Citrus Container growers! What are you doing to perpare for fall/

meyermike_1micha(5)August 23, 2012

Hello all!

As much as we, I hate to admit this, but fall is just around the corner and it's time to start thinking about bringing our plants inside or at least protect them.

What I do is start treating them for pest with Fish Emulsion. I resume spraying faithfully once a week starting on Labor Day.

Then, I will do a major clean up of the areas where they will reside in-doors.

I will also make sure everything that needs to be repotted is done and that the mix I use is draining water properly.

I don't want any of my mixes staying wet for longer than a week at a time once the cool weather arrives and the days grow short.

Will you grow them in lots of light and warmth, or less light and cool conditions?

Mine will be in one very cool bright room all winter with fan circulating, blowing towards the underneath of the trees. This alliviates the pest issues and spindly growth.

Have you got your arsenal of natural pesticides ready, magnifying glass, spray bottles, artificial lights if need be, sunny windows all ready?

Have you checked the stores for fertilizer sales? They always seem to stop carrying what you need just when you run out before the spring.

I will also be slowly acclimating them to come in-doors by placing them in places that will recieve limited direct sun starting Labor day.

Wiil you wipes the surfaces of your pots off with a good soap or disinfectant?

Do you have all your insulation props at the ready incase of a cold snap?

Please, tells us what you plan on doing before yours have to come in for the winter or get protected.

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

noooooo...say it aint so. Not the dreaded winter.

Hey Mike! How have you been?

My prep is like this so far. There is a better than average chance Ill be moving in a few months, same area just different place, so right now my plans are for building a new greenhouse, probably hoop house and a bit bigger.

My plumeria and maybe a banana or 2 will most likely come up here to work and go upstairs where it stays 55-60. hopefully that is cool enough to keep them dormant.

everything else will go in the greenhouse and be keep above 55.

I last fertilized with foliage pro on Sunday and I will continue to do so only every 2 weeks until the end of September then I will stop. I will also be treating with neem and maybe fish oil for pest.

Remember my meyer that was completely defoliated. Well here it is today. It has flushed leaves probably 4 times since march and its currently pushing some now. It nevered flowered this year though.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 3:37PM
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mksmth. This is a handsome and well balanced tree you have. Lot of leaves. Very nice.
Hi, Mike. Thank for the well thought check list you have come up. Here is what I am going to do .

I am using fish emulsion to spray all my container plants , not limited to citrus; However, I have not figured out how to get ride of slugs and ants hiding/nest inside of my containers. I don't want them to live indoor.

I plan to repot my citrus that you have recommend to use 511 mix. I have enough pine bark ready to make a batch of modified 511 mix. I never had problem of citrus die in wintertime for I don't water my plants as often as others do. The plants' root zone gets dry from time to time to maintain its health. So I like my mix a little less fast drain. BTW,Fall is a good time to buy pots as well. Many stores have deep discounted pots on sale, especially the clay pots.

I plan to grow them in as dim light as possible, and as cool temperatures as possible, as long as they don't loose leaves. Yours are in "very cool bright room ". I remember your formular of bright light + low temerature=loose leaves. Do your citrus trees loos leaves in winter??

Some citrus can take cold temp. better than others, so I am not planing to bring them all in at same time.... my back will have less complaining .

I don't fertilize plant that much in winter so I don't need additional fertilizer. BTW I have never seen expiration date on fertilizer bag/container. How long a bag of fertilizer can be stored without loss its effectiveness??

I am planing to put together a PVC structure to hold the lights up. I like the one houstontexas123 has posted. It is simply and workable.

I am looking through Goodwell stores every other weeks in hoping to find enough Qty of cheap, large, deep container/dishes or something for each of my plants/pots to sit inside. Those plants that are in gritty mix, 90% of the water that I pour in on the top ended up running off at the bottom. I need to have a deep enough cotainer to catch all the water before the water overflow and ruin the carpet or wood floor.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Supposed to be working on garage/greenhouse/man cave, but too hot to do more work in there today. When it's pushing 90,really hard to work on winter preparations. I don't expect the citrus to have to move in until some time in November,so there is time. Painting the ceiling white and putting in a second-story level, south-facing window to increase light., first story is already glass on the south side. Right now sipping chilled white wine in the shade on rear deck and enjoying life.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 1:56PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Thanks Olympia. Ive had this one for about 3 years now and it has only given me 2 lemons. Its been finicky the whole time. Im hoping this next season it will do better. It is looking better than it ever has so that alone gives me hope. it also has 2 new branches forming on the trunk above the graft and Im undecided on if I should leave them or not. Probably will since more branches equals more fruit :)


I hear ya about the heat. Its been 90's for awhile and predicted for a bit longer. Hard to think about it getting cold soon.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 2:46PM
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Extended forecast for the East Coast is above normal for September and October. This is normally a fairly mild time of year here as the oceans stay warm into the Fall. This year, immediate offshore temps are around 80 F. which is above normal by a few degrees. I just see a lot of warm and DRY weather in local forecast. We were okay on moisture but moving toward arid again. Never officially in drought, but just not a 'normal' summer. Precip. events are widely separated. As I sit here , I see an enormous American Elm that is shedding its leaves as though it were November. Tropicals are doing fine though.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Hey Mike!!!! What happening lately other than the heat and teh growth of that BEAUTIFULLY well shaped tree! Great job buddy! Look at how far you have come, and with a Meyer to boot!
I am very proud of you buddy! I'll bet that your tree just loves that plastic pot by the way. What kind of mix did you use again for all the newbies? It is also a white pot which can be difficult to find here. It's nice Mike.

I'll bet you can't wait for your new greenhouse and so also your trees once the winter sets in. Keep it cool in there and the fans going. You will see very few if any pest at all.

I have a feeling you are going to find it hard to leave any plants behind once you move. I say the ones that move in will be very happy with all that beauty.

Please keep me updated pal.

Dave, now that sounds I only wish I could wait until November! Our first snow storm last year was on Halloween!

Olympia, you are truly welcome! That is from years of being unprepared and growing trees a lot more difficult through the winter than I should of.
I hope it really does help many here. If only I had this information back then.

Don't even tell me about SLUGS! They have devastated all my Hosta and other plants. And teh EARWIGS? We won't even go there. Now, I am dealing with grasshoppers, but not as much as my neighbors.
I wish FE would kill those
Thanks for your ideas too.
Every bit of participation and ideas helps many here.

Have a great day all!


    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 3:20PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Thanks mike!! Im really liking how this tree is shaping out. you and the others are great sources of information and compassion. Without you and others Im sure a lot of us here would have a bunch of dead trees.

I started using Fafard 52 and extra perlite(coarse type) in a ratio of 5 parts Farard to 1 part perlite. Its a great mix straight out of the bag but I like to add the extra perlite. This mix is very well draining, light and airy, and seems to hold enough water to get my trees through our 110 degree days while Im at work.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 5:21PM
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Nothing at all. It is still summer.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 10:01AM
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Well, Jmb! Lucky you.

But, I did find out that it is suppose to be in the 90's by next weekend. That is a first. I am so thrilled about that.

What stinks around here is that you really have to be prepared before the end of September and sometimes sooner. the weather around here can change on a dime and if I am not prepared, forget it.
Remember. last year we were in the thirties months ahead of schedule.

Enjoy your summer


    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 12:35PM
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Hey Mike,
I appreciate your seemingly neverending energy and enthusiasm...and willingness to help others. Thanks.
Here in Charleston, SC it's a guessing game on Fall and Winter. I am usually able to Winter all plants outside. I do have a 4x4 frame around my 9x11 raised bed garden that I have used as a greenhouse up until last Winter. The old Meyers seem to do fine, as well as the old Satsuma. However, I bought several new plants at Lowes this Spring (Owari Satsuma, Brown Satsuma, Pommelo Grapefruit) and I'll have to keep a close eye on them. Also an eye on the Tango and Poncan.
The days during Fall and Winter can vary so much that keeping in the "greenhouse" was sometimes dangerous as temps can climb quickly inside and I didn't always remember to open the plastic front!!!
Thanks for your steadfast support and endless patience.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 1:49PM
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Hi Mike,

Hopefully I have a good while before I need to pull my plants inside. I did need some better indoor lighting so purchased some good 125W - 6400K fluorescent grow light bulbs as well as an LED that has 1200 lumens and 125 watts. Two weeks ago I didn't know what lumens were. ;-) This forum is great for research! I also live in a small 860 sq ft. condo that gets great light but doesn't have much space. So I wanted my grow lights to look good as well as function. I found a nice sturdy and pretty floor lamp on Amazon that takes up to 150 watts and 120 volts. That wasn't easy to find! Right now it has the LED light in it. I'm not sure 1200 lumens will be enough on it's own but it is in a window so I just need it to supplement the natural light. That was the highest lumens my Home Depot had. Do you all think that will suffice?

I also have ordered a magnifying glass as Mike suggested and won't put my summer fan in storage but rather us it on my citruses. I've been plagued with critters during the winter...and the rest of the year.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:18PM
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