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.
    [email protected]

    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.
    [email protected]

  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
A herbicide screening trial in a non-bearing almond orchard treated in early January 2011.  The middle plot is a glyphosate-only program whereas the foreground and background plots had residual herbicides.  The photo was taken four months after the January treatments. (Photo credit UCANR)
Nuts
May 31, 2016
Keep Resistant Weeds At Bay While Not Breaking The Bank
Rather than focusing all of a pre-emergent spray program in the winter to attack winter-emerging weeds, University of California Cooperative Read More
potato late blight leaves
Crop Protection
May 31, 2016
A Preventive Approach Reduces Infection Risk In Potatoes
Conditions favoring disease development and spread have led to the establishment of early warning or forecast programs for late blight and early blight. Read More
An aerial photo shows a checkerboard pattern of the cover crop project at the experiment station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm. Credit: Rich Smith, University of New Hampshire
Crop Protection
May 31, 2016
Radish Cover Crop Suppresses Weeds, Boosts Yields
In trials conducted at the University of New Hampshire, the cover crop was consistently among the highest biomass-producing treatments in the fall. Read More
Susan Driscoll of Surterra Therapeutics holding a cannabis plant in her company's cultivation facility
Citrus
May 31, 2016
Cannabis Cultivation Quest Becoming Reality For Florida Nurseries
Planning, preparations finally giving way to production and dispensing of ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ Read More
Contour Farming
Farm Management
May 31, 2016
8 Ways To Make Your Farm More Sustainable
Several practices can help ensure profit and leave the land in better shape for the next generation. Read More
Tom Stenzel, President and CEO, United Fresh Produce Association, talks with members of the French Delegation, detailing United Fresh’s work to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables at schools across the country.
Fruits
May 30, 2016
‘Fresh Attitude Week’ Promotes Variety In Fruits And Vegetables In School Meals
The largest U.S. urban school districts host weeklong celebration, Fresh Attitude Week, which highlights fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutrition education activities. Read More
The team at Lamont Fruit Farms  takes a progressive approach to staffing. “Give people the opportunity to excel,” Jose Iniguez says. “If our employees want it, we give them the chance.”
Apples & Pears
May 30, 2016
Is Your Orchard Ready For Mechanization?
Automation is on the horizon, and it would be beneficial if you’re planting with that in mind. Read More
high denisty apple orchard washington
Apples & Pears
May 29, 2016
Orchard Systems Matter With Mechanization
“It takes years to turn orchards from a big, wild 3-D tree to a narrow canopy — a lot of Read More
upclose of Israeli apple harvester
Fruits
May 28, 2016
Orchard Automation Is On The Horizon
Industry experts say the advent of fully automated orchard tasks are on the cusp of happening — with a few companies leading the automotive harvest charge. Read More
IFTA Washington Day3 6
Apples & Pears
May 27, 2016
Washington Apple Commission Elects New Leaders
The commission board also approved the export budget of $7.7 million for the upcoming 2016-17 crop, based on a crop of 135 million cartons. Read More
The Latest
Nuts
May 31, 2016
Keep Resistant Weeds At Bay While Not Br…
Rather than focusing all of a pre-emergent spray program in the winter to attack winter-emerging weeds, University of California Cooperative Read More
Crop Protection
May 31, 2016
A Preventive Approach Reduces Infection …
Conditions favoring disease development and spread have led to the establishment of early warning or forecast programs for late blight and early blight. Read More
Crop Protection
May 31, 2016
Radish Cover Crop Suppresses Weeds, Boos…
In trials conducted at the University of New Hampshire, the cover crop was consistently among the highest biomass-producing treatments in the fall. Read More
Citrus
May 31, 2016
Cannabis Cultivation Quest Becoming Real…
Planning, preparations finally giving way to production and dispensing of ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ Read More
Farm Management
May 31, 2016
8 Ways To Make Your Farm More Sustainabl…
Several practices can help ensure profit and leave the land in better shape for the next generation. Read More
Fruits
May 30, 2016
‘Fresh Attitude Week’ Promot…
The largest U.S. urban school districts host weeklong celebration, Fresh Attitude Week, which highlights fresh fruits and vegetables and other nutrition education activities. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 30, 2016
Is Your Orchard Ready For Mechanization?
Automation is on the horizon, and it would be beneficial if you’re planting with that in mind. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 29, 2016
Orchard Systems Matter With Mechanizatio…
“It takes years to turn orchards from a big, wild 3-D tree to a narrow canopy — a lot of Read More
Fruits
May 28, 2016
Orchard Automation Is On The Horizon
Industry experts say the advent of fully automated orchard tasks are on the cusp of happening — with a few companies leading the automotive harvest charge. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 27, 2016
Washington Apple Commission Elects New L…
The commission board also approved the export budget of $7.7 million for the upcoming 2016-17 crop, based on a crop of 135 million cartons. Read More
Farm Management
May 27, 2016
California Drought Far From Over
To preserve orchards and vineyards, growers are expected to fallow up to 350,000 acres of corn, wheat, cotton and alfalfa. Read More
Apples & Pears
May 27, 2016
How Best To Integrate Man And Machine
If you want to implement labor-saving mechanization, you should start the conversation with the end user – your employees. Read More
Farm Marketing
May 27, 2016
Consumers Don’t Really Know What G…
A study from the University of Florida confirms what many farm marketers suspected: Consumers don't understand genetically modified food and organisms as well as they think they do. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
May 27, 2016
Alabama Agriculture Department To Conduc…
Currently, Alabama is the only citrus-growing state that has not yet detected citrus greening. Read More
Insect Control
May 26, 2016
Temperature, Location Key To Predicting …
This year, leaffooted bugs are expected to be a significant problem in almonds and pistachios, but watching temperature and the Read More
Fruits
May 26, 2016
Consider Fumigating For Nematodes Before…
Stone fruit and almond growers looking to replant orchards might want to invest in soil samples to assess nematode populations Read More
Farm Marketing
May 26, 2016
Who Grows Organically — And Who Doesn…
We surveyed 816 fruit and vegetable growers and found that farm marketers and vegetable growers are much more likely than their peers to embrace the practice. Read More
Farm Marketing
May 26, 2016
Farm Dinners: Your Most Powerful Marketi…
Farm dinners are a hassle. They’re expensive. And ridiculously effective. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]