Finally repotted ...Hello Mike

bigmario(sfbayarea9-10)June 23, 2011

Hello everyone,

Still at it.. my trees stayed out all winter and started with a bang first of spring and have now stopped a bit. All have set fruit. My meyer has a lot of big fruit and was using up water fast even with our bay climate . It was still in its original nursery container which drained fast so I decided to pot up. I used a 5;1;1 mix as the gritty mix is just too heavy when you get up in pot sizes. The root ball of the meyer was very tight. I did not want to totally bare root it as I felt it would disturb the fruit and tree too much so I opened it a bit and washed as much old soil off with water and left the rest and hope the roots will move/grow into the new mix. I have had it in only morning sun for a week now and will move it to the sun now. It has shown no signs of shock and looks healthy. I hope I did the right thing. As for potting up I am still confused as to the many citrus I have seen in big pots here and especially in Italy that stay in the same pot for 20+ years. As my trees get big enough to be potted up to the nice terracotta pots they are now nested in I would like to eventually stop. I will keep you posted.

Mike...have you had any problems with your FP crystalizing in the jugs?


ps. sorry for posting this in 2 different threads. hope it's ok

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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Your posting was timely. I have had a Meyer for 4 years in a 12 inch pot and was wondering if it needs to be repotted. There are no circling roots. What are the recommendations on repotting???

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 5:14AM
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Hi Dave!

Sounds like you are doing a great job with your trees and in fact it sounds like they are very content at the end of your finger tips.
I probably would of done the same thing as you even though knowing fully well that slicing wedges from the roots or completely barerooting would of been the best thing to do, but at the same time sparing the fruit possibly with what you did would sound more reasonable.
Can get pretty scarey deciding what to do indeed, right? Sometimes a bit overwhelming with choices.
I'll bet your tree will respond just fine with even more careful care about introducing it to the sun.
Good to see you again and good luck!:-)

Yes, a little bit does crystalize, but on warm days it seems to disolve. It also seems to break down when vigerously shaking it. I wonder what it is?
All I know is that it could eb the substance that is key to their


How does the tree look? Is it showing any signs of distress?
Many re-pot every year no matter what.
Many re-pot at the first sign of stress.*This would be I
Many re-pot when roots start to exit the bottom.
Many re-pot when the soil has been crowed out.* I
Many re-pot once the soil has been exhausted. * I
Many re-pot to provide fresh soil and better drainage. *I
Many re-pot to encourage smaller growth more compacted growth
Many re-pot to encourage bigger growth.
Many re-pot to encourage their trees to grow to their best potential. *I.

Your choice would depend on your goals and you and your trees situation.:-)

Lol. Maybe we should start a thread on what motivates our friends here to re-pot their plants!


    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:52AM
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Thanks Mike,
It has been almost 2 weeks now and the meyer is showing some signs of a growth spurt and no signs of shock. I guess the roots will colonize into the 5;1;1 surounding them. I ended up calling the FP guys( they are located across the bay from me). I got the son of the owner on the phone and he lives very close to me and ended up exchanging my two gallons for two new ones and even gave me a shirt. Talk about customer service. I told him that many of us are using it on potted citrus. I think a big customer base for them is growing something else green. He said I could have used the crystalized fp to about half a gallon and then ad some hot water and use the rest at double doses.
As far as when to repot. The meyer was using water very fast and seemed to be a bit root bound so that is why I decided to pot up. As Mike and Josh know I had and older almost dead meyer last year that had almost no leaves left and that is what promted me to repot(not so much as a pot up) and I did so in an unscreened 5;1;1 mix and it looks super healthy now. Not sure when it will need repotting again as it is in a large terracotta pot. I guess as long as it looks healthy it will stay as is(I hope). I have a lime in it's original pot that was doing very good but has shown some signs of stopping to grow and not quite as green. Not sure if it is weather or soil/pot related. I am giving it some more time as it has a lot of tiny set fruit on it. I guess my short answer to repotting is if health is so bad that the tree seems to need new growing media or if it seems the roots have filled up the pot too much then it is time to try something new. As I am still new to all this I always ask myself and everyone else...When will I have the huge potted citrus tree that has been in its terracotta pot for 20+ years? I know it is possible. I have seen it. One day I am gonna take a photo of my brother's satsuma that is so healthy and large in regular bagged potting soil for at least 4 years now. Sorry to keep singing the same song.
This addiction can be frustrating at times but also fun.
take care all

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:15AM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Thanks Mike.... Tree doing well. I may wait until the end of the Summer Growing season. Your post was interesting, sounds like religous belief: this combo was interesting:

"Many re-pot to encourage smaller growth more compacted growth
Many re-pot to encourage bigger growth".

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:25AM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Mike One more ??? Based on your response to Dave's post you wrote (or I thought you wrote) that it is best to completely bare root when repotting. Is this correct????

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:40AM
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If you do decide to eventually take "slices/wedges" during a pot-up, can you please post your results?

dsieber: If you want the most conservative way to do it, it's to NOT bare-root on a pot-up. Just do the slicing 2" removal of soil and roots around the outside edge and the bottom. There should be plenty of roots around the edges and bottom of a 12" container with a 4yr old tree. If not, I'd continue to remove soil inward until the roots were reached --- the more "old" soil that can be replaced the better. But of course, removing too much soil from the existing roots is now approaching a bare-root. What type of soil you replace it with is important to consider.

Regarding old citrus in large pots: I'm almost positive the aged citrus in Versailles Citrus Gardens undergo this process to keep in the same large containers.

My FP does crystallize quite a bit. Apparently the manufacturer suggests you can warm the FP mix up enough until it will redistribute itself (when shaken well). I've had some success doing so just by leaving it in the hot sun for some hours.

So far my experience supports the common wisdom that the best time is certainly right before Spring when temps just start to warm up.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:37PM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

Thanks CEBURY...

You said "What type of soil you replace it with is important to consider." Do you mean I have to find something that matches what is in the pot? Do I have the option to get something more optinum and something I can easily continue to get? If the latter what would you recommend?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:54PM
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dsieber(z5 (Lakewood CO))

One last ??? to Mike and CEBURY &CO. If I take off the 2" off the root ball all around do I have to go to larger pot and if so how much larger? I am currently in a 12" pot. The Meyer lemon tree thriving and is is about 4 feet high.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:11PM
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dsieber, I would say if you have a 4yr old meyer in a 12" pot and it is four feet high, you should try and find out what type of soil is in the pot now and try and repeat that as it is proven in your yard to work. I also suggest after potting up to get some good time release fert. and also some Foilage Pro. I am waiting to have a 4yr old tree that is still thriving in the same pot or mix.

My question is to Mike and Cebury.. My meyer that was almost leafless and is now in a big pot with an unscreened 5;1;1 mix...How long do you think it will last? How do I know when the mix's time is up?

Cebury, you are probably right on the old trees being taken out and root pruned and put back in their same pots. I guess the thing is to get to a size that is still small enough to work with doing that and stay there and root prune every few years. Although I asked my uncle in Italy who has some pretty old potted trees and he says he doesn't remove the tree from the pot, he just scrapes down a few inches and removes roots and old soil and replaces with new soil which he goes and gets up in the hills of Tuscany. He also says to feel the fruit and if it is soft the tree needs water, if firm do not water. I failed to ask him what to do if there is no fruit on the tree, lol.
take care

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 5:36PM
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dsieber: sorry I never replied, sometimes I don't make it back here in a timely manner. If you don't want your tree to continue growing much taller/fuller you can keep it in the same 12" container. I personally think you should go to a 15" container. But refreshing 2" of mix from the outer rootball does not necessitate any upsizing the container, it's more to support a larger tree size. This was all in response to your question of whether barerooting is required or not.

>> Do you mean I have to find something that matches what is in the pot?
If you're going with the 2" refresh, yes (in general) it should be close the same media. You run into problems when the outside is very fast draining and the inside is not. But I wouldn't choose one that is heavy just because the inner soil is old & compact. I think you should look into the gritty mix and 511. Changing the 511 into a 411 or 311 may work for what you're talking about: just understand this isn't the ideal and read up on Al's threads for Container mixes to find out why.

Dave: I honestly couldn't tell you how long a 511 mix will last. I know Al says one season, but IME he is seeking optimal/ideal conditions for his container plants -- which is very very far above what the average backyard citrus container grower would find acceptable (even beautiful). Mike has a few citrus in his mix and I think last I checked one was 3 yrs??? in the same mix? Hopefully he'll respond.

The point Al makes is folks who take care of this trees & pay close attention to them, you will eventually see decline in them which (all other things equal) is cause for soil replacement. The compaction (reducing aeration), nutrient (retention) loss, and lack of container space (root growth) all lead to conditions which are clearly visible in the canopy. Leaves will yellow despite proper fert, dieback will occur, and the tree will need more frequent watering.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 8:54PM
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Where in the world was I when you continued this? I am so sorry.

I have some catching up yo do and I will be back:-)


    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 9:29PM
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