What to Expect When Planting Fruit Trees – Orange County Register

Q: I have a Meyer lemon tree in my garden that produces tasty lemons. It is a semi-dwarf tree and I have taken several seeds from these lemons and planted them in pots where they are growing well. As these trees grow larger will they still be a semi-dwarf tree or what can I expect? Can I also expect the same lemon quality that I currently have? Also, do you have any tips on how I should proceed with growing these trees?

A: In general, if you plant a seed for a fruit tree, you are unlikely to get a tree that will produce fruit as good as the original tree. For example, if you plant seed from a commercially grown apple (one that tastes good), the resulting tree has a 99.999% chance of producing apples that taste terrible. This is due to cross-pollination – the good apple acquired random genetic material from other apple trees, and there are many more genes out there that produce mealy, tasteless fruit. If you eat an apple from an apple tree seedling, you will appreciate the tremendous amount of work that goes into plant breeding and selection!

Citrus is the exception to this rule as its seeds are polyembryonic. Put simply, this means that citrus seeds are very likely to result in trees that produce fruit that is similar in quality to the original parent tree.

Semi-dwarf trees are made by grafting a scion (a cutting of a desirable variety) onto a sturdy rootstock. These “Franconian trees” do not grow to their full size, which makes care and harvesting much easier. The hardy rootstock also protects against some soil-borne diseases and pests.

If you plant a seed of your Meyer lemon, you will likely end up with a tree that will produce Meyer lemons, but that tree will not be a semi-dwarf. Keeping the tree in a container will likely limit its size. I don’t recommend trying to graft it onto a rootstock as the rootstocks are hard to come by and even grafted citrus are more likely to spread citrus green disease. For more information on citrus blight see

Q: How can I keep raccoons off my vines?

A: Good luck with that! We’ve had vines in our side yard for years – nicely on trellises along the wooden fence that separates our yard from our neighbor’s. Every fall we’re mugged. My daughter’s bedroom window overlooks the vines and one night she heard a lot of rustling and commotion outside. She shined a flashlight on the vines and seven small masked faces looked up. We went outside to scare them away but they just kept coming back.

My recommendation is to cut off all the grapes (if there are any left). Hope they move on!


Looking for more gardening tips? Here’s how to contact the Master Gardener program in your area.

Los Angeles District

mglosangeleshelpline@ucdavis.edu; 626-586-1988;

Orange County

ucceocmghotline@ucanr.edu; 949-809-9760;

Riverside County

anrmgriverside@ucanr.edu; 951-683-6491 ext. 231;

County of San Bernardino

mgsanbern@ucanr.edu; 909-387-2182;

https://www.ocregister.com/2022/11/12/master-gardener-what-you-can-expect-when-planting-fruit-trees/ What to Expect When Planting Fruit Trees – Orange County Register

Adam Bradshaw

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