Grafted verses cuttings in container question?

meyermike_1micha(5)September 8, 2011

Which is better for container culture?

I ask because I have run across a few trees in which the 'TOP' growth will literally not do a thing while the root stock wants to keep pushing new growth! This can be quite a challange to many I know including myself.

I myself have actually grown many citrus from mature cuttings that grow very well, with no such issue.

I have a few Lemon Meyers on their own roots and they are all performing very well.

Thanks in advance


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The problem with growing cuttings is the root is usually not so strong or resistant as the grafting rootstock; of course if you take care of them like Mike, what difference does it make.

I have had trees that are resistant to growth, with the root continuing to make shoots; it is usually something like a Verticillium that gets in the small trunk and prevents nutrients from reaching the top. My solution is replace the tree; but my concept of trees....ANY trees is that it is a life commitment; so it's best to start with a good one.... kinda like buttoning your shirt... if you get the first button wrong, it doesn't matter how careful you are after that.

BTW I have also grown Meyers from seed... you eventually get a Meyer; but it may take 5 or 6 years to get a fruit... more like 10+ in US climates.. and, like rooted cuttings, the root is usually not so strong.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 5:00PM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

Is it possible that the graft hasnt taken well? I wondered about this when I got 2 trees recently and one has a really clean looking graft and the other looks like it could split at any minute.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 8:18AM
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Thanks John and Nick!

Here is the thing.

I have a Calamondin that has not grown at all since I have recieved it. It seems to want to by giving off blossoms in the spring and seems to want to do it again.
But what I can tell is that the trunk BELOW the graft line wants to EXPLODE with growth and I can not stop it.
Every week for the past few weeks I have had to pinch off branches at the base and at one point when I could not reach that tree, it grew a branch a foot long with beautiful dark green leaves and thorns while the top does nothing.
I was told by the seller to cover the trunk and it would discourage any further growth, but it did nothing. It is determined to grow back.

So I was wondering if no matter what you do, if there is the possibility of bad grafts?
If you have had this issue too Nick, it makes me wonder just how many bad grafted trees there are out there?

I use to worry about certain root stocks having a short life span, now this. I am almost feeling like I should try a Calamondin mature cutting in a pot that is already in bloom.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 8:46AM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

I've not got this problem Mike and the 2 trees I have arnt Citrus but I do suspect one of the grafts as looking more than a bit dodgy and it led me to wonder just how well some grafts take.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:38AM
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Well, it ain't always the graft; as an example I have two young cinnamon trees at my lemon farm... they are not grafted... one is developing beautifully; and the one beside it has the problem we are discussing here... growth from the root, but not from the top.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:46PM
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Hey John

I will bet your weather must be beautiful about now. You know, I am beginning to think this is a very difficult question for most to answer here.

I thought there were many more knowlegable people here who know about grafted trees here.

Thanks for your help and that of Nicks thus far.

Happyy Friday to you both.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 2:57PM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

Sorry to ask but is growth from the root a problem on ungrafted trees? I can see the reason for it being a problem when te rootstock is taking over but when the rootstock is the same as the main plant, what's the problem with letting it grow?


    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 4:45AM
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Well, for one, the tree is 2 years old and 6 feet tall; I don't really want to start over from the root...if it doesn't get better I will just replace it with another 2 year old tree.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 6:12PM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

So I assume your growing them commercially, which in that case is a fair enough point.

Personally I like the odd ball plants I see it as a chance to learn just out of interest how tall is it expected to be at that age? Is Cinnamon the variety of lemon, or are they actually the cinnamon trees you harvest for the bark?


    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 3:25AM
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Hey John!

I have a feeling it is a true Cinnamon tree. If that is the case, since I have never ever had fresh cinnamon, might send you a check for a good amount money and grab a bit from you! I LOVE cinnamon, especially in oatmeal.
It is cool here this am. It is 54 degrees already and my citrus seem to like it. I have to start planning to bring them in soon since this colder air is moving in faster than usual. When Hurricane Irene blew in and out, I think it took summer along with it!

Hey Nick: How is your tree doing thus far? I have managed to stop the rootstock growth on my tree, with no help of any citrus gurus here, but keeping my fingers

Have a great day to both of you


    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 8:36AM
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madferret(UK 8b-9a)

Hi Mike. Yeah it's fine, almost an instant improvement in fact wether it was soil related, root or light I'm not sure except even the new growth has coloured up nicely. It's pot is covered and its in the garden as were experiencing some rain. Well torrential downpours actually. Lol

The temp is dropping to 14C and less so I might bring it in for a few days.

I've removed a lot of the blooms leaving just 1 or 2 to the branch and some have set.

I also love cinnamon but I seriously doubt I could get that to grow.

Hope your well

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:47AM
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Yup, my cinnamon trees are the real deal; in addition to my 3,000 Meyer lemons, I am making my little farm into a virtual arboretum; but I have the advantage of Guatemala weather. My farm is at 500 ft elev. so it is quite warm; but here in the Capital city and in Antigua also are called City of Eternal Springtime. You have to go out every morning with a big stick and beat your plants to keep them under control!

I's Presidential election day here in Guatemala.

Regarding the citrus growth from below the graft and not on the top... one thing you can do is paint the trunk with white latex paint... the cheapest one you can buy and dilute it one to one with water; it not only inhibits suckering but also protects the trunk from sunburn when the tree is small.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 11:29AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Mike, sorry I hadn't seen this question earlier! Your question on understock is a good one.

As far as container culture goes, whether a plant has been grafted or not makes no difference OTHER than the fact that those trees grafted onto "Flying Dragon" (Poncirus trifoliata "Flying Dragon') will be considerably dwarfed. FD also bequeaths such characteristics as cold hardiness and resistance to certain fungal and viral disorders.

As most of us know, however, FD is a very vigorous root stock and we have to keep up with those suckers.

It may not be widely known (or maybe it IS) that the root stock selection is very important for those who grow citrus professionally. Each understock variety is known for very unique attributes...some are dwarfing, some highly disease resistant to an assortment of soil borne diseases, some impart stronger or weaker flavor, cold hardiness, pH tolerance, and on and on. A grower will select stock that fits his/her environment. The scion stock is selected for the market. The root stock is selected for the longevity of the tree.

Understock varieties are almost always VERY vigorous growers. No surprise there, right? Since they exhibit pretty aggressive growth at times, it's easy to see how they are capable of outpacing the scion growth, and even diverting essential carbon resources from the top foliage and fruit bearing variety to the growth from the understock.

Grafting is not a perfect science/technique. One of the members of the partnership may be diseased or weak, for example. Graft unions may not 'take' properly. All I can recommend for you and others who grow happy, healthy citrus in containers is to be vigilant about removing the growth from the understock as soon as you see it.

Just about all fruit trees are grafted onto specially selected root stock, by the way, and for much of the same reasons. Other varieties of fruit, however, are largely produced as clones by necessity, and can't be grown reliably from seed. Most citrus produces true from seed.

I know that all of this doesn't help you one single bit, but just know that you're going about all you can do.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 1:26PM
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Hi Rhizo!

I had one moment today to hop on this forum and send you a HUGE thanks!

You have always been there for my trees and I can depend on you most times for accurate, proffesional help, along with expertise and willingness to share. You nailed it for me.

Thanks again for your time and hoping you are well.


    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 4:18PM
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