Why is my orange tree turning into a lemon tree?

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by TabithaB, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. TabithaB

    TabithaB Member

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    Fresno,CA
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    1:04 AM
    I have just moved back into my old home.. The orange tree (10 years ago) would produce the most sweet and large oranges ever! The orange tree has been an adult in this yard since the late 80's when i bought the house.. so unk how old it really is.. the home was built in 1942!

    This last year.. after getting the renters out (so i dont know how it was cared for) I noticed a large branch coming off the orange tree over the neighbors fence.. and it was pure LEMONS!

    Now my oranges this year are small.. bitter.. lemonish in taste.. and some have lemon colored stripes on them..

    What is going on.. The tree barely produced last year.. and what it did produce the squirrels ate... the tree is large beautiful.. and didnt get much water for the last year.. and unk what kind of water it had for the 10 years...

    But it still doesnt answer why all of a sudden.. i have lemons on it.. which i hadnt had ever before.. .

    Whats happening to it?

    Tabitha
    Fresno, CA
     
  2. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    It could be the tree's original rootstock was a lemon (probably rough lemon) and the tree has sprouted some growth from the rootstock. The original orange top may still be there as a part of the tree if it was not killed back to the graft.

    Rootstocks will often outgrow the top that is grafted onto it if it is given a chance. If you can determine that the orange is still there you can cut away the "lemon" and restore the orange.

    You can also graft the tree with new varieties if you are interested. It is really fairly simple.

    Skeet
     
  3. TabithaB

    TabithaB Member

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    Thank you.. I have been interested in the grafting idea.. I have a small yard.. would it be possible to actually get my sweet orange tree back while keeping the lemons.. and do u think the lack of water.. this year was the reason the fruit was golf ball size?
     
  4. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    You can keep the lemon, but if it is the typical rough lemon used for rootstocks it may not be that desirable, or at least there may be better varieties that you could add by grafting. If the lemon part of the tree is comming up from near the root, it probably was the rootstock. If you leave that part unrestrained, it may dominate the tree taking away some of the energy that would go to the oranges.

    The small fruit may be due to a variety of things, the lemon taking away some of the energy, lack of water and lack of fertilizer could also contribute. The tree might also need a dose of trace minerals if it has not been included in fertilizers.

    If you are interested in grafting, living in CA you can get grafting wood from UC Davis I believe. T-bud grafting is really simple-- I had over 60% success my first time this past summer putting over 40 buds on the 5 trees in my backyard. My lisbon lemon now has at least 10 varieties on it-- oranges, mandarins, satsumas, meyer lemon, grapefruits.

    Skeet
     

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