What You Need To Know About Melon Grafting

Merging Melons

Grafting has become a routine technique in continuous cropping systems in many parts of the world. It was first introduced in Korea and Japan during the late 1920s by grafting watermelon onto bottle gourd rootstocks to address the problems of declining yield due to soilborne disease in plants.

It is estimated that more than half of the world’s watermelons and cucumbers are produced in China and more than 90% of these are grafted. Use of rootstocks can enhance plant vigor through attaining soil nutrients, avoiding soil pathogens, and tolerating low soil temperatures, salinity, and wet-soil conditions.

The type of rootstock used has been shown to affect cucurbit plant growth, yield, and fruit quality. Cucurbit grafting is rare in the U.S., but with quality farmland becoming scarcer, and since the phaseout of methyl bromide, the U.S. cucurbit industry is looking at grafting as a viable option. In fact, some seed companies now offer watermelon transplants grafted onto squash or bottle gourd rootstocks.

Examining The Plant

In 2007 and 2008, four southern states joined forces to examine grafted watermelon plants. Two commercial cultivars and seven different rootstocks were grafted on each of these cultivars at each location.

Yields and quality were assessed. The results saw no difference in yields or fruit shape and size of melons produced. In addition, there were no differences in sugar levels and internal defects. However, there were differences in flesh firmness. All grafted plants produced firmer flesh. There also were differences in rootstocks.

In particular, the squash rootstock was found to be the firmest, followed by the gourd rootstock. Growers typically are interested in the firmer flesh because it lasts longer and doesn’t decay in the field. The fresh-cut industry also is interested in the firmest fruit because it has less juice. Processors don’t want juice to accumulate in the bottom of fruit containers.

Grafting Procedures

One big factor in producing a grafted transplant is the labor cost. At present, the price tag on such a transplant is about $1. This is in comparison to 25¢ for a non-grafted transplant. Various grafting methods and procedures have been developed to reduce those costs and transplant growers must choose which method produces the highest quality transplants at the lowest price for their operation.

Grafting methods vary considerably with the crops being grown, rootstock material selected, and scion material chosen. Just as important a consideration is the growth stage needed for both the rootstock and scion material needed for the graft to be successful.

For example, the grafting method called “hole insertion graft” would be convenient for watermelons because of their small seedling size compared to the size of the rootstock seedling. This method, however, only works with the gourd rootstock. Four methods have been evaluated: approach graft, hole insertion graft, one cotyledon graft, and hypocotyl graft.

Each graft requires different materials as well as different procedures in order for it to be successful. Just as important as the grafting procedure is the post-grafting care. Growers must place their grafted plants into a healing chamber. They must remember to maintain the grafted plants at 77°F and 100% humidity in the chamber for five to seven days prior to moving them into the greenhouse.

Leave a Reply

6 comments on “What You Need To Know About Melon Grafting

  1. Dear Sir.
    Hello
    I am Dr. Melad Helmy Zaky from Arab Republic of Egypt- Africa.
    I’m currently working a Director of protected cultivation at Agriculture Research Center (A.R.C.) in Egypt.
    I am currently established a major project of grafting seedlings of watermelon and cantaloupe, cucumbers and tomatoes on resistance rootstock to Fusarium wilt, Verticillium wilt, Monosporascus sudden wilt, Bacterial wilt , root-knot nematode, downy mildew disease, low and high temperature tolerance and soil salinity.
    So this project required an integrated system of vegetables grafting technique contains the following equipment as the following:
    1 – Modern nursery greenhouse (24 x 40 m) with fully equipped with modern facilities, especially modern benches and mist irrigation over the trays and control the temperature (heating and cooling) devices and increase relative humidity, and electric heaters to warm the roots of seedlings and their means of lighting control and shading device for evaporation and sulfur resistance to insects and diseases.
    2 – Greenhouse for grafting seedlings containing semi and fully-automated grafting robots for grafted watermelon and cantaloupe, cucumbers and tomatoes seedlings and equipped with the special needs of clips and trays that enough to the needs of the previous greenhouse nursery and equipped with modern facilities, especially modern benches and mist irrigation.
    3 – Modern greenhouse containing a modern healing and acclimatization chamber and equipped with means of control the humidity, temperature and measuring devices for that (automatically) and the means of modern mist irrigation.
    4 – Rootstock used to grafted seedlings of watermelon and cantaloupe, cucumbers, tomatoes for the previous characters.
    So I hope to send all data, pictures and the prices of these items and explain the shipping costs and Installation costs.
    I hope also if you have any complete systems of vegetables grafting seedlings please send it for me with the pictures.
    I also need to know the cost of training from 3 – 5 members on this grafting system for 15 days on your country.
    I hope that take-request to the keen interest of you as I intend to send a reply to the Agricultural Research Center for several days. I think also that this project will be existence of other similar projects in many parts of Egypt.
    With best wishes for the progress
    Dr. melad.
    Dr_melad_zaky@yahoo.com

    1. My name is Paraskevas and I work as an agronomist in a vegetable nursery in Greece
      recently we have established a healing chamber with no light at all, an we are providing artificial light by common fluorescent lamps.
      Soon after the plants are placed to the greenhouse they begin to collapse almost 100%
      can you help me givin your aspect assuming what is getting wrong with the procedure ?
      thank you

  2. dear Dr.
    im from Egypt
    my Ph.D thesis were about effect of grafting on yield and its components of watermelon
    by using 2 hybrids of watermelon ,7 rootstocks and 2 grafting methods tongue or hole inseration

  3. Dear Sir.
    Hello
    I am Dr. Melad Helmy Zaky from Arab Republic of Egypt- Africa.
    I’m currently working a Director of protected cultivation at Agriculture Research Center (A.R.C.) in Egypt.
    I am currently established a major project of grafting seedlings of watermelon and cantaloupe, cucumbers and tomatoes on resistance rootstock to Fusarium wilt, Verticillium wilt, Monosporascus sudden wilt, Bacterial wilt , root-knot nematode, downy mildew disease, low and high temperature tolerance and soil salinity.
    So this project required an integrated system of vegetables grafting technique contains the following equipment as the following:
    1 – Modern nursery greenhouse (24 x 40 m) with fully equipped with modern facilities, especially modern benches and mist irrigation over the trays and control the temperature (heating and cooling) devices and increase relative humidity, and electric heaters to warm the roots of seedlings and their means of lighting control and shading device for evaporation and sulfur resistance to insects and diseases.
    2 – Greenhouse for grafting seedlings containing semi and fully-automated grafting robots for grafted watermelon and cantaloupe, cucumbers and tomatoes seedlings and equipped with the special needs of clips and trays that enough to the needs of the previous greenhouse nursery and equipped with modern facilities, especially modern benches and mist irrigation.
    3 – Modern greenhouse containing a modern healing and acclimatization chamber and equipped with means of control the humidity, temperature and measuring devices for that (automatically) and the means of modern mist irrigation.
    4 – Rootstock used to grafted seedlings of watermelon and cantaloupe, cucumbers, tomatoes for the previous characters.
    So I hope to send all data, pictures and the prices of these items and explain the shipping costs and Installation costs.
    I hope also if you have any complete systems of vegetables grafting seedlings please send it for me with the pictures.
    I also need to know the cost of training from 3 – 5 members on this grafting system for 15 days on your country.
    I hope that take-request to the keen interest of you as I intend to send a reply to the Agricultural Research Center for several days. I think also that this project will be existence of other similar projects in many parts of Egypt.
    With best wishes for the progress
    Dr. melad.
    Dr_melad_zaky@yahoo.com

  4. dear Dr.
    im from Egypt
    my Ph.D thesis were about effect of grafting on yield and its components of watermelon
    by using 2 hybrids of watermelon ,7 rootstocks and 2 grafting methods tongue or hole inseration

Featured Stories
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orchards
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungicide
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award Recipient
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
Dennis P. Broadaway
CitrusFlorida Citrus Packers Bestows Association’s Highest Honor To One Of Its Own
September 1, 2015
For his dedication to the Sunshine State’s fresh citrus sector, Dennis Broadaway receives John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardSaving Citrus A Perpetual Task
September 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
Florida Ag Expo10th Annual Florida Ag Expo Field Tours To Tackle Production Challenges
September 1, 2015
There will be plenty to see and learn during the milestone event's exclusive field trials. Read More
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Congressman Supports CIDER Act
August 31, 2015
Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) spent a recent afternoon at Frecon Farms in Boyertown, PA, to tout the CIDER Act, Read More
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
Business PlanningBe Food Safety Recall-Ready [Opinion]
August 31, 2015
No one ever wants to make someone sick after consuming fresh produce, but in spite of the protocols in place, recallls happen and you must be prepared. Read More
The Latest
Apples & PearsProducts To Help Prevent Preharvest Drop In Apple Orcha…
September 1, 2015
In the latest Extension bulletin from Penn State University, James Schupp associate professor of pomology suggests several products to apply Read More
Apples & PearsMarvin Sundquist Dies At 89
September 1, 2015
Marvin Sundquist, the retired owner of Sundquist Fruit and Cold Storage, died on Aug. 29 at the age of 89, Read More
Apples & PearsSyngenta Receives EPA Registration For Solatenol  Fungi…
September 1, 2015
The fungicide is available in four product offerings, pending state registrations. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardPero Family Farms Is The 2015 Grower Achievement Award …
September 1, 2015
The farm family that runs this Delray Beach-FL based operation develops, produces, packages, and markets its fresh-cut products while continuing to think outside the box. Read More
Dennis P. Broadaway
CitrusFlorida Citrus Packers Bestows Association’s Highest Ho…
September 1, 2015
For his dedication to the Sunshine State’s fresh citrus sector, Dennis Broadaway receives John T. Lesley Award for Excellence. Read More
Citrus Achievement AwardSaving Citrus A Perpetual Task
September 1, 2015
Orie Lee, the 2015 Citrus Achievement Award winner, talks about how growing citrus has changed in his lifetime and how it hasn't. Read More
Florida Ag Expo10th Annual Florida Ag Expo Field Tours To Tackle Produ…
September 1, 2015
There will be plenty to see and learn during the milestone event's exclusive field trials. Read More
Apples & PearsPennsylvania Congressman Supports CIDER Act
August 31, 2015
Freshman Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) spent a recent afternoon at Frecon Farms in Boyertown, PA, to tout the CIDER Act, Read More
Oriental Fruit fly
CitrusExotic Fruit Flies Invade South Florida
August 31, 2015
Efforts are under way to eradicate pest that attacks more than 230 different fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Read More
Business PlanningBe Food Safety Recall-Ready [Opinion]
August 31, 2015
No one ever wants to make someone sick after consuming fresh produce, but in spite of the protocols in place, recallls happen and you must be prepared. Read More
Crop ProtectionSustainable Options For Controlling Brown Marmorated St…
August 31, 2015
A researcher from Rutgers University offers pointers to help you control this pest of fruits and vegetables. Read More
CitrusNominations Open For Next Class Of Florida Citrus Hall …
August 31, 2015
Inductees to be honored during the 54th annual Citrus Celebration Luncheon. Read More
CitrusWhole-Farm Revenue Protection Insurance To Be Available…
August 31, 2015
USDA offers greater flexibility for beginning, organic and fruit and vegetable growers. Read More
Cucurbits8 Must-Have Melons
August 31, 2015
This month’s variety specs feature focuses on the latest cantaloupe and melon varieties. Some of the features highlighted include disease Read More
drought management; irrigation; water management
CitrusClear Up Misconceptions About Water Use In Ag
August 31, 2015
Those in the industry need to to clear up misconceptions about water use in agriculture. Read More
FruitsNew Airless Tire For Center Pivots
August 31, 2015
Aperture design provides flexibility over ridges to help prevent overloading of the drive train. Read More
Stone FruitHow Canopy Structures Can Affect Sweet Cherry Productiv…
August 31, 2015
We have previously explored orchard cover technologies to modify climatic risks in sweet cherry production, such as rain-cracking and spring Read More
Fruits6 Tips To Avoid Postharvest Losses
August 31, 2015
Avoiding postharvest losses essentially comes down to knowing what techniques to employ, and what to evade throughout each link in Read More