The Horticulture Innovation funded project ‘Evaluation of new rootstocks for the Australian Citrus Industry – CT17002’ is led by Dr Tahir Khurshid from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Dareton Research Station. The project is focused on evaluating several overseas rootstocks budded to a range of mandarin and sweet orange varieties.
The program is spread over five Australian states with 18 trials at grower’s properties and four trials at the Dareton Research Station. One of the components is evaluating the rootstocks for their dwarfing effect, which will potentially produce small trees for high-density planting systems for the citrus industry.
As well as controlling vigour, dwarfing rootstocks must also produce high yields with promising fruit quality and large fruit size. Evaluating any of these characteristics takes time, at least 7–8 years of commercial crops after planting, before any recommendations can be made on the suitability of any rootstock/variety combination.