Citrus rootstocks for Western Australia

Page last updated: Tuesday, 24 November 2020 - 8:09am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Selecting the right rootstock for your orchard is one of the most important decisions you will have to make.

There is no such thing as the perfect rootstock. Selection is a matter of determining which stock will perform best in each situation. Incompatible rootstock and variety combinations can lead to tree decline, lack of productivity and tree death in the future.

Features of commonly used rootstocks are described on this page.

Selecting rootstocks

Selecting the right rootstock for your orchard is very important. A healthy root system that is compatible with your chosen variety and well suited to its environment is essential if your orchard is to be a success (see Tables 1 and 2).

Rootstocks should be selected for their:

  • ability to perform under your soil and climatic conditions
  • resistance to pests and diseases
  • compatibility with the variety you are planting
  • positive impact on fruit yield and quality.

To choose the right rootstock you need to have all the relevant information. Factors which will impact on the performance of different rootstocks in your situation include:

  • soil type and structure, depth, drainage, pH and salt content
  • pests and diseases
  • whether it is replant or virgin soil
  • climatic conditions expected, for example, extreme summer and winter temperatures (frosts etc.)
  • water quality (salt and pH) and the type of irrigation system (sprinklers, drippers)
  • compatibility with the variety you intend to grow.
Table 1 Fruit quality characteristics of commonly used citrus rootstocks in WA
Rootstock Fruit size Rind thickness Rind texture Fruit maturity Sugar content Acid content Juice content
Trifoliata med-large thin-med smooth-med mid-late high high high
Troyer citrange medium thin-med smooth-med mid med-high med-high high
Rough lemon large med-thick coarse early low low low-med
Volkameriana med-large med-thick med-coarse early low low low-med
Swingle citrumelo med-large thin-med smooth-med mid-late med-high med-high high
Sweet orange medium medium medium mid medium medium medium
Cleopatra mandarin small-med thin-med medium mid medium medium medium
Table 2 Soil type suitability and phytophthora resistance of common citrus rootstocks in WA
Rootstock Salinity tolerance Calcium (alkalinity) tolerance Suitability for sandy soils Suitability for loamy soils Suitability for poorly drained soils Phytophthora resistance
Trifoliata low low poor good good high
Troyer citrange medium low good good average-good med-high
Rough lemon low medium good average poor low
Volkameriana low medium good average poor low
Swingle citrumelo medium low average good good med-high
Sweet orange medium high average average poor very low
Cleopatra mandarin high high average good average medium


Prior to planting, obtain a comprehensive soil survey, including a soil profile description, of proposed orchard sites. This will help in rootstock selection and overall planning and management of the orchard.

When purchasing trees, ensure that they are free of major viroids and other diseases. Rootstock seed should come from a reliable source.

Budwood for propagation should be sourced from Auscitrus to ensure freedom from exocortis viroid (CEV) and other viroids that can affect tree health and vigour. Nurseries should be certified free of major diseases and have a good reputation for consistently producing high quality trees.