Comparison of field performance of citrus trees on rootstocks propagated by seedlings,
cuttings, and tissue culture

Comparison of field performance of citrus trees on rootstocks propagated by seedlings, cuttings, and tissue culture

Report Date: 08/08/2022
Project: 18-028C   Year: 2022
Category: Plant Improvement
Author: Ute Albrecht
Sponsor: Citrus Research and Development Foundation

 This project addressed CPDC priority 3.C. “Evaluate rootstock performance derived from tissue culture compared with conventional propagation materials”. The purpose of the project was to determine whether the method of rootstock propagation impacts growth and performance of grafted field-grown citrus trees. Four field trials were established in different production regions. One field trial was established at SWFREC (Collier County) in 2017 and included different rootstock cultivars in combination with Valencia scion. The rootstocks had been propagated from seed and vegetatively by cuttings and tissue culture. Two more field trials were established with grower collaborators on a central ridge site in Polk County and on a flatwoods-type site in Hendry County in April 2018. These trials also consisted of Valencia scion in combination with different rootstocks generated by seed, cuttings, or tissue culture. An additional field trial was established in November 2019 in Indian River County. We conducted detailed measurements on above-ground tree traits using standard horticultural methods of evaluation. We also examined the roots structures in detail by excavating trees at the SWFREC and Indian River County location. The overall objective of the project was to investigate effects of rootstock propagation method and the interaction with rootstock on root structure and tree performance during the early years of growth in the field. The project was designed to help growers and citrus nurseries resolve concerns about the quality of citrus trees propagated by methods other than by seed, specifically tissue culture. After three years of field growth, we did not measure any differences in tree growth, health, and productivity due to the rootstock propagation method that may raise concerns against using cuttings or tissue culture propagated trees in commercial citrus production. In contrast to the propagation method, the rootstock cultivar had a considerable influence on tree growth and productivity, reiterating the importance of choosing the proper rootstock for each production site. Regardless of how the rootstocks are propagated, it is strongly recommended to purchase only high-quality trees from registered citrus nurseries, inspect root structures prior to transplanting, use proper planting practices, and good tree care when establishing a new grove. Results from this project were disseminated in numerous extension presentations, trade journal articles, and peer-reviewed journal publications.  

Your browser does not support pdfs, click here to download the file.