Tangerine neighbors

Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady LakeJuly 24, 2012

When I planted my wife's tangerine tree, I did some checking and read that they like to have all competition removed from about 18-24" away from the trunk of the tree, or at the very least, to the to drip line. So I removed about 30" of grass from around the tree and bordered/edged it to help prevent the grass from creeping back in.

Then my wife came home three weeks ago and said, "I have something for you!" She opened her trunk and there was a box full of about 2 dozen aloe vera plants that someone had put out on their curb. I had/have no clue what I'm going to do with all those aloes. One thought I had was to put some of them on the inside edge of the tangerine's border. It is my understanding that aloe are pretty low maintenance and don't need a lot to grow, so I'm assuming that they won't steal too many nutrients from the tangerine tree, especially if they are not allowed to get any closer than 18" from the trunk. Is this a pretty fair assumption or would it be best to just leave that area clear and free?

BTW, the drip line is currently only about 12" from trunk.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Nope. Nothing under citrus trees, even succulents. Citrus are high nitrogen demanders. I would not under plant a citrus with anything. If you plant in the manner you're describing, you're probably planting in the exact wrong area - the drip line, which is where all the feeder roots are. Actually, closer to the trunk would be less likely to cause nutrient competition. And, it's going to present a problem as well, trying to get in, around and under your mandarin tree to pick fruit. I would find another place for your aloes :-)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Actually, the aloes would be outside of the drip-line. Let's see if I can illustrate without resorting to Photoshop...

This would be my current set up from one side to the other:

(ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ :ÃÂ ÃÂ OÃÂ ÃÂ :ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ )
where ( and ) are the edge borders, : is the drip line and O is the trunk.

My idea was:

(ÃÂ ÃÂ *ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ :ÃÂ ÃÂ OÃÂ ÃÂ :ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ ÃÂ *ÃÂ ÃÂ )
where the * would be the aloes, so well outside the drip-line.

That said, I'm going to go with what you suggested, which is what I kind of figured, and just leave the entire area open and free. Partly because I know from observation of other people's yards that aloes love to send out pups. Oh well, back to the drawing board for the aloes.

On a related note:
I read that mulch is not recommended due to the above stated high nitrogen needs. Does this apply only to organic mulch or is stone 'mulch' also included?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Oh wow, that did not translate well... it looked fine in preview, but not actually published.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 12:19PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Got the drift, Leek :-) Yes, aloes do love to pup. I have hundreds of succulents in my yard, and plenty of aloes, I just love them. Better to maybe put them on a hilside where they can be appreciated for their lovely structure, and they can pup to their heart's content. As far as mulching goes - we have to mulch in S. California due to our non-existent water during the summer, and the fact that my water bill will exceed $800 this next cycle :-) We mulch with compost, then wood chips. Yes, I know this can cause some Nitrogen depletion, but it's a necessary evil here in S. Calif. I just apply more compost and probably fertilize a bit more often than perhaps those that do not use wood chip or bark chip mulch. Not sure about Florida, where it rains much more often during the hot summer months. See what your Florida extension office has to say about mulching citrus. I would guess for you all in Fl, it would be more for keeping weed growth down. And, I would say stone mulch would be fine where you are.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 7:40PM
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denninmi(8a)

Or just plant the aloes in some kind of nice decorative pots. They're really low-maintenance, so if they don't get watered all of the time no big deal.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 6:23AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Yeah, we get rain 3-4 days of the week for the most part. Some days the rain doesn't last long, anywhere from 5-15 minutes, but I am able to augment that with collected rainwater and/or spot watering since I only have 4 citrus trees, 2 limes (persian and key), 1 meyer lemon and 1 tangerine. All are young with only the persian and meyer flowering this year. Aside from the CLM issue in the other post and a single citrus swallowtail caterpillar on the tangerine, they look to be in good health, at least to my untrained eye. The tangerine is supposed to be a variety that will self-fruit but be seedless without cross-pollination. But it was purchased from a Big Box store, so time will tell if the label was wrong, as they too often tend to be.

Weeds can be a problem but they're not. I won't go too much into my personal life, but suffice it to say that every morning I make my rounds checking on my plants and every morning I pull any small weeds I see coming up around my trees and palms. It's one part exercise, one part 'something I can do' and one part mental relaxation.

Thank you for the tips and information. It will be put to good use.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 12:44PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I dont know about you but my aloes get HUGE.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 11:23PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I wouldn't really know. I have never had aloe and didn't really want it. But my wife, God love her, is willing to put up with my gimpy butt and knows I have had a budding (get it?) interest in gardening since Spring kicked in, so she's always bringing things home for me to use, whether I necessarily wanted it or not. Like... say... 2 dozen aloes?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 7:54AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, depends on the aloe variety. True Aloe vera are actually fairly rare. You may have another aloe variety that looks similar. Some stay very small, some can become very large. Some don't pup much, others are clumping varieties that their beauty is in their pupping. So, to find the best spot in your yard, I would recommend getting a clear ID of the aloe, first, so you know what the growing habit is of this aloe. Good for your wife to rescue them, though :-)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

This variety definitely pups. When I first took them out of the box, most of the larger specimens had 3-4 pups attached. I removed the pups and disposed of them before putting them in their temporary home, I didn't need them multiplying before I figured out what to do with them. I will have to take some pictures and post them on a succulent forum, or take one with me tomorrow to my County Extension office along with some other plants I'm wanting to get ID'd.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 4:33PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

If your aloe looks like this your lucky because this is one of the four that have medicinal/edible values and is called Aloe barbadensis Miller genus (True Aloe). Its a life saver and you should try it with cold fresh pulpy orange juice or on BURNT skin. There has not been a time since I was born that I could not remember growing/using this plant and when I was in high school this plant got me through some acne...lol Yeah she can pup like crazy but thats the fun part. FREE PLANTS!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 2:22AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I don't 'think' that is what I have. The specimens that I have don't quite reach upward like that but more spread out. I will get a picture today and post it both in this forum and in the cacti/succulents forum for identification purposes.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 7:54AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Okay, here are the ones I have (this is not all of them!)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 8:15AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Leekle2ManE,

You will have to protect those limes well come winter or you will lose them. The Meyer will also need some protection but not as much as the limes. I'm just a bit to your west in Inverness.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

Yeah, I know. My Key Lime was 'dead' after a snap freeze in February and got replaced by the Persian Lime. But rather than tossing it, I put it in a pot with some good soil and waited. Now it is just as big as, if not bigger than either the Meyer or the Persian Lime.

But thanks for the heads up!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 2:57PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

If that aloe dont get much bigger its not the same thing. Still aloe but dont know what kind. I like it though. I was going to buy one the other day from OSH but decided not too cause of price.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 11:33PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I have been advised that it could be either A. maculatta or A. grandidentata, but I am leaning more toward A. maculatta. The images I find of that one look closer to what I have.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 8:34AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I think if they dont get too big they would look good around a tree but for Citrus I think it might not be a good idea. The feeder roots of Citrus trees are so shallow and Ive read dont like much competition. But I have seen plants at the base of other Citrus trees in my neighborhood with no real ill effect other than maybe they weren't (the Citrus) reaching their full potential? I dont know.. But they did not look too bad just a little on the smaller side with not much "lushness" about it. But not ugly or too sickly either.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:48AM
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