[NAFEX] key limes, seedling citrus in general

philip sauber mrtejas at lycos.com
Sat May 10 06:38:55 EDT 2003

What you say may be true, but grafting high on trifoliate makes it impossible to bank soil to above the graft to protect the tree from freezing in severe freezes.  In December of 1989 we had a 100 year freeze here near Houston, TX (we had another one in 1983).  It was below freezing for 96 hours with lows to 10F.  In that freeze all citrus trees that were not banked with soil were killed including the trifoliate rootstocks.  The only trees that survived were banked with soil or covered and heated.  

I didn't bank my citrus trees in 1983 and 1989 and they were killed rootstock and all.  I bank my trees every winter now.  I take nursery pots, cut a slot in it, center the pot on the tree trunk, and fill the pot with soil.  My one tree (grafted by a friend) with a 2 foot high graft required about 4 pots stacked on top of each other to protect the bud.  Banked trees are damaged but not killed by severe freezes and recover quickly even though most of the top is killed.

The biggest problem with citrus going into dormancy here in z9a is our unpredictable weather.  It may be 85F one day and freezing the next in January and February.  In March of this year it was in the 80F for several weeks and then we had a freak 19F low around March 15.  Unprotected meyer lemon trees were killed.  My unprotected meiwa kumquat on trifoliate was killed and a long huang kat mandarin was damaged. The protected trees had damage but survived.

On Fri, 09 May 2003 17:01:40  
 Lon J. Rombough wrote:
>No, the trifoliate is hardy to about -15 F, and it has been shown in more
>instances than one that the tall trunk adds hardiness.  I've heard several
>speculations as to why and the one that makes the most sense is that
>trifoliata stays dormant longer than regular citrus, and the taller trunk
>helps keep the citrus dormant longer, and in less danger of freezing, than
>when the citrus is grafted low.  I've heard more than one person say that
>citrus grafted high on trifoliata starts growth later than when budded low.
>Go check at the California Rare Fruit Growers - they've done a lot with
>From: "philip sauber" <mrtejas at lycos.com>
>Organization: Lycos Mail  (http://www.mail.lycos.com:80)
>Reply-To: mrtejas at lycos.com, North American Fruit Explorers
><nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Date: Fri, 09 May 2003 18:13:12 -0500
>To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Subject: Re: [NAFEX] key limes, seedling citrus in general
>I think you got that reversed.  The trees grafted high on trifoliate
>couldn't be protected by banking soil past the graft and they froze out.
>The ones grafted low survived because the graft was covered by soil and
>didn't freeze.
>Seriously, there is no consensus that grafting high makes the tree more cold
>hardy.  I graft as low as possible to make soil banking easier.

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