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

5 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
Crop ProtectionAt Paramount Farming, Mating Disruption Pays Off
February 10, 2015
To say Brad Higbee is an expert in mating disruption, the use of pheromones to confuse target pests and reduce Read More
Crop ProtectionGrower Experienced In Biocontrols Says: Be Patient
February 4, 2015
The use of biocontrols in all aspects of agriculture is becoming more widespread. But incorporating biocontrols in a vegetable farming Read More
Citrus18 Must-Have Apps For GenNext Growers
March 1, 2015
We asked about your favorite mobile applications, and here's what you had to say. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoGrowers Get The Lowdown On Cooling Crops
March 1, 2015
Demonstration shows how hydrocooling can help get the most out of fruits and vegetables once harvested. Read More
FruitsDon’t Be Afraid To Charge More For Value Of Agritainment [Opinion]
February 28, 2015
A higher admission price helps to sets a level of expectation and helps offset the costs of running a successful farm marketing operation. Read More
Apples & PearsCompany Responsible For First GMO Apples Is Sold
February 27, 2015
Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the company behind the world's first non-browning apples, fetches $41 million. Read More
Stone FruitPeach Training Systems Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All
February 27, 2015
Although pedestrian, ladderless orchards are increasing in California, growers in Pennsylvania are opting for tall V-training systems. Read More
IrrigationNo Federal Water For California’s Central Valley Growers – Again
February 27, 2015
Skimpy snowpack leads Bureau of Reclamation to make unprecedented announcement that there will be a zero initial allocation for the second year in a row. Read More
Apples & PearsThe Recession That Keeps On Taking
February 27, 2015
We’re still seeing the aftermath of the Great Recession on consumers’ purchasing habits seven years later. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardSubmit Your Nomination For The 2015 Grower Achievement Award
February 27, 2015
American Vegetable Grower magazine's annual award is designed to recognize an innovative operation that represents the spirit of excellence. Read More
FruitsMaximize Produce Profits By Focusing On Soil Health
February 27, 2015
Cover crops are just one of the ways you can help boost your trees’ and vines’ performance and your bottom line. Read More
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Program
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
The Latest
Citrus18 Must-Have Apps For GenNext Growers
March 1, 2015
We asked about your favorite mobile applications, and here's what you had to say. Read More
Florida Ag ExpoGrowers Get The Lowdown On Cooling Crops
March 1, 2015
Demonstration shows how hydrocooling can help get the most out of fruits and vegetables once harvested. Read More
FruitsDon’t Be Afraid To Charge More For Value Of Agrit…
February 28, 2015
A higher admission price helps to sets a level of expectation and helps offset the costs of running a successful farm marketing operation. Read More
Apples & PearsCompany Responsible For First GMO Apples Is Sold
February 27, 2015
Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the company behind the world's first non-browning apples, fetches $41 million. Read More
Stone FruitPeach Training Systems Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All
February 27, 2015
Although pedestrian, ladderless orchards are increasing in California, growers in Pennsylvania are opting for tall V-training systems. Read More
IrrigationNo Federal Water For California’s Central Valley Grower…
February 27, 2015
Skimpy snowpack leads Bureau of Reclamation to make unprecedented announcement that there will be a zero initial allocation for the second year in a row. Read More
Apples & PearsThe Recession That Keeps On Taking
February 27, 2015
We’re still seeing the aftermath of the Great Recession on consumers’ purchasing habits seven years later. Read More
Grower Achievement AwardSubmit Your Nomination For The 2015 Grower Achievement …
February 27, 2015
American Vegetable Grower magazine's annual award is designed to recognize an innovative operation that represents the spirit of excellence. Read More
FruitsMaximize Produce Profits By Focusing On Soil Health
February 27, 2015
Cover crops are just one of the ways you can help boost your trees’ and vines’ performance and your bottom line. Read More
FNV logo
CitrusPMA Announces Funding For Major Produce Marketing Progr…
February 26, 2015
The produce industry is getting into brand marketing in a big way. The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) has announced the launch of a new promotional campaign - FNV - designed to take a page from the marketing strategies of big-money consumer brands like Nike and Apple. Read More
GrapesWashington Winegrape Industry Announces Honors
February 26, 2015
Awards included Grower of the Year, Industry Service, Lifetime Achievement, Restaurant of the Year and Posters. Read More
GrapesSonoma Agriculture Preservation Plan Unveiled
February 26, 2015
Winegrowers’ 100-year business plan is the first of its kind in agriculture. Read More
Apples & PearsNew Plant Growth Regulator Use Expanded
February 26, 2015
Ten more states grant registrations for Fine Americas’ new Kudos PGR. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 5
February 26, 2015
Carlson lecture highlights where IFTA has been and looks to the next generation to continue the legacy. Read More
FruitsHave Faith In Science – Which Means GMOs [Opinion…
February 25, 2015
When it comes to farming, sticking with established, commonly accepted science is the way to go. Read More
Apples & PearsFrom The Road: IFTA Conference Day 4
February 25, 2015
Creating fruiting walls with mechanical hedgers can help increase light interception in the canopy, say researchers and growers. Read More
PotatoesPotato Grower Black Gold Farms Aquires George Wood Farm…
February 25, 2015
The transaction includes all production and packing operations.   Read More
Stone FruitSouth Carolina Peach Grower Honored For Produce Innovat…
February 25, 2015
Chalmers R. Carr III receives the inaugural Bayer CropScience Produce Innovation Award for focusing on quality, accessibility, and demand. Read More