Grafting Satsuma on Trifoliate orange - zone 7

So I have a Trifoliate orange tree growing right next to the house on north west side. Pretty protected. It’s a large tree that was already there as a full grown tree when we bought the house.
I love the tree since its citrus but it’s useless to me. I’m wondering if it’s possible to graft satsuma on to it? I mean will it survive outside because it’s on a hardy rootstock ? Or will it die back to the graft union? Thoughts?

1 Like

Sad to say it will die back to the graft union. You can make marmalade out of your trifoliate oranges though so they are not 100% useless unless your not into preserving.


Lots of good info. Pages out of order.

1 Like

That’s correct, and a very good use for trifoliate. Nowadays, few people can discern trifoliate marmalade from Seville.


That’s what I thought. Thank you all.

i decided to plant 2 of my citrus in the ground in my Zone 7, Bixby Oklahoma. right now Im covering them with 2 layers of frost cloth and a tarp on nights below 38f. I have one 25 count strand of C9 incandescent christmas lights that come on when below 38f but shut off above 48f. I have the device(similar to thermocube) on the outside of the tent structure to insure i have even temps inside the tent. Before it was cycling between 38f and 48f and i prefer the consistent temps. Right now it is holding about 16-18 degrees warmer inside than outside. On nights below 20f i will add one more layer of covering. I also have water jugs up next to the trees to help buffer the cold and add heat at night when they warm up in the day. slowly adding more bottles as I get them. The 2 trees are Meyer lemon and Armstrong satsuma. I do plan to expand this next year. Meyer is showing some fertilzer issues. Fed it the other day to help correct that.


Good job. ,!
And good luck !
Looks like the best use of Christmas lights I have seen !

From what I understand Trifoliate is the number 1 used rootstock for satsuma mandarins here where they are at there best. In fact, North Fork Mandarins in Newcastle Ca is growing around 10 acres on Trifoliate rootstock and I have not had any better Satsuma mandarins anywhere! Much better than my own Satsumas, I need to find a few trees on this rootstock! However in 6b, I agree, it will not survive.

1 Like

Really nice. Please let us know how this works. I’ve seen it done in the PNW, but all gardening is local.

1 Like

Great work . Hope it makes it through.

1 Like

There is a gentleman up east that is doing this exact technique and has had good success for many years.

Can you give more info on this ‘up east’ guy? That’s where Susu and I are.

I grow Satsumas (along with a few other less cold hardy citrus) on the 8b/9a line in Louisiana. Some varieties of Satsuma are more cold hardy than others, so proper selection when zone pushing is important. Also some have larger fruit and thicker skin which can make the difference between fruit surviving or not surviving a mild frost. In addition most traditional varieties ripen around mid November here, though there are some new early varieties with acceptable taste such as Louisiana Early and Saint Anns, both of which ripen in early October, which may be a point for consideration depending on your first frost date. You should also consider Arctic Frost and Orange Frost which are Satsuma crosses introduced by Texas A&M a couple of years ago for potential use in central and northern Texas zone 8a or even 7b though real world performance has yet to be confirmed, tastes is also likely less than other Satsuma varieties.

The big thing is growing Satusuma anywhere colder than 9a will require some type of freeze protection, it is just a matter of how often. Where I live the issue is mainly protecting a tree for the first 4-5 years until it is mature enough to survive most winters without protection then dealing with those once every 25-50 year freezes.

1 Like

Arctic Frost seedings failed here in 7b but there is no telling who the pollen parent was. Arctic Frost x Trifoliate may have worked.

I dont know him personally but through a friend Joe seamone. Gary lives in Milton Delaware. He grows grapefruits, satsuma and meyers this way. He started in 2012. Joe visited his place back in march. He shared pics and a video he took on his facebook group. I cant figure out how to post the video but here are some pics he took of them



Very impressive. I wouldn’t want to go through all that trouble though.

I hope he has a backup generator for when the power goes out on a cold night.

At least he doesn’t have to worry about Huanglongbing (citrus greening disease). I live in north Florida and there are very few other citrus trees in my vicinity, so I thought I was fairly immune, but just noticed definite greening on a few fruit on a couple trees…Will have to yank them out of the ground because there is no cure (so far).


True. There are trade-offs based on growing zone. Hauling pots around for a day twice a year, vs. leaving them out, constructing & securing protection and watching the weather every day/night for those arctic temp dips. Hmmmm.

I probably could leave them out longer than I do, to get the full sun advantage (I don’t put them under lights when I bring them in). What I may try next year is to transition to a semi sheltered spot and then when the temps head towards the low 20s, bring them in.

1 Like

How did your Satsuma hold up?