Lemons are one of the most popular fruits due to their tangy taste and fresh aroma. Every day there are more who dare to plant their own lemon tree to be able to enjoy its fruits at home and in a totally ecological way. However, you may not have the space to plant a lemon tree on its own, or you may want to speed up the production of its fruits. In these cases, grafting another plant is a great option.
Join us in this article if you want to learn when and how to graft a lemon tree to enjoy these delicious fruits.
When to graft a lemon tree
Grafting is quite a traumatic process for both the support plant and the cutting. For this reason, grafting should always be carried out in the season when the tree is in the best condition and with its defensive system in the best shape, which is in early spring, which is when the plant will better recover from the aggression.
Depending on when the graft is carried out, it is known as a live bud graft , if it is in early spring , or as a dormant bud if it is done in autumn .
How to graft a lemon tree
The first thing is to take into account in which tree you are going to graft the lemon tree. Ideally, use a tree that is as similar as possible, such as an orange tree or another citrus from a close family. If you use an orange tree, do it before fall , so that the bark is looser and the sap circulates more easily. The most common is to graft a lemon tree with a T-shaped incision :
- Prepare a razor or tool as sharp as possible and disinfect it with rubbing alcohol.
- Once the tool is cleaned, make a T-shaped cut in the rootstock, and carefully separate the bark, taking care not to break it.
- The green layer under the bark must be left uncovered, which is where the lemon tree graft should be applied, which you will have to have previously prepared and cut around the bud.
- The graft is adjusted as much as possible to the rootstock and covered with plastic or some other protection above and below the bud to prevent insects from entering the wound or becoming infected with a harmful micro-organism, such as bacteria or fungi.
Caring for a grafted lemon tree
As is usual in grafting, when it comes to applying care, what is in control will be the needs of the rootstock, which is the plant that will support the lemon tree graft. However, as the ideal is to graft an orange tree or other nearby citrus tree, the usual thing is that the rootstock has needs very similar to those of a lemon tree, so we are going to list them so that you know the basic care of a grafted lemon tree.
Caring for the graft wound
The first thing is to take special care with the graft and the wound area, especially until it heals completely. Keep the area covered so that insects or any other type of plague cannot sneak in, and try to clean it of sap that may have dripped or escaped.
Temperature and light
Since most citrus fruits are tropical, almost all of them need warm temperatures and a good amount of hours of sunshine a day. Many of them can survive for short periods at temperatures of 0 ° C, but prolonged exposure for several hours or in very intense cold will cause serious damage and even death. Also, if the place where you live tends to suffer from strong winds, it is a good idea to protect your citrus fruits with windbreaks.
Soil for the grafted citrus tree
Regarding the soil, citrus fruits are not plants of great demands. They are sufficient with a depth of just over a meter, and although they can develop in clay soils, those of the sandy type will make the plant produce better quality and flavorful fruits. It is good, however, that they have good drainage to avoid rotting and other problems. Regarding the pH of the soil, they tend to appreciate slightly acid soils, between 6 and 6.5.
When to harvest lemons
The lemon should be harvested when the fruit turns yellow . As long as the lemons are green, it means that they are still in an early stage of ripening and, therefore, their flavor will not be adequate. Usually, the harvest occurs between the months of March and June , which is when the lemons tend to show that intense yellow color that indicates that it is time to pick them.