The lemon tree can be propagated by seed, cuttings or crown grafting. This last method is not the easiest, but it is the one that offers the best chance of success!
Do You Have To Graft A Lemon To Have Lemons?
Not necessarily but, like other fruit trees, lemon is often grafted to obtain lemons identical to the variety to be propagated and to improve the amount of fruiting.
The tree in production then consists of a rhizome into which a graft has been implanted.
Supplying nutrients from the root system of the substrate, the bark develops its branches, its flowers and then produces its fruits.
To successfully graft the lemon tree, it is important to respect these 2 elements:
- You must choose a rhizome that will facilitate recovery.
- The graft must be planted firmly in the rootstock, in contact with the rootstock of the supporting tree.
Which Lemon Root Should I Choose?
Citrus volkameriana (Citrus limonia) is the best lemon rootstock.
It has defects and properties:
- Although not very hardy, it improves the amount of flowering and fruiting of the variety it carries.
- Afraid of excessive water in winter.
- But it is resistant to dry diseases and phytophthora, two fungi that spread throughout the tree through the circulation of sap and cause sudden drying, for no apparent reason.
Other subjects can also be used: bitter orange, sweet lime from Palestine, orange (Citrus sinensis). In cool areas, Poncirus trifoliata is interesting but is an extremely spiny citrus.
When to Transplant a Lemon Tree?
Two periods are favorable.
Usually, we do the citrus crown transplant at the end of summer (September), when the juice is coming down from the tree. Then we talk about a dormant eye graft because the implanted eye waits until the following spring to break out, if it manages to survive the winter without freezing.
crown lemon grafting can also be done in early spring (March to mid-April). Then we talk about a growing eye graft, because the eye, fed by the ascending sap, grows in the following weeks and months. So the result is immediately visible.
As a general rule, transplanting in late summer gives better results and the growing branch is more vigorous.
The Stages of Patch Inoculation
- First, the graft must be done on a one-year-old subject. To obtain it, it is possible to sow lemon seeds last year. The best plants are then selected and transferred to individual pots during the fall.
- To prepare the substrate, simply cut the lowest 3 to 4 lateral branches to the same level.
- In the variety of lemon you want to propagate, take the scion using a very sharp knife or grafting stick. It must have an intact bud (eye) surrounded by a very thin piece of bark (3 to 4 cm long)
- In the trunk of the subject, make a T-notch, about 30 or 40 cm high.
- Use the flat side of the grafter or knife to open the bark.
- Insert the thread by wedging it under the bark of the rootstock. It must be in maximum contact with the area between the wood and the bark (the caterpillar).
- Bring back the bark of the rootstock to cover the graft but making sure to leave the bud exposed!
- Tie up and down by making several turns of raffia. The band must be stable!
- Then you need to water regularly, but without excesses!
- If the transplant is done in the fall, you can cut the rhizome stem the following spring. You will then leave 20cm above the grafting point to allow for vertical staking of the growing graft branch.
- Later, when it keeps its straight shape, you can cut the rest of the section to the same level.