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Fruit Salad Trees
image Why bother with having a tree in your backyard that grows just oranges, or just lemons, when you can have one tree that simultaneously grows peaches, apricots, plums, and nectarines or oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, tangellos, grapefruit, and pomellos? What you need is a Fruit Salad Tree from the Fruit Salad Tree Company. My wife insists these have to be a joke, arguing that everyone would already have a fruit salad tree if they were really possible to buy. I, on the other hand, think they're real... maybe because I don't know much about botany. But I figure they're just grafting different types of trees together. (via About.com's urban legends forum)
Food
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 23, 2004
These trees are real, they are parts of different fruit trees grafted onto a base of a particular type of tree that I cannot remember the name of. I have seen these in catalogs (seed and others) for over fifteen years, actually. They require special care, and I have yet to buy one, but I would like to. I was pretty stunned at first, too!
Posted by Kathy Johnston  in  CA USA  on  Fri Jul 23, 2004  at  02:37 PM
Such trees exist, but only certain kinds of trees can be grafted to each other. Oranges and lemons, for example, can be grafted in this fasion, but not apples and oranges. If this company has truly succeeded in grafting such unrelated plants together successfully, I'll be really amazed. But I will note that all the fruits listed DO grow on trees, so if it is a hoax, the hoaxer did his homework.
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Fri Jul 23, 2004  at  07:30 PM
They appear to be grafting related fruits together (i.e. different apples on one tree, different citrus on one tree, etc.), which is perfectly feasible. The company is not claiming to mix types of unrelated fruit together (as implied by PlantPerson). I've owned an apple tree with 4 varieties grafted on, and it is normal for apples to be grafted onto crabapple roots and pears onto quince roots, for example. I think this is real.
Posted by Eric Littley  on  Fri Jul 23, 2004  at  07:59 PM
These are different fruits of the same family. I had a cherry tree like that, it didnt require special care and to the best of my knowledge is still going strong. I moved
Posted by Amy  in  Rochester NY  on  Sat Jul 24, 2004  at  02:57 AM
On their site (backing up the previous information) in the FAQ there is a question:

Is there special care needed for multi-graft trees?
Posted by ManiacalV  on  Sat Jul 24, 2004  at  09:57 AM
On the cartoon show Futurama there was a fruit tree salad, so if this is, indeed, a hoax (although I also tend to think it's not), that could be where the inspiration for it came from.
Posted by Goo  in  Dexter. Maine  on  Sat Jul 24, 2004  at  11:49 AM
I actually posted before I actually looked at the site, and after looking at it, I'm pretty sure it's real.
Posted by PlantPerson  on  Sat Jul 24, 2004  at  08:52 PM
It is entirely possible, botanically, to create the kinds of trees offered by this nursery. Note that orchard fruits (peaches, plums, apricots, and nectarines) are offered on separate trees from citrus fruits (orange, lemons, limes, grapefruit). That is because grafting is generally done with plants of closely related species. Orchard fruits are closely related members of the Rosaceae (rose) family. Citrus fruits are closely related members of the Rutaceae (rue or citrus) family.

In horticultural practice, nearly all of these fruits are routinely grown on grafted rootstocks in commercial orchards. To graft plants, you take a "slip" (stem or twig cutting) and slice the cut end in a narrow wedge to expose the vascular tissue (what you might call its "veins." You then slice into a stub of rootstock to expose its vascular tissue. The slip is inserted into the rootstock, and usually tied together with a bit of tape or string to ensure that the tissues remain in contact. Over time, if the graft is kept clean and is done properly, the tissues meld together and scar tissue forms and the root and the slip become "one."

The rootstock is chosen from a related species to the slip. The rootstock often is chosen to provide certain qualities or characteristics to the plant. For example, in the USA, "wild orange" rootstock lends cold-hardiness to citrus, making it possible to grow oranges in areas that receive occasional freezing temperatures. Left to grow on its own, the wild orange rootstock bears bitter or sour oranges which are inedible as dessert fruit. Thus, sweet oranges, which are less cold hardy, are grafted onto the rootstock to offer the best of both worlds.

The plants offered by this nursery are simply rootstocks onto which several grafts have been made, each graft being of a different type of fruit.

I have personal knowledge that a tree bearing 5 types of citrus fruit is possible, because in my college horticulture class I grafted 5 types of citrus fruit onto a citrus rootstock as a lab assignment.

My grandfather was very proud of a camellia in his garden that had been grafted to bloom in 3 colors: red, white, and red-white streaked blossoms.

Whether the trees that are offered will really bear all 5 kinds of fruit is debatable. Limes and grapefruits have slightly different optimal growing conditions. Arguably, it would be difficult to provide one plant with the conditions conducive to fruit production for all 5 fruits (water, fertilizer, temperature, seasonal sun variations, etc.) Also, some grafts tend to grow more vigorously than others and over time one or more grafts may die off, leaving only 2 or 3 living grafts that might bear fruit.

The verdict on this? Botanically, not a hoax at all. As a gimmick or conversation starter, one of these trees would be kind of cute. However, as a real way of cultivating fruit for use in a fruit salad, it is probably not optimal.

Also, whenever
Posted by Betsy Kane  in  Southeast USA  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  03:29 AM
I have one in my yard. Grapefruits, lemons, & oranges. Although, it takes quite a while for citrus trees to mature, so everything sort of tastes like lemons...but then again, that could be the only thing maturing right now. We're not sure if the grapefruits are white or pink yet.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, Florida-USA  on  Mon Jul 26, 2004  at  03:11 PM
I've got a hundred-year-old tree at my farm that seems to have seven different kinds of apples on it. Is it possible to grow different kinds of fruits onto trees? I tend to believe so. We once had a tree that was grafted with mulberry branches. It lasted, and produced berries for about a year, but died later on. It was grafted onto a tree that was definitly NOT mulberry.
Posted by Cali  in  Georgetown ON  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  12:47 AM
As several people have noted, it is entirely possible to graft branches of several (or even many) different kinds of fruit (or nut) trees onto one rootstock, so long as the trees you graft together are reasonably close relatives (for example, plums, nectarines, peaches, and apricots; or oranges, lemons, tangerines, and limes). This isn't a new trick at all; farmers and gardeners have been doing it for centuries. However, it's more of a novelty than a practical way to grow fruit. One problem is that the diffrent fruits will generally ripen at different times, so you can't really make mixed fruit salad unless you freeze most of the fruit. A more serious difficulty is that some or all of the grafted-on branches will probably be rather tender and likely to die back and leave you with whatever the hardy rootstock was. And, as Betsy observes, the ideal climatic conditions for one fruit are usually not the same as those for another species, or even for another variety of the same species.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Tue Jul 27, 2004  at  06:46 PM
I am interested in a 5 fruit citrus tree. Where could I get one?
Posted by Ruth Anderson  in  Vista, CA  on  Fri Jan 14, 2005  at  09:32 PM
They are very real! Most gardening websites that offer them advise you ahead of time that the fruits will ripen at different times of the year.. but the good thing about that is you will have fruits throughout most of the spring/summer season, although they may be different types.

You can order directly from the company:
http://www.fruitsaladtrees.com/

Or you can order from this website (cheaper), but these are only the plumb/nectarine/peach/tangerine varieties, no citrus that I could find.. good price though: http://www.gardenerschoice.net/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=53

I think you can also find them from sellers on eBay...
Posted by Kelly  in  Ohio  on  Thu Feb 24, 2005  at  03:06 PM
These trees are indeed real. My mother grew up in Emmaville (where this company is based) and her dad grew up out on the Gulf rd, which is where this company is located. We actually drove past it (we went to the house where my Grandpa grew up for his birthday the year before he died).
It is surprising to me that these trees are not more popular, there are some in and around the Emmaville area, but they haven't seemed to spread far, perhaps more advertising is needed.
Posted by Edward King  in  Australia  on  Thu Aug 18, 2005  at  07:12 PM
Is it safe to order on gardeners choice? I want to order one for my school project but i want to make sure that trhe gardener's choice one is not a hoax. Thx! ^^ if possible, plz email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Thank you !
Posted by ProjectDoer  in  Canada  on  Tue May 02, 2006  at  02:21 PM
Walmart sells them at their store. You can get cherries, apples and peach/plum/cots. The cherries and apples are all the same fruit but different types. The peach has two types plus plums, apricots and nectarines. All at Walmart for about $19.99 each. Home depot sells the multigrafted citrus but I havent seen them in a year or two.
Posted by Ted D  in  Northern Calif  on  Wed Feb 21, 2007  at  06:27 PM
I just order two of these trees from gardeners' Choice...Will post later when and if the trees arrive.
Posted by LoveToExperiment  on  Mon Mar 05, 2007  at  05:40 PM
These trees are real...some companies just make the stonefruit trees....some also make citrus ones too...My hairdresser has one of the stone fruit ones and it is fabulous!! I HAVE SEEN IT...IT IS NOT A HOAX.
Posted by L. J. Hansen  in  Santa Clarita, CA  on  Tue Mar 20, 2007  at  11:37 PM
THESE TREES ARE REAL... I HAVE GOT THE CITRUS ONE PLANTED ALREADY AT HOME. IT GROWS 2 TYPES OF ORANGES, MANDARINS, LEMONS, AND POMELLOS. GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT BEFORE POSTING THINGS UP SAYING THAT THEY ARE A HOAX!!
Posted by Olivia  in  Australia  on  Mon May 21, 2007  at  11:35 PM
I just bought a citrus tree with 5 fruits. Naval and Valencia Orange, Mandarine, Bearrs Lime and Meyers Lemon. These comes with fruits already. I planted it two weeks ago. Cant wait to taste them.
Ben
Posted by LoveToExperiment  in  Orange County, California  on  Tue May 22, 2007  at  12:23 PM
I would just like to warn you to be careful when ordering from gardeners choice. I have ordered from them once, and the plants were nearly dead when they got here, shipping took forever as well. Have looked up their site on Garden Watchdog, and they are listed as being a bad place to do business with, people have never recieved their orders, and several have contacted the attn general of the state in which they are based.


Starstryker
Posted by Starstryker  in  SE, Texas  on  Tue May 22, 2007  at  02:21 PM
PROOF!!!...Mine is plum/apricot/peach...has been growing for 4 years...this year is our best crop...delicious fruit
<img >
Posted by Eileena  on  Sun Jun 24, 2007  at  12:39 AM
I am looking for the citrus tree.
Posted by Rick Bateman  in  Sacramento  on  Mon Nov 19, 2007  at  06:54 PM
I've seen the Citrus Fruit Salad Tree at the nursery I get my plants from and I'm purchasing it as a gift for my boyfriend and his kids to plant at their new house. I really just want to know how they do this? je
Posted by Jeanette  in  Los Angeles  on  Wed Dec 05, 2007  at  11:55 PM
Our lemon tree is slowly dieing. That's always the problem with the exotic plants.
Posted by Hannah Montana  on  Mon Apr 07, 2008  at  05:22 AM
they are real... my friend ordered one and has it growing.
Posted by Alex  in  newfoundland  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  11:30 AM
I just recieved 2 fruit salad trees today!!!I was wondering how long does it take to produce fruit?
Posted by Lisa  on  Wed Apr 22, 2009  at  05:16 PM
i have a fruit salad tree in my back yard that when it arrived it seem to be a "stick with roots" thinking, this won't make it...i've had too many experiences with losses figuring, ain't gonna happen! to my surprise, three years later, it has not only survived, but it looks healthy, sprouted many, many branches and reaches about 9 feet tall. it also has these thorny looking things all over it. however, i was trying to find info about caring for it and wondering when i'll see the fruit. is there anyone who might know? thanks!
Posted by Kim Whitehead  in  Westminster, Maryland  on  Sat Jul 18, 2009  at  11:02 AM
Kim, you mentioned that your tree has "thorny things", which leaves me to believe that your fruit salad tree is a citrus fruit salad tree?
It is possible that the rootstock has overtaken the grafts, that the many branches you say have sprouted are rootstock growth. You can tell this by looking at the leaves, if they are tri lobed, then I am afraid to say they are rootstock.
Posted by Jean Boundy  in  Australia  on  Mon Nov 23, 2009  at  10:49 PM
Is there anything We can add to the ground of our citrus tress to make the fruit sweeter - particularly the tangerine and a pink grapefruit?Thank you Virginia
Posted by Virginia Bridges  in  CA  on  Thu Feb 18, 2010  at  09:02 PM
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