Citrus with summer sun but winter shade?

muscovyduckling(Melbourne, Australia)July 18, 2014

Hi folks,

I picked out a nice sunny spot this summer to plant a little grove of citrus trees. Now that it's winter and I've finished preparing the soil and am getting ready to plant, I've realised that this area doesn't get any direct sun in winter, due to very tall eucalypts to the north of the site.

I feel like this is going to be a major problem, since citrus fruit in winter, and surely they would need direct sun in winter for the fruit to ripen?

Does anyone have any experience with this type of situation? I just don't want to set myself up for failure.

Thanks in advance :)

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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Yes I have similar problems with my fruit trees. I chose full size rootstock so my tree would grow 30 feet where the sun clears and strikes the tree. The big difference between our cases, our obstacle are to the south. It sounded so funny to hear to the north. Also I live in a temperate climate and it is the deciduous fruit trees that loose light towards the end of august though November when our first frost comes. This is when the trees build resorces to go through winter.

In your situation, you will be getting sunlight when the citrus start flowering and leafing out. If your region is sunny in winter, your trees will do fine. They are slowed towards dormancy then.

You can top the eucalyptus tree if it is yours.

Steve

P.S. I am still waiting for global warming to get my citrus trees in ground

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:56AM
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muscovyduckling(Melbourne, Australia)

Thanks Steve! Funny that you're waiting for Global Warming to plant citrus - I live in the mountains 40km from the beach, and I'm waiting for global warming to turn my house into a seaside residence! Haha.

Thanks for the info, I will put them in there and see how they do. I feel more confident now. I have also chosen full-size rootstock so I think the tops of the trees will get sun, but the smaller varieties like the Blood Orange and Kaffir Lime will still be shaded. Doesn't really matter for the Kaffir Lime, I only plan on harvesting the leaves on that one anyway.

Unfortunately the eucalypts are on my neighbour's property. Even if they were mine, topping them would cost many thousands of dollars, so I think it's just easier to plant appropriately for the site. Living in the forest, I have a lot of shade to contend with, and it's a big learning curve trying to find out what thrives in those areas.

Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:56PM
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bounty(9)

I wouldn't be as worried by the shade from the eucalypts as much as their roots. Citrus will offer little resistance.
Commercial orchards normally deep rip their borders every couple of years if there are trees like eucalypts in the vicinity.

This post was edited by bounty on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 3:45

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:44AM
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muscovyduckling(Melbourne, Australia)

Thanks Bounty - sorry, I should have explained that better. The eucalypts are across the road on a neighbouring property about 50 metres from this site, so root competition shouldn't be an issue. It's just that they're so tall, and the sun is so low in winter that my whole front yard is shaded by them at that time of year.

So it's just the shade I'm worrying about!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:20AM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

At 2 months either side of equinox the sun will be half way between the equinox path and winter solstice path. If your trees clear the weed trees across the street you should be fine. the closer your trees clear towards winter solstice the better. If a large container on your roof works that,s even better. I have to grow on my rooftop to clear neighbors shadows in summertime see link below. click any thumbnail to enlarge.

Here is a link that might be useful: https://plus.google.com/photos/111099372377958308731/albums/5864651368775846321?banner=pwa&authkey=CI763rvAj8eLAg

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:55AM
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muscovyduckling(Melbourne, Australia)

Thanks Poncirusguy for the info. I definitely feel your pain re: working around shade, but your setup looks fantastic!!! I don't have a flat roof space to work with, but if I did I would love to have a roof garden like yours. I especially like the kids drawing of your house and garden, it looks just like the real thing :)

I will keep my eye on the sun, and if it's not hitting that area by late August I will have to find another spot, I suppose.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:07PM
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