have 8 tiny Walmart citrus trees (mandarins, all) and my plan is to graft more desirable scions on top. Is it better to cut below the original graft line and just topwork the rootstock or to work with the originally grafted material (andarin wood) or does it not make a difference?

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You can do it either way; if you leave some of the mandarin and graft to that, the mandarin part then becomes what is known as an internode (you can google that) The problem with internodes is you now have three varieties, namely the rootstock, the internode, and finally your preferred variety; and the odds are that they will not all grow at the same rate, leaving you with a somewhat ungainly plant.
Sometimes growers will intentionally graft in an internode, in cases where the desired scion is not compatible with the desired rootstock.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 5:00PM
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Thank you, John. I think I will try a couple of each and see how it goes. I have done about 10 grafts (some with help, some alone) and so far it looks like only 1 took - my least interesting one. Oh well.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:00PM
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With citrus the most success is with T-budding; it is almost foolproof, even I can get more than 50% success.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:10PM
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Do you do multiple grafts on a tree/branch to hedge your bet? I have to say i am a little bummed at my success rate so far.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 8:56AM
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Hi Serge,

Maybe too late to be of help, but my suggestion would be to graft above the original graft union. One reason is that it gives you room to try again if your graft dies. The other reason is that it gives you more room to try multiple grafts. If you do not want the variety above the original graft union, just pinch off the suckers; you will have to do that with the rootstock anyway.

Best regards,

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:52PM
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Thanks, Dan! That's what I ended up doing. I hope I didn't roast the grafts in the hot weather we had :S I will unwrap and check in 2 more weeks.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 1:17AM
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