Many gardeners dream of having citrus trees in the house that bring delicious fruits. But to get a good harvest, it is not enough just to plant a tangerine seed and grow a tree. In order for the fruits to be large and sweet, the plant must be grafted. Information on how to graft tangerines, on the rules for preparing stock and scion, care and crown formation will be of interest to all gardeners.
Description and breeding methods
Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) is the most popular and widespread crop in Asian countries, especially in Japan and China. A low (up to 3.5 m) branched tree, according to the botanical classification, belongs to the Rutov family. It has leathery lanceolate leaves that grow on branches for almost 4 years. A feature of the structure of mandarin leaves is the presence of small wings on the cuttings. The tree blooms with fragrant white flowers, large in size.
Mandarin reproduction is possible with twoways: from the bone and vegetatively. To obtain a plant from a seed, it is planted in fertile soil, and after a month small sprouts appear. However, the tree grows very slowly, and fruiting can occur only after 4-7 years, and the fruits will most likely be sour and tasteless (wild). Therefore, you should know how to graft a tangerine from a seed in order to stimulate the development and high-quality fruiting of a crop.
Growing from seed
To plant a tangerine, you need to purchase well-ripened fruits, from which the largest seeds are taken. It is better to select a dozen, place it in a bag of gauze or cloth and moisten with water to swell.
When the seeds hatch, you need to prepare a pot. For drainage, small pebbles, shards or walnut shells are placed in it. Ready soil upon purchase must be selected non-acidic, without peat content. For cooking at home, they take humus, forest soil and sand in a ratio of 2: 2: 1.
In a pot filled with soil mixture, seeds are planted to a depth of 4 cm and placed in a warm place, periodically moistening the ground. A transplant into a large container is done when at least 5 young leaves appear.
Mandarin tree care
The most important components for the successful growth of a tree, which are necessary even before tangerines are grafted, are heat, light and moisture. The optimum temperature should be maintained at least +20 °C, lighting duration - at least 12 hours (recommendeduse of phytolamps). An important rule for quality growth is maintaining the necessary soil and air moisture, as well as regularly wiping the leaves with a wet cloth and spraying. For this, only boiled or filtered water is taken. It is strictly forbidden to allow the soil to dry out, but in winter, watering can be slightly reduced.
In the first year of a tree's life, it is necessary to prune for the correct formation of the skeleton: overgrown side branches leave only strong ones, the rest are removed. Pruning is best done in early February, before the end of the dormant period. In older plants, pinching the upper branches is done, old ones are removed. During the summer, you can shorten too long shoots.
Preparation for vaccination
You should know that following the recommendations on how to plant a tangerine at home will help to make the procedure qualitatively, which will speed up the growth of the tree and bring the timing of fruit production closer. However, for this it is necessary to first prepare the planting material.
Some recommendations and preparations:
- It is better to graft all homemade citrus fruits in April, when the active growth phase begins for the plant, which will contribute to a better engraftment of the material;
- another good time to plant tangerines is August when the tree is at its peak;
- it is necessary to prepare the scion and stock, tools and materials (knife, garden pitch, electrical tape or adhesive tape) in advance: the scion is a branch,taken from an already fruiting plant, and the rootstock will be a grown mandarin seedling obtained from a stone;
- Vaccination is not done on too young plants (less than 2 years old) with a stem diameter less than 6 mm (pencil thickness).
Choice of rootstock and scion
On the question of whether it is possible to graft a tangerine to a tangerine, the answer is only positive, but this option is the least suitable. This is due to the slow growth of the tree and its weak root system. As a rootstock, you can use a house tree of lemon, grapefruit or orange, the latter being valued more for its drought-resistant properties. A tangerine grafted onto a lemon grows better, thanks to a more developed root system, just like on a grapefruit. Pomelo is considered the best option for rootstock, but it is rarely grown in our climate.
The recommendations of experienced gardeners indicate that the rootstock should be grown in the same conditions or in the same room in which it will grow further, which is a guarantee of stable development and fruiting. That is, if the plant is a greenhouse, then transferring it to an apartment after grafting will negatively affect the development of the tree.
For the scion (which will be grafted onto the future tangerine), a branch is taken from a varietal tree, always one that has already borne fruit. It should have 2 kidneys. Only 1 scion can be grafted per rootstock root. If two of them are planted, then only the strongest will survive.
Recommendations on how to properly graft a mandarin are given step by step:
- scion stalk is cut off from a he althy tree with a sharp disinfected knife;
- all leaves and thorns are removed, 1 tangerine bud should remain on the branch;
- the entire crown of the tree is completely removed from the rootstock, otherwise it will not allow the scion to grow;
- rootstock plant should have a trunk with a developed bark, at a distance of 7-10 cm from the soil it should be wiped with a wet cloth, removing dust and dirt;
- with a sharp knife, an incision is made in the bark in the form of the letter “T” (it is better not to touch the wood) measuring 2.5 x 1 cm (top and bottom);
- all operations must be done quickly, without touching the slices with your hands;
- the bark is moved away with the tip of the budding knife, and the cutting is inserted into the hole;
- then this place is covered with bark, covered with pitch and wrapped with tape or electrical tape on top so that the kidney remains outside;
- The grafted plant is placed in a greenhouse made from a bag or a plastic bottle, which must be ventilated daily so that moisture does not accumulate.
As a rule, after 12-20 days, the success of the operation will be visible by the appearance of the cutting: if it turns black or withered, it means that it did not take root, if it turned yellow, then everything worked out. Then you can first loosen the bandage, then remove it. This will be a positive answer to the question of whether the tangerine is grafted and whether the procedure will be successful.
When a green shoot gradually begins to grow from a bud, the stem of the rootstock tree must be cut off from above10 cm above the vaccination site, treat with garden pitch. It is better to tie a young shoot to a support or a stick, which will help it grow quickly.
Caring for a grafted tree
Many gardeners are interested in how to plant a tangerine so that it bears fruit successfully. However, it is not enough to make a quality vaccination, the subsequent care of a young tree and its proper fertilizer are of great importance.
Watering is carried out only with settled water at room temperature. To maintain humidity in the room, it is necessary to spray the tree and the air around it 2-3 times a day. You can also use a drip tray filled with water all the time.
Active growth of the seedling falls on the period from March to October, and during these months the plant needs constant care and feeding, which must be done every 2 weeks. Both mineral and organic fertilizers are used, monthly the tree is watered with a solution of manganese (light pink) or iron sulfate.
Mandarin trees are transplanted annually until they are 7-8 years old, usually in the spring. After the tree has grown to 8 years old, a transplant is done every 2 years.
After tangerines are grafted on a tree, it is necessary to follow some rules every year to properly form its crown. Moreover, this must be done only before the start of the first flowering of the plant. It is not recommended to allow the appearance of flowers until branches of the 5th order are formed, otherwise the vegetation cycle of the plantslow down.
If a tree grows with one shoot, then it must be cut so that 5-6 buds remain at the bottom, from which branches of the 1st order will continue to grow. Among them, leave those that are directed in different directions. After their growth, 4-5 buds are left on each branch, from which branches of the 2nd order will grow in the future.
Next, pruning is done, forming branches of the 3rd and 4th orders, after which the main skeleton of the plant is considered ready. The tree is suitable for flowering and fruiting.
Diseases and pests
The following pests may appear on citrus trees: mealybug, red spider mite, citrus whitefly, varieties of scale insects, etc.
With a lack of water or waterlogging of the soil, spots on the leaves may appear, due to which they begin to fall off. To solve the problem, it is necessary to adjust the rules for caring for and watering the plant.
If all the above recommendations are followed and grafted with high quality, the tangerine tree will annually delight its owner with delicious and ripe fruits.