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Need help from a green thumber

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,
I'm off to Google to do some research, but thought I'd ask something here as well. It's a little off topic, but maybe someone knows.

We have a Grapefruit tree that bears the most delicious grapefruit I've ever eaten. The neighborhood agrees, because all winter they come and pick it (with my blessings.) EVERYONE in FL had a grapefruit tree, but they like these best. My dad planted it many years ago, it was from a nursery.

Anyway, I would like to grow another tree from this one directly, since the fruit is so great. But I'm not good at gardening, even in FL where everything grows like crazy.

What's the best way to clone this tree? Just plant some seeds? I was wondering about taking a good sized branch to a nursery so that they could splice it on to a root bulb. But I guess that's costly. How long does it take for seeds to sprout up into a small sapling?

Okay, one last especially stupid question......... If seeds are the best route, do I just cut up a grapefruit and bury it? Or do I have to be dilligent and remove the seeds first?

Any input is appreciated.

On Edit: Okay, well I just read if I plant the seeds I will most likely have something other than Grapefruit grow. Apparently the seeds in a grafted grapefruit tree bear what the original root ball is. Looks like a graft if at all.
post #2 of 14
You could possibly graft your own tree. I was talking to a buddy the other day who was talking about a starter pot or something along those lines...

You scrap back the bark on the branch, then put this pot on there, then put in some soil, then when roots start forming, you cut the branch and plant it.

Look up grafting and you could probably do it.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was wondering about just growing a tree from a branch without grafting. But gardening isn't my thing, and I didn't see anything about that through google. Maybe I'll try a new search. Thanks for the tip!
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
BC, because of your tip, I researched with different keywords. I found that the process is called "air layering." Given the fact that everything grows great in Fl, I'm going to try it in a few weeks. Thanks again!
post #5 of 14


you can also do whats called vegetative propagation..you can use a twig or branch or

even a leaf, and some vermiculite and a little miracle gro..and you will end up with a

seedless fruit..i have used this method back in the day when i had my basement farm.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm not looking for the fruit per se. Here's what's going on. My mom and dad are buried on private property (all perfectly legal.) About 9 years ago we planted a nice little Magnolia tree at their site. The tree looked great for 8 years, although it never grew more than a foot. Last fall it abruptly died. Now, about the grapefruit..... Dad planted a grapefruit tree in our yard. He doted over it, and it really does bear the best grapefruit you've ever tasted. Since he loved that tree so much, I'd like to clone it, and plant it to replace the Magnolia. Seeds from one of the Grapefruits would technically be accurate, but I don't want to see sour Oranges sprouting from the clone of his beloved Grapefruit tree.

Anyway, I think the "air layered" process looks like what I want.
post #7 of 14
google "bonsai air layering"...bonsai enthusiast know their trees that's for sure.
post #8 of 14
BigSteve yours is a noble pursuit.I grew grapefruit from seed 15 years ago and gave up after 5 years of bringing the plants in the house for winter-the thorns are a pain.Check ALL THE PAGES in discusion on thread i linked to for you.They eventualy get around to seed planting.Grafting would be fullproof and you would probably be best talking to farmer and possibly explaining your situation which would be compelling to me.I have grown a magnolia for friend with similiar predicament after tree was damaged in winter ice storm.Air layered is another good choice-good luck.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input Phreak and ALX. This tree was a nursery tree. I have no doubt it was a grapefruit branch grafted onto something like a sour Orange rootball. According to what I've been reading, if I plant the seeds, there is a real good chance the new tree will bear no fruit, or even something like sour Oranges. Having no experience in this, I'll accept that as fact.

So that leaves me with grafting a branch onto a rootball or air layering. Since air layering is free, and everything (especially citrus) grows like crazy here, I'll try that first.

We're going on vacation next week, so I probably will start around the first week of May.
post #10 of 14
I agree about if you use seed probably wouldnt be true grapefruit.I think i read it will be 5-10 years for fruit and that is long time for something that may not be true grapefruit.Good luck again.
post #11 of 14
I can give you a little peace of mind about the seeds.

If a seed is grown from a grapefruit branch, it will be a grapefruit seed, no matter what the rootstock it's grafted to is.

I'm not sure where you read that bit of info, but that would require some genetic mixing of a form that just doesn't happen. I even called up my old horticulture teacher to check on that, and he said that is totally inaccurate.

Similarly, if you were to graft a red delicious apple branch to a crabapple rootstock (just by way of argument) the red delicious apple branch would only gain nutrients, not genetic information, from the rootstock. so it would be, for all intents and purposes, be a red delicious tree, and would NEVER bear crabapple fruit, and therefore, never a crabapple seed.

Same with this. You could graft an orange to a lemon rootstock, or a lemon onto a lime tree, etc, and the branch, whatever it is, will not swap genetic information with the rootstock. Lemon fruit taken from the lime rootstock would always be lemon, and give lemon seeds. (barring that you don't have lemon and lime on the same tree, in which case you 'might' get something funky if there's cross pollenation, but that's a different subject, and not something you'll usually find with nursery grafted trees)

So take some grapefruit from the tree, extract the seeds, and plant without fear. You will indeed have grapefruit tree sprouts.

Most grafts are done either because a particular cultivar's root system might not be the greatest, so they're grafted to something more hardy, because of a root system's penchant for certain diseases, or because a young tree has suffered damage, and it's a way to save it.

hope this helps.
post #12 of 14
It said what you mentioned in link i made for him in earlier post and i will P.M. BigSteve when he gets back from vacation if he doesnt read your post-excellent advice in my opinion.
post #13 of 14
Air layering is the answer. It's relatively simple and the fruit is identical to the host tree. Good luck. Oh, and by the way, air layering can be used on almost any plant. I've done it on camilias, azalias, and other plants.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the additional information guys, it's all greatly appreciated!
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