Baby satsuma tree

seamommy(7bTX)June 4, 2009

I just bought my satsuma tree and it's less than 3' tall. But it bloomed and set fruit right after I got it. Should I let it go or should I remove the tiny fruit and let the tree put it's energy into growing some more? I've never had a citrus tree before and am facing the same thing with my Mexican lime and Meyer lemon trees. They're all so small I don't think the little branches can support fully ripe fruit. Cheryl

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starloc

I would leave the fruit, if it cant handle the fruit it will just fall off,
the very thin branches will not normaly break they seem floppy but normaly they are very strong for there size, even on a large tree a lot of fruit is on very thin branches, with an especialy heavy fruit you can add suport such as a ponderosa lemon or a grapefruit , but lemons , limes never need any and ive never had a problem with mandarins either some branches on the mandarin were about 1/8 inch wide and had 8-10 fruit on the end , they bent down quite a bit but didnt snap even in strong wind

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 5:48PM
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steamer_grow

would i be able to grow satsuma tree,sin north arkansas?gets cold here.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 10:11PM
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cebury(9)

As starloc stated above, if the tree cannot handle it the tree will drop it. The typical advice I hear is as you said "remove it when young to focus all energy on root and foliage growth".

The short answer is you are probably fine if you do or fine if you don't. They will likely all fall off anyway except one or two, unless the care/environmental conditions are great AND you are lucky with a young tree having strong developed roots. And even then, when stressed the fruit seems to be the first to go (not sure if that's scientifically true). Almost all new citrus owners will put stress on the trees at some point.

However, if you want a more extensive answer: you didn't state whether it's semi-dwarf or dwarf or whether you already planted it or are keeping it in the container (for medium/long term?) or estimate how many fruit have set so far. If it's only handful, I'd leave them there since you may only retain one or two. If more and you are looking to grow a semi-dwarf in-ground, have long-term growth in mind, and have plenty of room for a large tree presentation I'd remove them. If you have a "flying dragon" dwarf and prefer the short bushy style tree in a small space, I'd leave them on.

Even though many young trees are strong enough for fruit it does make permanent aesthetic changes to the shape very early on (assuming it does retain any fruit at all). The droopiness due to weight on the young branches can/will cause the limbs to droop very low, even touching the ground depending on limb height and length. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, but I don't prefer this for my young trees. Low droopy branches are generally more susceptible to disease and pests when in-ground.

However, eventually all branches will droop at a certain length and the tree pushes out new growth on the topmost (horizontal) part of the "arc" branch. Also, new fruit generally sets on non-vertical branches. This cycle can create a nice bushy style for dwarf trees.

Hope I made some sense there....

Chris

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 5:58PM
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seamommy(7bTX)

Thanks Chris. I appreciate any help I can get. The trees are in containers. I used 20 gallon terra cotta pots with bottom drainage. I mixed up my own potting mix from homemade compost, Texas greensand, and lava sand. I water them with rain water whenever the soil gets to the low end of "moist" on the moisture meter. So far the fruits are still hanging on. The oranges are about 2" diameter, limes and lemons are about 2.5 inches long.

None of my trees have dropped any fruit since early May. I was surprised recently when we had a huge windstorm that knocked down trees and tore off the neighbors steel barn roof, my little guys held on to all their fruit. And so far, knock on wood, I haven't had any problems with insects or disease on any of them. I think that keeping them segregated from the disease-prone garden plants like roses helps to protect them.

All three trees are dwarf varieties. I plan to keep them in their containers because we do sometimes get freezes here in central Texas. I have a heated greenhouse and will pop them in when the weather starts to cool down to the 40's. Is that soon enough? Usually it doesn't get really cold here until January or February.

For the warm weather months, the little trees are nice to have on the back porch. Will they keep their leaves year round in the protected environment of the greenhouse, or do they shed them seasonally?

Cheryl

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 10:03AM
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candtone_yahoo_com

Where did you purchase your Satsuma Tree?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 11:16PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

steamer_grow, you can grow any citrus as long as you're willing to keep it in a pot, and bring it in during your cold weather times if you have prolonged temps below 28 degrees. Most citrus can't handle prolonged temps under 28 degrees F. So, if you don't mind pulling it into a greenhouse during the winter, you should be fine. Most mandarins tend to stay smallish and will do well as container plants. And, you can find them on dwarfing rootstocks to help keep the growth on the small side.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:55AM
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