Container Citrus

wlaFarmerFebruary 2, 2012

Hey guys and gals I've got this citrus (mandarin, tangerine, I'm not sure) its a fairly old plant (at least 10 years) that was transplanted three seasons ago and relocated to its current location two years ago. It fruits all season long and is fairly tasty. I've had terrible experience with citrus but in most cases they were plants that were already in really bad shape. This plant means a lot to me and I'm looking to keep it as healthy as possible.

It had a pretty bad scale infestation but that has been dealt with for 2 full seasons. I see little other sign of distress but the leaves are still off color and always curl upward\inward. They show no sign of other deformation as far as I can tell.

Please click on the picture its there but for some reason it won't show up in the post.

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.


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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, Mike.

How are you fertilizing? And what kind of soil are you using?

My advice will probably be to fertilize and to re-pot (this Spring) in a more porous soil mix.
In containers, aeration is key.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 8:30PM
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It was originally planted in the ground years and years ago. I don't know if there was any amendment to the original soil. When I potted it I did my best to keep the root ball in tact. I amended with compost and a slow release "citrus" pellet fertilizer. I made every effort to get a good blend while not totally destroying the root ball. I have also supplemented with a liquid compost tea type fertilizer I don't recall the make or balance.

I suppose I could try repotting, its pretty large and I do worry about the root system. If I were to re pot I would likely use my home compost and a mixture of commercially available big box store type potting soil. Thoughts?

I believe I've fixed the picture link, hope this helps anyone checking this post out.



    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 9:30PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

For containers, it would be best to get rid of *all* the original "ground" soil around the root-ball.
I do not recommend using compost or any other fine particulate as a significant fraction of a container mix.

Fafard has a good line of heavyweight mixes that are predominantly made of bark.
These aren't typically available commercially, but you might find someone who will order if you want.

You could make your own soil from fir bark, perlite, and a small amount of potting soil, compost, or peat.
If this sounds like something you'd be able to do, there are several of us here who use these custom mixes.

I recommend a synthetic fertilizer for container plants.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2012 at 9:58PM
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John will be the first to let you know that it can take a while for a citrus to recover once it has been traumatized.
I would be patient and not worry to much as long as you take the advice of Josh.

Josh would be the one to guide you along in container growing to help it recover much quicker than you would think. Great suggestions Josh:-0)

Good luck with it. It looks to be a very nice tree you are dealing with there.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 7:53AM
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I appreciate your suggestion how to go about this process. I was going to start my spring planting this weekend.

My questions are should I harvest all ripe fruit and remove not yet ripe fruit? Should I trim or prune (leaves, branches or root ball) or do any prep work prior to re potting? If so how long should I wait before I do the re pot.

Thanks for the tips guys

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 11:55AM
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