Frankencitrus #1

Frankencitrus #1

Rootstock is Sour Orange, source tree (was) Mexican Lime from ???, Oct 2009

  • Graft 1: Bearss Lime, scion wood La Verne Nursery (was from a tree I bought specifically to collect large amount of budwood from), Mar 2014
  • Graft 2: Lisbon Lemon, scion wood La Verne Nursery (was from a tree I bought specifically to collect large amount of budwood from), Mar 2014
  • Graft 3: Variegated Pink Lemon, scion wood from Jay B., Jan 2016
  • Graft 4: Oro Blanco Grapefruit, scion wood from Kurt L., Jan 2016
  • Graft 5: Thornless Mexican Lime CCPP VI-502, scion wood from CCPP, Feb 2017
  • Graft 6: Bergamot Sour Orange Hybrid CCPP VI-420, scion wood from CCPP, Feb 2017
  • Graft 7: Tahitian Pummelo CCPP VI-342, scion wood from CCPP, Feb 2017
  • Graft 8: Rio Red Grapefruit CCPP VI-440, scion wood from CCPP, Feb 2017
  • Graft 9: Valentine Pummelo CCPP VI-597, scion wood from CCPP, Feb 2017
  • Graft 10: Xie Shan Satsuma CCPP VI-621, scion wood from CCPP, Apr 2018
  • Graft 11: Xie Shan Satsuma ARS, scion wood from FL ARS, Mar 2019
  • Graft 12: Washington Navel, scion wood from LaVerne, Mar 2019
  • Graft 13: New Zealand Lemonade CCPP VI-734, scion wood from CCPP, Mar 2019

Now this is a large beautiful multi-grafted citrus tree (~20 ft tall). But this poor tree had a rocky start and a rocky road.

When we first moved here in 2009 my parents bought us a Mexican Lime as a housewarming present. It got planted in the corner of our yard and in the winter of 2009/2010 it promptly died. In the spring of 2010 it sprouted back up from the base. I couldn't determine if the growth was above or below the graft. So I decided to just let it grow.

2013: It was a nice sized tree (at least 10 ft tall) but no flowers. Thinking pretty conclusively that this was the rootstock sprouting up and not the Mexican Lime I started to research grafting, which I had never done before.

Spring of 2014: I bought two citrus tree from Lowes (Bearss Lime and Lisbon Lemon) so that I could harvest a lot of budwood from them. I cut back the tree significantly (left one large branch as a nurse branch) and did a bunch of t-budding, chip budding and cleft grafting. I topworked approximately about half the tree with Lisbon Lemon and the other half with Bearss Lime. I didn't know what I was doing that the time and my take rate was pretty bad (~50 %) but because I did so many grafts enough took to start making a lot of new lemon and lime branches. The new grafts grew like crazy the summer of 2014.

Spring of 2015: The grafts started to flower. And for the first time, the rootstock also flowered. I think the reason that the rootstock flowered is not because it was suddenly old enough to, my best guess is that the mature fruiting hormones in the scion wood were transferred through the tree and it help to think the rootstock had now matured as well. The nurse branch that I left on the rootstock in 2014 flowered a little but did not set fruit. However I did harvest lemons and limes!

Spring of 2016: I got some budwood from some friends (Jay B. and Kurt L.). This was before I knew anything about the Citrus psyllid or HLB. Agents of the Florida USDA and California USDA came to an AZRFG meeting in June of 2016 to show us how bad HLB was in Florida and how quickly it is spreading in California (and as of 2017 it is spreading quickly in Texas as well). Now that I am aware of the severity of the situation, I graft only budwood from the CCPP and I don't share citrus budwood from my trees.

2016: The rootstock flowered and matured fruit. As suspected it was sour orange. It tastes like it sounds. The skins is very wrinkly and peels easily. Sort of like a large (really bad tasting) mandarin. And it is not juicy at all, so you can't even juice them.

Spring of 2017: I ordered a bunch of budwood from the CCPP. I grafted on a Mexican Lime (so that the tree can finally fulfill it's original intent :) ), Bergamot Orange, and some Grapefruits and Pummelos.

2017: Massive amounts of limes harvested in summer and lemons harvested in winter.

Spring of 2018: I took some Xie Shan budwood off of       Meyer Lemon - Franken #2 and grafted onto this tree.

2018: Massive amounts of limes harvested in summer. Lemons in winter.

January: Harvested a Tahitian Pummelo. Biggest pummelo I have ever seen, nearly the size of a women's basketball. It is good flavor, but did not knock my socks off. But I was a 'first fruit', so I we see how they develop over time.
March: Harvested a Bergamot Orange. Very large sour orange. I know the Bergamot is harvested for the peel, but I had to try the fruit. .... yep, that is a sour orange :). But the peel smell is very good. Not as intense as I would have thought, but the Bergamot in Early Grey is concentrated. However I did use the peel as a twist with some dry gin and the essential oils are definitely alcohol soluble. It really brought out the flavor and aroma, very good!! Fresh Earl Grey cocktails, I bet there is a seasonal market that could be made for this :)

This has been a fantastic tree for me. It looks great, produces a ton of fruit, all different kinds of citrus. And because of the early setback with the tree, I learned how to graft because of it. I really am so grateful for this beautiful tree.