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How to Graft a Citrus Tree

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How to Graft a Citrus Tree

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Overview

Most citrus trees that produce sweet, edible fruit are created via grafting. During the graft, a bud from a variety that produces sweet fruit is grafted on to a root stock that is either sterile or produces sour fruit. In some cases, one citrus tree can produce several different varieties of fruit via grafting. Although grafting is not difficult, you must be careful and patient with the process.

Step 1

Select a tree for a bud source that is healthy. Grafting a bud from an unhealthy tree can transmit any diseases the tree may have to the new tree.

Step 2

Collect the bud during the tree's growing period. Remove the bud and a 1-inch-long strip of wood under the bud.

Step 3

Select a young citrus for the root stock. Look for root stocks that are known to grow well in your area.

Step 4

Make an inverted T-shaped cut about 6 inches above ground level on the root stock. Lift up the bark to make two flaps.

Step 5

Slip the bud and bud wood under the two flaps of the inverted T on the root stock.

Step 6

Wrap the graft with several rotations of budding tape both above and below the bud. Leave the bud exposed.

Step 7

Remove the budding tape within 30 days of grafting the bud to the tree. You can tell that the bud has taken if it is green and healthy.

Step 8

Cut about two-thirds of the way through the root stock, about 1 1/2 inches above the recently grafted bud.

Step 9

Bend the top of the root stock over until it touches the ground to prevent it from budding and competing with the grafted bud for nutrients.

Step 10

Once the grafted bud has grown to 3-4 inches, cut the top of the root stock off.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some states prohibit the importation of bud wood because of the risk of disease to local crops. Check with your local agricultural extension service for local regulations.

Things You'll Need

  • Grafting knife
  • Root stock
  • Sweet tree bud
  • Grafting tape

References

  • Grafting, or "Budding," Citrus Trees
  • Grafting Citrus Trees
  • Lime Tree Grafting -- Budding Lime Trees To Propagate
Keywords: citrus propagation, citrus grafting, tree grafting

About this Author

Christopher Earle is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colo. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, The Associated Press, the Boeing Company, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, Active Voice, RAHCO International and Umax Data Systems. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota.