Why people graft kumquat tree

Kumquats, like other citrus trees, are susceptible diseases & pests in the ground if not well cared for. This is why people graft kumquat trees on strong rootstocks to increase their tolerance.

Nematodes, the snake-like micro-organisms, usually attack the roots of kumquat trees, making it difficult for them to transport nutrients up & produce fruits. These small animals can't be seen by our naked eyes, only under a microscope like this one:

nematode-attack-kumquat-tree-root.jpg
Nematode under microscope

Additionally, a full size kumquat tree may be too big for small yards. Its roots may not be tolerant to frost in cold growing zones. Grafting kumquat trees help them get a stronger foundation while making the size of the tree more manageable.

With a grafted kumquat tree, you can more confidently grow them in the ground (even with nematodes & freezing) and take the cuttings with you to grow new trees if/when you move.

Cirtrus.com: Save 10% on Citrus trees with code CITRUS

The Flying Dragon Rootstock

poncirus-trifoliata-lemon-plant.jpg
Poncirus trifoliata: Cousin of kumquat with spiky stem

The rootstock people often use for grafting kumquat is Poncirus trifoliata (finger lime or microcitrus papuana) or the dwarf variety Poncirus trifoliata Flying Dragon.

The finger lime rootstock has straight thorns, while the Flying Dragon has more curvy thorns. We're not sure which one it is, but it looks something like this:

flying-dragon-thorn.jpg
Thorns on rootstock

A compatible rootstock is important for your kumquat growth. An incompatible one might dry out the young buds & give us no growth at all.

Once a good rootstock has been selected, people use these grafting techniques to grow the trees. Let's have a look.

Citrus Grafting Techniques

grafted-citrus-tree.jpg
A grafted tree | Source

Here are some of the most common citrus grafting techniques many people use:

  • T-budding
  • Z-grafting
  • Patch grafting
  • Cleft grafting
  • Bud grafting

For beginners, the easiest method would be the T-budding. Using this method, you make a capital T on your Flying Dragon rootstock & insert the kumquat bud in.

The other techniques require some more practice. But if you're intrigued, let's have a sneak peak into how a master does the T-budding technique.

Cirtrus.com: Save 10% on Citrus trees with code CITRUS

T-Bud Grafting Kumquat Tree

For this T-bud technique, you'll need:

  • Grafting knife
  • Alcohol
  • Flying Dragon rootstock
  • Kumquat bud
  • Wax tape
  • Clippers

Step 1: Clip off the thorns & leaves of Flying Dragon

Before grafting, sterilize your grafting knife. Then, cut off the thorns & leaves on your rootstock. This helps cut off extra exit ways for the nutrients & concentrate them onto the kumquat bud we're about to graft on.

Step 2: Cut your kumquat bud

Use your knife to slice off a piece of bud on your kumquat tree. The bud often looks like a bump (or a camel hump) on the stem. Here, Garden S used the Fortunella Hindsii kumquat. It's a small variety with tiny fruits that's great for bonsai.

Step 3: Make a T cut on Flying Dragon

Now, with your grafting knife, make a T cut on the rootstock. Just about the length of the kumquat bud that you cut.

Step 4: Graft your kumquat bud on & wax tape it

Carefully put your kumquat bud into the T opening. Make sure the vascular cambium of the scion & rootstock touch. This increases the success rate.

Then, use some wax tape to wrap around the graft. The tape helps hold the graft in place & keeps the bud from drying out. When the bud starts to grow, it will poke through the tape.

Step 5: Finally break off half of your rootstock

When we break off the rootstock, nutrients will not be going to the upper part of grafted side. This signals to the tree to move all the good bits to our baby.

If we leave the branch as-is, apical dominance will move nutrients to the top parts first then flowing down. Our grafted bud will receive the food later & it slows down growth. When all is done, we begin the waiting game.

The Limitation of T-Budding Grafting

citrus-cocktail-tree.jpg

The limitation of the T-bud technique is that it may limit only one type of citrus to be grown on one rootstock. Because we need to break off the upper part of the branch, leaving less space for more grafts.

If we combine the other methods, we can grow some other types of citrus, creating our own citrus cocktail tree. Lemons, oranges, or kumquats all in one. But of course, we should emphasize compatibility again.

If you want to check out more, here's an article on the different varieties of kumquat:

Kumquat Varieties
So you’re just getting started exploring kumquats? C’mon along, let’s check out these cool varieties: Meiwa (The Sweet One) Sweet Meiwa Kumquat | Source [https://www.flickr.com/photos/starr-environmental/25103025561/in/photostream/] Meiwa, or Fortunella crassifolia, is hands-down the sweetest varie…

And here's some already-grafted kumquat trees (1 year old) for sale:

Buy Dwarf Kumquat Tree
More coming soon. Dwarf Meiwa Sweet Kumquat (1 year old) [http://] Dwarf Nagami Sour Kumquat Tree (1 year old) [http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-9219126-13746315]

You can order these trees online. However, due to some state's law, they may not be allowed ship to your local area. You can check by entering your ZIP code.

Share or pin this post!

grafting-kumquat-trees.jpg