Observations of a Newbie to Citrus
My citrus addiction began in June. I now have 5 citrus trees and one rooted cutting. When I started this journey I thought that since I have no problems growing my landscape plants that citrus would be no different. I thought I could just use good potting soil and water well and BAM I would have awesome citrus. I had unhappy citrus rather quickly! Thank goodness I found this forum and got some great advice from some very friendly people. I also spent lots of time just reading over tons of posts. Wow, did I have a lot to learn - still do but my chances of having happy citrus has greatly increased because of this forum. Here is what I have learned so far:
Potting soil - any old growing medium just will not do. It holds WAY to much moisture. I FINALLY gave in and listened to the advice I had been given and made up some 5:1:1. Now the water drains fast. The bottoms of the pots are not filled with mud. My trees seem to be happier
Container size- I thought the bigger the better. Boy was I wrong. Most of mine are in pots about 2" bigger than the ones they came in. Two are in pots that I now know are too big. I have to be really careful with the water to avoid root rot. I wish I had taken the advice and potted them in smaller pots.
Watering- I was SURE that I could tell when my trees were in need of water. Not so. I discovered when I repotted into 5:1:1 that there was MUD on the bottom of the pots. I was over watering. I now have dowel rods and use them to check the pots EVERY time- and I live in Texas where it is HOT.
Perched water table - I thought I did not need to read about this. WRONG. That is my problem with the large pots. There is a lot more water in the bottom that I thought. I have used wicks to help in the two big pots and I have to use the dowels to check the growing medium.
Fertilizer - I have rarely used fertilizer and have always had good results. But, I have always grown things that do well where I live and I guess I have been lucky. I bought some MG for my citrus and thought I was doing something special. Thanks to all I have read I have a better undertanding of the needs of my trees and what various ferts can provide. I am waiting for my Foliage Pro to arrive this week. Why FP? Because on the forums I have seen pictures and read posts about how well citrus responds.
My trees are not near perfection as of today. But, they look better than they did when I was doing things like I have always done for my other plants. I know for certain that I have increased my chances for happy citrus.
I have finally accepted that citrus is not like all the othter plants that I have been able to grow quite easily. I would not say citrus is difficult to grow in Fort Worth, TX but it is DIFFERENT than what I am used to.
Thanks to all who contribute to the forum by providing advice or asking questions. Each thread offers me an opportunity to learn.
Now it is time to go enjoy the 4th of July celebrations and be thankful for the great country I live in. Happy and Safe 4th to all.