Moving my potted citrus outside for the summer

ohiojenMay 8, 2012

Well, I'm getting ready to move my trees outside for some fresh air. I've got a meyer lemon, Bearss lime, a Trovita orange, Washington navel orange, and an Oroblanco grapefruit. They've done great over the winter, all have grown some, although none of them set fruit. Everything but the oranges have bloomed, but all the little fruit fell off - I wasn't surprised by this inside, but I really don't know what I'm doing, so tell me if this should concern me!

I've seen here to be careful of the light when moving them. Do I really not have to worry about temp. changes? It's going to very different at night going from our 68 to outside's 50. What if it calls for rain everyday? Spring is really wet and I don't want them to get too soggy. Any other advice? I'm planning to move them outside right next to my fence where they will have shade for about a week and then move them into partial for a week before full sun.

Thanks! You all have helped a ton with my new obsession. :)

J

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johnmerr(11)

Don't know about the others; but the Meyers are mostly sensitive to the light; temperature changes only affect the growth rate, water uptake, and if it's colder, hold off any fertilizer until the soil warms up. As for timing I would leave them 2 weeks in the shade, 2 weeks in partial shade, and then to full sun... reverse in the Fall.
The Bearss lime and oro blanco are much less sensitive... someone else may give you better advice about the oranges.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 10:18PM
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ohiojen

Thanks, John, that's helpful to know about the timing - I wasn't sure about that. There are supposed to be showers for the next five days - I may hold off. I hate to shock them too much.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:11AM
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olympia_gardener(5)

My citrus clementine, kumquats, including Meyer lemon has been outside since March. I am in Chicago a colder zone than yours. I only moved the citrus inside about couple times when the night temp. in 20's. I heard everyone talking about Meryer lemon is sensitive to light changes. They are experts, it must be true. but my meyer lemon did not have much of leave drop when I moved it outside, only 1 lower leaves at most, not sure it is due to light change, too wet, or else. Newbie's luck maybe. It could be when I moved they outside in March , the sun light was not as strong( angle) as it is in the summer and the citrus weren't in active growing so less stress was put on it to drop the leaves.
My citrus are very well adapted to outside climate now. ton of new leave buds, new flower buds. We had heavy rain every day recently. The soil are saturated. I was worried about it might be too wet for my citrus plants, but I did not see any leave yellow/drop as they do often indoor.
If you want move your citrus outside, you might want to watch out for the sun burn on the new tender leaves. Follow the advise moving in stages doesn't hurt.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:59AM
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ohiojen

Thank you so much! I'm glad to know the wet wasn't too hard on your trees. :) I'll be getting them out soon!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:39AM
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olympia_gardener(5)

Just give it time to be adjusted in the outside weather. I think it will be much happier outside.

Good Luck and enjoy with your meyer lemon!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 3:18PM
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johnmerr(11)

Ohiojen,

Meyers absolutely thrive on rain showers; if your pots have good drainage and rain is expected, by all means put them out now. It is NOT the weather, or the TEMP; it is the light change that most affects Meyers. Again, outside of Meyers, my expertise is VERY limited.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:56PM
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ohiojen

Thanks again! Sounds like I'm babying them too much for their own good. :) We'll get them outside then.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:26PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

John

Thanks so much. I saw so many posts here about the meyer lemon problems. Your confirmation of meyer lemon can handle the water just made me worry free about the rain.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 10:56AM
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bchbound

Can a citrus make the adjustment if it is bearing fruit? My lime tree has half a dozen 1 inch limes on it and I am dying to get it outside. Will I loose the fruit if I move it out following the above recommendations?

Thanks

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 2:45PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

I know kumquats are less picky about its enviroment change event with fruits on. They are all citrus , but each with its own " personal requirements". Both meyer lemon and kumquats are temp. hardier than lime. You might want to make sure the outside temporature is within lime's required range.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 5:12PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Ohio..Don't forget, and inch of rain or two will only moisten your mix, not soak it. Besides, with all that extra light and length of days, citrus can handle moist mixes much better.

I have no worries with mine and I live in New England, where temps have been averaging into the 40's at night and very cloudy and showery by day.
Mine actually respond very well as soon as they are put outside. It's when they come in when I loose leaves on just my Meyers.

Do you have access to bug screen? I use this for a couple of weeks while mine sit in full sun and gradually will take insect screen off of them. It acts like a shade cloth.
Do you have trees that provide dabbled light? Perfect.
Can you put them in a spot where they will avoid sunlight at it's hottest peaks, like say 11a.m to 2 p.m.?

By the way, the most responsive ones for me are my orange and grapefruit trees. My Meyers can be a pain in the....., that is in the fall.

Just a few ideas....:-)

MIke

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:39PM
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