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Use of flying dragon trifoliate orange as dwarfing rootstock for citrus under tropical climatic conditions

Mademba-Sy F., Lemerre Desprez Z., Lebegin S.. 2012. HortScience, 47 (1) : p. 11-17.

Citrus fruit trees grown under tropical climatic conditions have a high level of vigor and, consequently, late fruit-bearing and low productivity. The use of Flying Dragon trifoliate orange [Poncirus trifoliata var. monstrosa (T.Itô) Swing.] (FD) rootstock could overcome these negative effects by inducing small trees with early production. Trials including eight commercial cultivars began in Dec. 1992 on an irrigated plot on the main island of New Caledonia (South Pacific). Growth of the trees was observed over a 13-year period through twice-yearly measurements of tree height, canopy between and in the rows, and trunk diameter. Fruit production was recorded beginning 2 years after planting. According to the climatic and pedological conditions of the experimental site, trees grafted on FD could, depending on cultivar, be planted in densities from 519 to 1111 trees/ha. Over the 13 years, yields were 0.5 to 2.8 times greater than those of the same cultivar on the standard rootstock. "Tahiti" lime cumulative planting and maintenance costs were only 1.5 times higher for a density five times as great, and the level of productivity per hectare (gross margin/ha) was 3.3 times that of traditional orchards. Grafting citrus cultivars on FD, which is seldom used in the Mediterranean zone as a result of its excessive dwarfing effect in relation with the climatic conditions, could prove, on the other hand, promising in tropical areas.

Mots-clés : essai de variété; coût de production; productivité; qualité; porte greffe; poncirus trifoliata; citrus; nouvelle-calédonie

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