Roostock and Citrus Trees
Citrus rootstock waiting to be budded
Although the rootstock of a citrus tree may be unseen and not very often considered by the average home gardener, it may just be the most important part of any successful and productive citrus plant. Whilst it may be less than attractive when viewed by itself the correct rootstock will allow the tree to develop a strong and healthy root system that will last for decades.
Citrus trees have been grafted and budded onto a rootstock for centuries.
Can you grow a citrus tree from a your navel orange or lime seed?
The simple answer is yes you can. However it will not survive for long as it will not develop a healthy root system.
Growers for centuries have developed the large and juicy varieties of citrus plants that we enjoy today by using two plants. One is the rootstock that provides the root system and the other is the tree above the rootstock that provides the fruit.
In Australia there are over a dozen different types of citrus rootstock in use. Some are used more extensively than others. Each rootstock will be suited to certain varieties of citrus and has different characteristics.
It would be impossible and very expensive to attempt to use all the different types of rootstock so most production nurseries usually use somewhere between three to five to provide the best possible results to grow healthy plants.
At Sunshine Citrus we generally use the following varieties of rootstock to provide the best results:
Trifoliata - used for most varieties of citrus and ideal for the home gardener. The rootstock is sometimes called a “semi-dwarfing” rootstock as it will slow down the overall size of the tree when compared with other rootstocks. Trifoliata also has other excellent qualities including being cold and drought tolerant.
Flying Dragon - is a mutation of Trifoliata and is commonly known as a dwarf rootstock. It has similar qualities to trifoliata with additional benefit for the home gardener of limiting the tree to between 30% - 50% of its normal height
Swingle Citrumelo - is a vigorous growing rootstock favoured by commercial growers. A full size tree will be produced. Usually the main varieties grown on Swingle Cirumelo are Limes and Oranges.
Cox Mandarin Hybrid - is a newer variety of rootstock developed by the NSW DPI for citrus growers in the colder Riverina area. It was developed for use with Lemons, as some Lemons may not grow very well on other types of rootstock.