First Time Grafter (Citrus)

Good day all,

I’m foraying into grafting after an excessively extensive amount of reading and research and nice picture oodling on this here forum and many others. I air-layered my grandmother’s mystery citrus tree in November and cut it off in January (some sort of unidentified rootstock most likely) and took some scions off of her Persian Lime, tangerine and Ponderosa Lemon trees to try a multi-graft of sorts. I apologize if any steps are missing, just got a smartphone for the first time this past week and not sure how to get the camera to focus on macro items properly:

1 Persian Lime scions.

2 Prying the bark. This is an L-shaped graft I got from watching an Australian Youtuber. Not sure of the proper graft name. The plus of living in the tropics is the bark is never “not” slipping :wink:

3 Prepping the scion (this foray taught me that I REALLY need a razor at the least, the blade wouldn’t make the cuts as smooth as I would have liked).

4 Insertion.

5 Wrapping (some sort of pipe threading tape I believe, will have to check for the actual name).

6 Did a cleft graft of another Persian Lime scion on a lower branch as a backup.

7 Also did an inverted T-bud of a Ponderosa lemon bud sliver under the first graft, and a T-bud of the tangerine above it.

8 Final shot of the tree with everything wrapped up (I paid attention to the admonishings not to let the scionwood dry out hence the total wrapping).

I figure with the warmth and humidity on my side, at least SOMETHING should take. The only variety not yet mature of those grafted is the Ponderosa Lemon and I’ll be fine with just that one if need be as the parent plant has been growing in ground for a few years and should be nearing maturity anyway.

Here’s to hoping! We’ve had an obscene amount of rain literally the day after I grafted these (and watered too, as it was so dry for a few days…figures). I’m glad I wrapped those as tight as I did, hopefully the pot mix is porous enough that the tree doesn’t stay too wet and abort the grafts or some other horrendous situation :pensive:

Dan II

Should probably also have mentioned that I trimmed off a good bit of the branches and leaves to give myself room to work with (the thorns would’ve poked the living dickens out of me if I hadn’t). As I understand it, I’m to leave the wrap on for 2 or 3 weeks then check it? And only then top the tree to get the grafts to grow?

Very good photos. Enjoyed the post!

I hope we get updates! I plan to do a little citrus grafting later on myself!

Thank you appleseed and Sirius I hope so too! If I can remember we should :slight_smile: I look forward to checking out your grafting post!

Here’s an update! Meant to do this earlier: not a single graft took. Was a bit of a bummer when it happened but since then I’ve decided to keep the tree as a cooking lemon and just grow additional citrus in other pots instead of grafting them onto this one as a rootstock so it was for the best.

I think if ever I do it again I will go with a sharper knife for better cambium contact and also wrap the grafts with foil. Our tropical sun is pretty intense, I’ve recently started wrapping my containers with foil too and it’s helping keep plant roots cooler so I imagine the sun probably baked the grafts as the plant is in full exposure. Live and learn! :slight_smile:

As a side note, anyone growing any of the more heat loving lemons (not Meyer) or just citrus in general? I took the marcot off the parent tree after the latter flowered this spring and it hasn’t flowered for me yet, but the parent tree of a Persian Lime marcot I’m getting ready to take off flowered both this spring and a few weeks ago, and I’m getting reports of various growers in the U.S. with currently blooming citrus. Not sure if it’s climate related or what, the rootstock-to-main-plant is in a pot.


Please accept this advice as intended - to be helpful. I assume that since you posted the process and followed up with the information that the grafts did not take, that you are open to some constructive advice.

I noticed, as you’ve seemed to, that the cuts would probably be cleaner with a sharper knife. Also teflon tape probably isn’t strong enough to pull the scions into intimate contact with the the host ensuring maximal cambium contact and excluding air from the interface. Also, common teflon tape is air permeable, meaning it won’t hold in moisture water vapor to keep things moist.

Grafting rubbers would be mechanically more effective. Parafilm would be better at retaining moisture.

I’d also recommend ensuring that both the budwood donor and the rootstock are well hydrated in advance of your cutting and are kept that way through the process.