New to tree growing

BigJoe8504July 30, 2014

Well to be more honest, I'm new to Fruit/Citrus tree growing. I've always wanted my own Lemon tree(s) and several other fruits/citrus. I have a few questions if someone doesn't mind taking the time to help.

I've been told many times over if I want a classic sour tasting lemon then a Meyer is not for me, is this true. If so then what would be a better variety for me (eureka?). I plan to plant a small patch of trees on my property to make it a small orchard. is there any reason I shouldn't be able to place these trees 8-9ft from one another if I'm planting in the ground (or raised beds) If I have Lemons next to orange or Limes will there be any adverse effects? What should I fertilize my dirt (lot of clay, but on top of a hill) with? How many lemons can I expect to come off the tree every year after a few years growth?

And last but not least, has anyone ever tried growing a citrus in Hydro/aquaponics?

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

Zone 8B-9A You will have to choose your trees carefully or they will need winter protection from time to time. There are cold hardy lemons that are antiques. They should prove to be just as awful as your standard eureka. Check out Stan Mckenzie-Farms He specializes in cold hardy citrus at fair prices

yes people do Hydro/aquaponics growing. You will have to augment your fish grow to provide the missing ingredients needed by your citrus

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:23PM
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Aweful? Why would I want Aweful? and to what basis are you calling aweful? I want a Sour (not sweet) Lemon. Tartness enough to make someone squint a bit when eating, but not to the degree of bitter. What type would you recommend for the flavor, I'll deal with cold zones later. If it must be indoors, I can handle that.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:56PM
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BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Some folks don't care for the acid of a true lemon, I guess Steve's one of them. I like them myself.

The two most common and available true lemons are Eureka and Lisbon. The ones you buy in the supermarket are one of these two varieties. The fruit is pretty much identical, very acidic, lots of juice, pretty much seedless, with good aroma and nice skin zest. But the growth habit of the two trees is different.
Eureka is a little smaller tree, tends towards bushy growth, and when young is a little awkward looking, but has few thorns, and the ones it has are fairly small.
Lisbon is a slightly larger tree, and has a nice true tree shape, some feel it's a prettier tree. But it has huge thorns .
The antiques mentioned are harder to come by, but two that can be found with not too much trouble are Santa Teresa and Genoa. Both are Italian lemons, the Eureka and Lisbon are said to be bred from Italian lemons.
Santa Teresa is a very fragrant lemon, still very tart, and is the kind used to make Lemon Cello. There are other antiques kinds but can't think of them right now.

There's also Ponderosa lemon, which some think may be a lemon/pumello hybrid. Very large lemons, like grapefruit sized, with good acidic flavor. Very juicy, a fair amount of seeds.

Most of these are also available in a dwarf form. Hope this helps.

Oh, and go ahead and plant any citrus next to any other. They will not affect each other's fruit flavor.

It may affect what can be grown from the seeds, but not the fruit from your trees. Since you probably won't be growing any from your own seeds, it's nothing you need to worry about.

As for fertilizing, lots of opinions and ways. I'd suggest use the search button on this forum and read as many threads on the subjects you're interested in. Lot of good info on this forum!

This post was edited by BarbJP on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 13:47

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:43PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Okay. There are no "antique hardy lemons" that I am aware of. There are Italian/Mediterranean lemons, but they are certainly not more hardy. Lemons and more especially limes, are more cold-sensitive than some other citrus cultivars. If you like a classic lemon taste, then I would suggest either Eureka or Santa Teresa Femminello. Santa Teresa has the highest amount of lemon oil in the peel, and is the main lemon used to make limoncello. Eureka is our standard commercial lemon here in the USA, and it is quite good. I happen to like Meyer lemons, but not all lemon aficionados do. I prefer Santa Teresa over Eureka, as I make limoncello and I use the zest in cooking. Plus, I think the juice is more "lemony". Lisbon is a fine lemon, but the tree can be wickedly thorny, so, less thorns are better for me. You can buy Santa Teresa from Four Winds, but not sure they can ship to Texas, you'll have to check their site. You may be able to find a local source in Texas, and certainly for a Eureka.

Grow your trees on raised mounds, since you're on clay. Provide winter protection (citrus hate cold winds, sure demise for sensitive cultivars like lemons).

I would talk to local growers in your area to see if anyone is successful in growing lemons and limes in your area. You don't provide your zone for us, so not sure what zone Houston is in, but I suspect you're in a somewhat marginal zone for citrus due to winter temps often falling to below freezing (maybe 8 or 9?). So, if you're in 9, or have a micro climate on your property that provides a little more warmth and protection from winds, you may be successful. I would suggest planting more sensitive cultivars (like lemons and limes), in the late spring, after all threat of frost is over. This will give your sensitive cultivars time to settle in and get established. A great resource for you will be Texas A&M. I would definitely contact them for more recommendations for good cultivars for your area, and hopefully get you hooked up with a local nursery that is knowledgeable, or local Master Gardeners group to give you some good suggestions for both cultivars to plant as well as cultivation techniques. As Barb mentions, planting close together is just fine -doesn't affect fruit production at all, and may provide more protection for the trees. Planting the more sensitive cultivars in the middle, more cold tolerant cultivars on the ends.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:34PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Check out the 10 degree harvey lemon. I believe it is offered by Stan Mckensey citrus

Talk to Stan. He is very helpfull

Check out tree below.

Oh yea! I hate lemons

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 3:07PM
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BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

It's true that Yuzu, (Citrus ichangensis ÃÂ C. reticulata) citrus is very hardy, one of the most hardy, reported down to 15*F.
(Btw, that's "Hardy" on that link, not "Harvey" and they cannot ship to Texas, so you would have to find one locally.)

But it's not a lemon really, nor a lime, although it's called both often.
It's a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papedan. It's pretty thorny too.
But it is an acidic fruit that's used much the same way as lemons and limes. I have one and it's delicious!

The taste is a mix of lemon/lime with the spicy perfume of a mandarin, pretty sour, more sour than a Meyer lemon, but not as sour as a true lemon.

You might like to include one, it's really great for cooking, especially Asian food. Ponzu sauce is basically Yuzu juice and Soy Sauce.
It's very seedy, and not a whole lot of juice from one fruit, just a tablespoon or so, but what a juice! I love it!
The zest is used almost more than the juice it self.

But not a true lemon.

This post was edited by BarbJP on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 16:37

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 4:34PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Steve, that is not a lemon. It is a Yuzu. That is like calling a mandarin an orange. Barb is giving great info on the Yuzu, and it is much prized by certain Asian cultures. It makes nice Yuzu-ade, btw. A LOT of squeezing, but I hear it is worth the effort. Barb, have you made an "ade" from your Yuzus? I adore my lemons and limes for their various traits. I have a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade or limeade in my refrigerator just about year 'round.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Just Fruits and Exotics Citrus Inc

HARVEY LEMON Very much like its cousin, Eureka, but more cold hardy, having survived some of the disastrous deep freezes in Florida during the '60's and '70's. With its typical lemon shape and tart, juicy true lemon flavor, it most resembles the lemons you buy in the grocery store. Ripens in September to March. Self fertile. Zones 8A-10. $49.99 3 gal (3-4ft).

ICHANG LEMON In the lemon group, this variety is known for its extreme cold tolerance. Large, long, pointed fruit with a thick, tender rind and sharp, snappy flavor. Ripens October to March. Self fertile. Zones 8A-10. $49.99 3 gal (3-4ft).

Check out their trees.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:14PM
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Thanks for the Info Guys. I might have to try several and see which I like best... we get maybe a week of sub freezing temps here, usually over 20F, so I'm not too worried about cold tolerance past extremes. Santa theresa's, yuzu, Eureka, so many things to try.

On another note: If you were to grow a tree from an orange seed out of an orange from the supermarket, would you expect to get the same type fruit from it.. we have 1 that germinated, currently in my hydro growout NFT system. I'm thinking I might let it grow so my 4 yo can have his own tree inside...

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:42PM
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BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Interesting Steve, I've never heard of those lemons.
Could be good choices for colder area.

Sorry, the link you first posted led to the Yuzu page.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:29AM
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BarbJP CA 15-16/9B

Patty I've not made yuzu-aid yet, I haven't gotten enough fruits yet.
I have two actually, one is about 4 years old, other is about 3 years. I got about a dozen off the younger one, maybe two dozen off the older one last year.

I did make some ponzu, but I used most to make Yuzu-cha, which is a kind of soft marmalade used to make a yummy tea; take a good teaspoon in a cup of hot water and stir. It's a good way to preserve them. Tastes pretty much like hot sweet yuzu-aid. It's supposed to be good at warding off colds. But mostly it tastes delicious!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:38AM
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