Integrated Use of Grafting Technology to Improve Disease Resistance and Fruit Yield in Specialty Melon Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2010: $223,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Xin Zhao
University of Florida

Annual Reports


  • Fruits: melons


  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Pest Management: cultural control
  • Production Systems: general crop production


    This multidisciplinary project was focused on integrating the grafting technology into specialty melon production for disease management and yield improvement. Different grafting methods were evaluated and a new method for cucurbit rootstock treatment was developed to enhance grafting efficiency. Rootstocks were screened and tested for effective control of Fusarium wilt in grafted specialty melon production. The Cucumis metulifer rootstocks with good graft compatibility were also identified for successfully managing root-knot nematodes in specialty melons. Significant rootstock-scion interaction effects on specialty melon fruit quality were observed. Given the high cost of grafted transplants, economic feasibility of grafted melon production needs to be determined based on site-specific conditions. 

    Project objectives:

    Objective 1. Identify effective rootstocks for managing Fusarium wilt and root-knot nematodes in grafted specialty melon production in the Southeastern US.

    Objective 2. Examine new grafting methods to reduce labor and increase production efficiency. 

    Objective 3. Assess the growth promotion, yield increase, and fruit quality in grafted melon production beyond disease resistance. 

    Objective 4. Analyze the economic costs and returns of field production of grafted melon. 

    Objective 5. Develop education and outreach programs on integrated use of grafting in sustainable production of specialty melon.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.