Does anyone grow citrus trees?

chelsea_gardener(7b)February 20, 2006

I'm moving to Alabama soon and wondering if I can grow a meyer's lemon and key lime tree in Alabama? I'm assuming that they would have to be moved into a sheltered area or greenhouse during the winter. Does anyone have any experience doing this?


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Terry, this is Terry again. I grow a calamondin and have successfully done so for several years. I have grown a regular lemon and a grapefruit as well. My little greenhouse just isn't big enough to keep them all. Yes, you'll have to bring them inside because it does get below 30*, does get into the 20s and teens and ocassionally gets below 10*.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 7:31PM
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Have a look at what this nursery has to offer.
A search on the Citrus Forum for cold-hardy citrus yields a lot of info.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 7:39AM
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birdlady_10(z7b Ala)

Terry,I have Ponderosa lemon,a mandarin,Meyer's lemon,Var. Meyer's lemon,Key Lime,satsumas,kumquats.I move them in the greenhouse during cold spells.I've had fruits on all of them.So yes you can grow them here with protection in the winter.I live in Talladega.If you need any plants when you move here I'll have plenty of all kinds.The Master Gardeners have super plant sales also.I know! I've almost bought them out several times--seems like anyway.Welcome--in advance! Jan

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 10:27PM
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It's encouraging to see that they can be grown there. Our farmers market here in Hawaii has spoiled me! I can't live without my meyers lemons and limes now.

Thanks for the warm welcome. We are looking at a house with five acres and the only plantings are at the foundation of the house. I will be in need of lots of plants and have been making lists of things I want to grow and reading the catalogs. So I will be making flower beds and plowing up a large area to grow vegetables and flowers. When we first get to town I will be living in a motel for awhile until the house closes. I will get on line and try to make contact with you. It may be early summer by the time we get settled, so I may just put some pots on the porch and have to do major planting in the fall.
I am so anxious to get started. My e-mail address is posted if you want to contact me that way. When my husband was there two weeks ago, he went up to Cheaha state park, but I don't think he got as far as Talledega.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 12:06AM
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I have a couple of Satsuma trees going on their 3rd year. They are supposed to be OK down to 19 Degrees without protection. I have not covered them at all this year and they seem fine. Great fruit too !

    Bookmark   February 23, 2006 at 5:01PM
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I think if you are bringing your trees from Hawaii that you will have to baby them. It gets HOT here in the summer sometimes over 100...It is not as humid as Hawaii but is pretty humid in summer....The soil is VERY different...

Are you planning on keeping them in pots???

Lots of Japanese Beetles...So you may want to get the pest control on them before they enter the State. I use Praying Mantis' to control the Japanese Beetles..Look on the topic "Praying Mantis' for info re that...

5 acres undeveloped......Sounds nice..Watch out for snakes they tend to like undeveloped land...Mothballs work to chase them away...The mothballs interfere with their sense of smell so they will move...Mothballs are poison so if you have young children or pets be careful. You might have some fire ants too...They cannot be eliminated unless you have horses or diligently put down fire ant poison..Some people are very allergic to fire ant bites...

You will like it here...I have been to Hawaii/Maui 3 times I would always start to get VERY nervous after 2 weeks...Island fever so I am told...I absolutely LOVE to visit Hawaii though...You will have a giant selection of plants you can grow here..

The ground is HARD....Let us know what color it is..Untilled Red Clay can be difficult to grow veggies in...
first year I tilled mine up I put horse manure and cotton hulls in it...Cotton hulls help to aerate the soil...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 7:21AM
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Aloha Scandia,
I can't bring any plants from Hawaii. You can't export anything that is in soil. I worked for a small retail nursery here and the only plants we could ship out were orchids in bark. We have praying mantis here too. I'll have to make sure to get some when we get settled in.

I will be buying some citrus trees and growing them in pots once we get to Alabama. The house we are looking at has a huge deck out back and also a wrap around porch. Eventually I hope to build a greenhouse so I could move the citrus in there for the winter.

What do horses have to do with eliminating fire ants? The house we are hoping to buy has a neighbor with pasture and several horses, so I'm sure there will be manure to mix into the soil and I'll have to search for a source for cotton hulls. It will probably take a few years to get the soil into condition. The house just has a huge lawn around it and no one has done any gardening. My husband walked the property when he was there a few weeks ago and he saw the ant hills, but he didn't tell me what type of soil the house has.

We've lived in Hilo, Hawaii now for five years and I do get "island fever" even though I get to the mainland at least once a year. I've never even been to Alabama, but I've made up my mind to love it ahead of time!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 2:29PM
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You will like it here most people are friendly....I only have one neighbor that I do not like...And it is because their dog is always in my yard.(no leash laws)And, One night I let my dog out...I always go out there and watch him...Went back in for a SECOND to get a cigarette...I smoke on my porch...When I came out he was running across the street to the neighbor over there...They were having a wild loud party...He never goes over there but he must have heard the noise and went to investigate..He LOVES people.
My front yard is long; by the time I got to the bottom of my yard I saw them (the neighbor across the street) taking MY DOG into their house..I didn't have his leash so I went back to my house to get it....By the time I got back down my LONG lawn he was running back home. When I got him in the house he was shaking and looked like someone took his best friend..THEY HAD STABBED HIM in the shoulder with a steak knife...I did call the Sheriff and filed a complaint...Took him to the Vet and he is okay...The Sherriff wanted to charge them but I did not press charges because they are my neighbors..I would never think to do something like that to their dog or any dog...I just think that is crazy...So I do not talk to them...And my dog never goes out in the front yard anymore. Other then that all my neighbors are nice..

When you get here you could find a Nursery and ask them about citrus..

Another thing I thought of is it can get WINDY here so put your trees in an area where they can be moved easily to shelter them from the wind or are sheltered somewhat from the wind.

I think the horses running around keep the fire ants down in my yard..I only have one horse now...Sold 2 recently...Maybe it is their manure in the pasture, not sure exactly why I have no fire ants in my horse pastures..Fire ants are not bad for your yard..just their bites BURN and HURT..I have never had allergic reaction to their bites. I have seen on animal planet that their bites can actually put some people in the hospital. One of my neighbors puts gasoline on her fire ant hills, then lights it...Hummmm I just put the poison on new hills and that works...

Ask your husband what color the ground was on the ant hills that should help...I have mostly red clay...Recently I started clearing a semi wild area to turn it into a flower garden...Mature trees and thicket, the ground is light brown in that area. So I think I will find someplace to test the dirt to see what it's composition is.

You can find cotton hulls for sale at any Farmer's Co-Op. Some cotton gins will give them to you for free or a small fee (dollars) in the fall.

It does take a few years of tilling and adding aeration to make the ground easier for veggies to grow. I have a lot of HUGE oak trees. I also till those leaves into my garden in fall. I always get good yields...I usually just plant 2 or 3 of each veggie...I end up giving veggies away because I get so much yield...I have had no luck with carrots, potatoes, onion, or corn (not sure why) ...Yellow squash, tomatoes, green beans, Zuccinni (spelling) melons, okra, broccoli, peppers, and cabbage have all done VERY well for me. I think nothing tastes better then your own home grown veggies...

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 10:54AM
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tinawina13(z8 Alabama)

Hi there!!! :) What part of Alabama will you be moving to?

There are several different zones here, and different parts of Alabama have very diffrent soils. My uncle has land south of Union Springs, and it is very sandy soil. However, some places have the red clay, some prarie soil. And some are very fortunate to have pretty good soil. As we all know, the soil is the root of good gardening.

There is a great nursery south of Birmingham called Petals from the Past. Jason and Shelly Powell own it and are both hortoculturist. They are both very nice and knowledgeable. Jason's dad has retired and works there now, as well as his mom too. Jason's dad was over fruit trees for the state of Alabama for years. He really knows his stuff, and can give you info. for good varieties for you particular area. They have a web site also. That is the friendliest nursery that I have ever been to. Oh yea, Mr. Arlie Powell is a specialist in satsumas! I have a kumquat that I got from them 5 years ago, and it has never been in a greenhouse, if the temps are going below 20 degrees , I make sure that it is watered, them cover it with several sheets.It is on the south side of the house to shelter it from the northerly wind. That baby bears up a storm every year!!!!!!!!!!
Gardening is Hot but good here in Alabama. Better get you alot of mosquito repelant! Ha!!!
Good luck on your move!
As always,
Happy gardening,

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 4:52AM
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delmobile(Gulf Coast)

We moved from Honolulu (3 years with military) to Mobile 15 years ago...what a culture shock it was! but we love it now. How wonderful to have 5 acres to play with---have fun and welcome!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 9:38AM
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lacleo(8b- lower AL)

What part of Alabama? We are a tall, skinny state with multiple zones. Down in Mobile, my Meyer lemon and Keylime are thriving right now. They are both covered in fragrant blooms.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 7:29PM
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angelfairy(Z-8 S.AL)

I grow Meyer Lemon/Key limes, blood oranges, can grow many tropical fruit trees here if you are willing to site them right and protect with coverings or shelter.

For the person with the dog: You didn't charge them for stabbing your dog? Couldn't believe I read that right and had to re-read it three times!!!!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 1:44PM
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here is some more information for you from an alabama cooperative extension service publication.
welcome to our state!

Here is a link that might be useful: citrus for southern and coastal alabama

    Bookmark   March 22, 2006 at 3:31PM
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For those of you growing Meyer Lemon --- is it something I can grow in a large pot? Can I leave it out in the garden until the temperature dips into the 20s and then take it into the garden shop? I live just on the border of zones 7 and 8.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 3:24AM
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Hi Terry,

Stan (The Citrusman) McKenzie specializes in cold-hardy citrus varieties. He is in South Carolina which has much the same weather as most of Alabama

I would recommend Some Satsumas, Yuzu Lemon, Changsha Mandarin and maybe a Bloomsweet Grapefruit. That will get you a good variety.

Call Stan and he will tell you what works.

Here is a link that might be useful: McKenzie Farms

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 8:15AM
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I live in Miami, Florida. Does anyone can give information from where I can get a yuzu tree?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 10:02AM
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