Question for the Fruit Tree lovers.
I have a very healthy Imperial Mandarin tree grafted on dwarf stock that has never flowered or fruited. It has been in the ground for 5 years, has no disease or insect problems and is green and strong and about 2 meters tall. It gets plenty of sun and water and the occasional fertiliser. Beside it is a Pomegranate tree and a Lemonade tree that are always in fruit.
Is this normal for a mandarin or do I need to give it some special attention?
Thanks in advance,
Hi Stuart (@Stuardo),
Whenever someone says that they have a very healthy fruit tree that doesn't flower or fruit all, my first thought is that the growing stock overtook the grafted variety and what you have now is the growing stock that might not even flower. It's bred for its growing traits and likely why the tree looks so healthy. However, your tree could just need a low-nitrogen fertilizer, which helps induce blooming. Though if it has never bloomed, that makes me a bit suspicious of an overgrown graft.
The other thing that is a little unusual is that growth. I wouldn't say that upward shooting growth is necessarily a notable trait of dwarf variety citruses. I'd expect to see at least some horizontal growth.
Can you take a photo of the grafted section? There should be a definitive line close to the soil. Is any of this lush growth coming from below the graft line?
I think you hit the nail on the head. I can’t even see the graft but there are 3 shoots and I assume they would not have grafted 3 plants here. One must be the real Imperial Mandarin but how to tell is the big question?
HHmmm, do I dig it up and return it to Bunnings, no the receipt is long gone. I guess it is going into the compost and I buy another one and start again.
I'd imagine the graft line would be where those three shoots are appearing from, and their girth has blended the area, so it's now indistinguishable. There's a reasonably good chance that the graft, which would have been in the centre of these three shoots, has died off. Do all three of the shoots exhibit the same growth?
Is there a fourth shoot, or is this a branch off the side of one of these three shoots?
I'm inclined to agree with Mitchell in saying the top growth you have looks like rootstock, not the grafted mandarin. It is far too vigorous and upright for a dwarf citrus. Given its size and the lack of flowering to this time, removal sounds like a plan.
When planting and growing any grafted tree, it is essential to watch for a immediately remove any shoots that appear from below the graft. Rootstocks are usually far more vigorous than the desired top variety and will easily overtake it. Sometimes within 12 months the grafted variety has been completely swamped and died out as it is out-competed for nutrients by the rootstock. Vigilance from the time of purchase is essential.
Agree 100%. Rootstock has taken over. Could in-fact be three rootstock shoots & the original grafted variety is gone.
If the original is there then chances are it would have distinctly different leaf form to the other two.
If the rootstock has won the battle then... time for a new tree I'm afraid.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, @Stuardo, but it looks like this one is unfortunately done for. I'm sure that's not what you wanted to hear, and no doubt would be disappointed after the plant appeared to be growing so well.
Know anyone that has an Imperial Mandarin and would be willing to sacrifice some branches? Perhaps this could be an excellent opportunity to try your hand at grafting.
Thank you everyone for the information and support. I was so proud of how well that tree grew and waiting patiently for the first fantastic crop of mandarins I was sure it would produce. Maybe I will try my hand at grafting, that's a good idea and what have I got to lose?
On a positive note that is a very healthy and strong rootstock they used.
Your graft looks fine, so I suspect other reasons for the plant not flowering.
Does it not flower at all, or do the flowers not set and drop off? What are you fertilising your plant with, and how often?