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Grafting an old citrus tree

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Citruslimetta starts with ...

Last year I transplanted a big grafruit tree my parents had into my yard. It was always kept short so t was never given a chance to grow large. It was a strong fruiting tree. It was about 15-20 years old. It survived, much to my surprise. It is still struggling to take hold as I think it's still in shock.

Anyway, I don't particularly like grap fruit, so, I'd like to convert it into a lemon tree via grafting. I think I'd prefer to wait another year or two for it to recover before I graft it.

I am however totally lost with grafting. I've read everything but I am still lost.

I don't know when to do it, the best method given the thick trunk size (each trunk is about 9cm in diameter) and if it is even possible.

I'd appreciate any advice.
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14th November 2017 9:02pm
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Fruitylicious1 says...
Hi Citrusmetta
Yes you can top work your big grapefruit tree with lemon, orange, lime, pomelo or any other citrus for that matter. You can even create your own citrus fruit salad tree. Judging from the picture you have provided you can graft your citrus tree next spring using a cleft or whip and tongue graft when the growths are little bit more mature.If you can't wait you can also do it now using the bark insertion graft method by cutting off the stumps below the growth and insert your scions in the vertically cut bark. In the meantime, start removing the weak, spindly or any inward growth. Leave only the robust outward new growth from your tree in preparation for next springs' grafting operation.
The best time to do your grafting is between spring and early summer when the temperature is between 21C - 29C and the bark easily peels off. Above 29C just use a shade cloth or any other sturdy covering for your grafts. You can even cover the grafts with brown paper bag with small hole for ventilation if the weather is beyond the prescribe temps.
For detailed visual instruction you can visit 'fruit mentor' 'you tube' video in the internet. Another good resource is a book by Allen Gilbert titled 'Grafting and Budding for Australian Gardeners (ISBN 978-1-86447-123-6). Videos and pictures speak a thousand word . I tried it myself with my lemon tree wherein I grafted a navel orange using cleft graft method. I had a good success with it. I was harvesting both oranges and lemons in one tree in my previous property.
For sourcing your preferred scion give the Auscitrus a ring on (03) 5027 4411.
If your not fussy about scion wood you can collect them from healthy disease free trees from your friends and acquaintances if they are willing to part some specimen for you.
Happy Gardening :-)

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16th November 2017 11:02am
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Original Post was last edited: 16th November 2017 12:03pm
jakfruit etiquette says...
For this tree, you can topwork graft it as per commercial growers do with similar large trees. The best method is probably peacock grafting, ie leave one or two limbs active with the grapefruit (like a peacock tail), and re graft the other limbs to the new type.
When the first grafts have taken off and are growing well, you can then re work the other limbs.
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jakfruit etiquette
16th November 2017 11:25am
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