Lemon Tree Grafting Methods, Types of Lemons:
Today, let us talk methods of Lemon Tree Grafting and different types of lemons.
Introduction to Lemon:
- Lemon is a citrus plant that initiates in Asia, particularly in northeast India, northeast Myanmar & China.
- The lemon tree is an evergreen tree that blooms year round and reaches 3 to 6 meters in height. It can also last 50 to 100 years old. Fruits are picked 6 to 10 times a year, while one lemon tree can produce an average of 225 to 270 kgs.
- Citrus is a very important fruit crop. Lemon is one of the main categories of citrus. It is mainly known for its pulp & juice throughout the world. Different citrus fruits are used all over the world as food or juice.
- Citrus trees are subtropical in origin & cannot tolerate severe frosts. Moisture is a limiting factor in citrus production. Because rainfall is often poorly distributed & in most cases, deficient, it is necessary to supplement the moisture by irrigation to ensure that moisture stress does not suppress growth & production.
- Citrus can be grown in a wide range of soil types present they are well drained. Fertile, well-aerated soils with a pH level 6 to 6.5.
- Land must be ploughed, cross ploughed and leveled properly. Planting is done on terraces beside the slopes in hilly areas. High-density planting is possible in such areas.
Grafting Methods of Lemon:
Grafting is a horticultural method that’s defined as attaching a scion from one tree to the stem of a tree seedling or rootstock. The scion becomes a permanent element of the tree over time. If the scion is from a better variety, the tree will take on those characteristics. There are several grafting methods, but we at the progressive farmer have selected to demonstrate our favorite technique, the four-flap graft technique.
When to graft:
Grafting is best done in the spring or fall when the bark is easily separated from the wood. It must be timed to be early enough so that warm weather will help ensure a good bud union, yet late enough so that the bud will not begin to grow & callus will not grow over the bud itself. Citrus budded or grafted in the fall should be protected from frost. Avocados are best grafted in the spring when the bark is simply separated from the wood.
Different grafting methods used for Lemon:
A tongue grafting technique in which the rootstock is decapitated with a long slanted cut at the portion of the stem where there is active growth & a related cut is made at the scion base. Just like in splice grafting; a second cut has been completed partly across each slanted cut starting about one-third of the length of the cut from the tip towards the base of the cut. As an effect, they form “tongues” which hook the scion firmly onto the rootstock. This grafting method favors more cambial contact and is intended for smaller materials. Preferably, both scion & rootstock have identical sizes. As in the other types of grafting methods, the scions are pressed to the rootstock with the buds pointing outward.
The T-bud is one of the most regular methods used by nurseries to graft lemon trees. Select the lemon tree you wish to cultivate. Look for a tree that is vigorous & healthy. Remember that some states prohibit the importation of bud wood due to disease concerns so ensure with local authorities if you plan to use imported bud wood from quarantined areas of your own state.
Bud wood is usually collected during the growth period between April and November when the bark can be separated simply from the wood. Carefully gather rounded budded twigs that have begun to harden. Do not use very young buds from the current development flush. Trim the bud wood to 8 inch or 12-inch lengths. Try to utilize the collected bud wood as soon as possible. If you should store the wood for a period, place it in a sealed polyethylene bag in the vegetable crisper of your refrigerator. Check periodically for moisture build-up. Use the stored buds within three months.
Select the young citrus tree that desires to use as rootstock. Look for a variety of trees best suited for vigorous growth in the area. With a sharp knife, make a one-inch vertical cut during the bark of a healthy rootstock stem about six inches above the ground. At the bottom of the vertical cut, make a horizontal cut, the two cut appearance an upside down ‘T’.
Using your knife, remove a bud along with a one-inch sliver of wood & bark from a budded twig. Carefully put in the bud under the flaps of the ‘T’ cut of the rootstock with the wood of the bud sliver completely enclosed by the ‘T’ flap. Wrap the graft with budding tape making 2 or 3 rounds below the bud and two or three rounds above. Wraps must be removed not later than 30 days after the graft. A green, healthy looking bud will show that the graft has succeeded.
In order to stimulate the development of the union, the bud must be forced into growth. To force growth, cut 2/3 of the way through the rootstock about 1.5 inches above the bud & on the same side as the bud. Then push the rootstock more to lie on the ground. After the bud has developed 3 to 4 inches, the top of the rootstock can then be cut off about one inch above the top of the bud. To prevent competition from rootstock buds, they must be removed as soon as they develop.
Cleft or Wedge Grafting
Cleft grafting technique in which a rootstock is first decapitated at the portion of the stem where there is active growth, followed by a downward cut during the center of the stem starting from the stub. The scion is arranged with a slanting cut on one side at the base & a similar cut on the opposite side so that the base is wedge or V-shaped. The support of the scion is inserted into the cleft at the top of the decapitated rootstock. Two small scions could be inserted, one at each side of the rootstock to ensure cambial contact.
The best grafting method for small-diameter (1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch) rootstocks is whip grafting. Whip grafting must be done in the fall or spring. Although whip grafts use more scion wood than budding does, they allow the grafted plant to grow more rapidly. To make a whip graft, select as a scion hard & mature green wood. First, create a long, sloping cut about 1 to 2 1⁄2 inches long on the rootstock. Create a matching cut on the scion. Cut a “tongue” on both the scion & rootstock by slicing downward into the wood. The tongues must allow the scion and rootstock to lock together. Fit the scion to the rootstock & secure with budding rubber. Apply grafting wax to close the union. To prevent sunburn, new whip grafts must be protected from the sun until they heal. After the scion has begun to grow, remove any development from the rootstock. If necessary, maintain new shoots by staking.
The best grafting technique for large-diameter branches is bark grafting. To create a bark graft, first cut off the rootstock just above a crotch where smaller branches sprout out. If possible, try to retain one division of the original plant as a nurse branch. The nurse branch will give scion nutrition and support from the wind.
Cut vertical slits 6.2 to 8.7 cm long through the bark of the remaining freshly cut rootstock stubs down to the wood. These slits must be spaced 3 to 5 inches or 7.5 to 12.5 cm apart. Cut the scions 5 to 6 inches or 12.5 to 15 cm long with 4 to 6 buds per scion. If scions are cut longer than this, they can dry out before healing. When cutting the scions, make a sloping cut about three inches long at the base of the scion.
Using a grafting knife or other sharp knife, lift the bark on one side of the slit. Insert the scion into the slit with the long-cut surface of the scion facing the wood of the rootstock & push it down into the slit. Make sure that the scion fits snugly into the slits in the bark & that the cambiums are properly aligned.
Secure citrus scions by nailing them in place with thin flathead nails or tying them with strong tree tape. Safe avocado scions with plastic nursery tape. Coat all cut surfaces carefully, including the tops of the scions, with grafting wax. To protect the graft from sunburn, paint it with white interior water-based paint, either undiluted water. Paint the total area around the graft union, including the scions and the exposed trunk below the graft union. Inspect the grafts frequently & rewax them if they begin to crack or dry out.
Once the scions begin to develop well, remove all but one scion per branch. Early on, however, prune the scions that will be removed to decrease their vigor, but do not prune the scion that will be kept. The one scion you keep will eventually become a major scaffold branch. Any nurse branches must also be removed after all the scions are growing well.
Types of Lemons:
This variety of lemons are much related to the Lisbon lemon, which is one of the two major types of lemons commonly found in grocery stores, the other being the Eureka lemon. It begins in Florida.
It is believed that Bearss Lemons originated in Italy from a selection that is now extinct. It is considered a true lemon, & it is high in lemon oil. It is popular because it produces high-quality fruit, a lot of lemons on each tree, and because of its peel.
It is also called rough lemons; the bush lemons have a very thick skin that is very bumpy. They are related to a true lemon in that the rind produces a very strong flavor.
Citron lemons are used more for their rinds than anything else, in part since there is very little juice in this type of lemon. A very large fruit, it can grow up to ten pounds in weight, and there are three distinct types of the citron lemon.
The Baboon is a native lemon selection of Brazil. This fruit has a bright yellow skin & sour taste that resembles the taste of lime. Both the rind and the pulps of Baboon lemon can be used as an ingredient to make various types of sauce, including pasta & barbeque sauce.
Greek Citron Lemons
It is used in many different types of religious rituals throughout the centuries, it was primarily found in the Ionian Islands. It is known as the Corfu etrog, or simply the etrog.
Eureka lemon is a sweet variety of lemon that bears all year round from a thorn-less tree. It is one of the American lemons that now extend widely in other continents.
Meyer lemon was initially developed in China in the early twentieth century. It is a hybrid cultivar between lemon & mandarin. For that cause, this variety is often referred to as orange lemons. Some people also called as Mylar lemons.
There are two main types of lemons, the acidic lemons & the sweet lemons, so the term “sweet” basically refers to the fact that these lemons are not acidic in nature. The lemons are known by many other names, including sweet lime, sweet limetta & Mediterranean sweet lemon.
Avalon lemon is originated from Florida. It bears some similar traits like other varieties of lemon, especially Lisbon & Eureka.
This is also called rough lemon because of its thick and hard skin. While its concentrate for juice is low, bush lemon flesh has a stronger taste that can be a good addition to different savory dishes.
True lemons are simply acidic forms of lemons, and some of the examples include both the Lisbon & the Eureka lemons. True lemons; do not contain sweet lemons or non-acidic citrus such as citron.
This variety is considered a large lemon since its weight can reach up to 8 to 10 pounds.
Read: Dragon Fruit Farming.