I 'm out of my element !-Need advice on this citrus tree

marinfla(10 South Florida)September 21, 2010

HI

I mostly post on the tropical fruit tree board because I have a lot of mango trees (7), bananas-many, avocado (1) and of coconut trees (4).

My mother and her beau gifted me a Citrus Cocktail tree in what appears to be a 15 gal. pot. It has ruby red grapefruit, tangelo, tangerine, navel orange and meyer lemon. It is a cute tree but I know so little about citrus trees. The first question and concern is : plant it in the ground or container grow it???? I don't have a huge yard which is why I am container growing 5 of the mango trees. I would be grateful for any insights, suggestions, lots of advice etc. Thanks for your help!

Marin

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destin_gardener(8-B/9-A)

If you are in Zone 10 and you have the room, plant it in the ground...it will be happier in the long run.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:10PM
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displacer(6)

That sounds like an incredibly interesting tree! I hope all the grafts work out in the long run, because it would be so cool to get many different fruit off the same plant.

Citrus in general like well-drained soil with a somewhat acidic pH. Pine bark fines are a great base for a potting mix for citrus. They are nitrogen hogs. Many varieties will happily self-pollinate. They'll take as much sun as you can give them, but tend to suffer in high heat conditions (they aren't very good at evaporative cooling and the internal temp of the leaf can be considerably higher than the air temp). Some shade is therefore advisable when the temp outside is higher than 85~ F, 30~ C.

Planting in the ground is definitely a good idea if you have the space, but you can grow them in containers if you are diligent about pruning. Dwarfing rootstock helps. Do not, under any circumstances, heap soil or mulch or ANYTHING around the base of the trunk. Citrus are very intolerant of chronically wet bark. If you mulch, ensure that the mulch is at least 3-4 inches, 7-10 cm away from the trunk.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 9:30PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

my container citrus made it through many weeks of 100 degree plus days un-shaded without any problems, i did however have to water twice daily. Im not disagreeing with displacer, just sharing my experience with temperature effect on citrus.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:41AM
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displacer(6)

Well, I was looking at it from the point of view of, what would I want to be told if I suddenly found myself in possession of a surprise mango?

My trees made it through 3 weeks of 100+ degree weather as well - they definitely can do it - but I can see a major difference between the one that was in the shade all summer and the three that were in the sun. If I had room to shade them all in that kind of heat, I definitely would.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:14PM
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cebury(9)

/agree with Displacer. They can make it, but boy do they seem love afternoon shade when temps are high. Alternatively, once the weather went back down into low 90's here, ALL my container trees (fruit, non-fruit alike) had aggressive flushes, even those in afternoon only sun. Most of them went stagnant in the full afternoon sun with 100+F temps-- despite watering practices as it got difficult to not overwater. I also protect my containers from high root temps to ensure the roots stay in 90s regardless of hotter ambient temps.

The difference between healthy growing during full sun and just surviving became obvious to me this summer with the various informal testing of tree placement in full and partial sun.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:36AM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

I had an awaking when I found out how much that tree cost ($150) and I brought it back to home depot and exchanged it for 5 individual trees that had lots of growth compared to the small amount of canopy for each variety on the novelty cocktail tree. I also figured I could have 5 citrus varieties and not loose them all if one died for some reason. So now I have a 7 gallon ruby red grapefruit, 7 gallon navel orange a 3 gallon meyer lemon, pink lemonade lemon and a key lime-(which has flowers on it now!! so excited). I am not going to re-pot them just yet until I read more and learn a few things. They are roomy still in the pots they are in so I have some time. Looking forward to picking your brains :)

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 10:04PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Marin, I had a meyer lemon and a Kumquat in pots for 5 yrs. or so and it did very well...I just this past Spring decided to plant them both in the ground since I lost a mango tree and Lychee trees(froze to death)...in its place. Not sure about the others but might get pretty large in pots...the grapefruit and Navel I would think would do better in the ground if you have the room.The other two might be okay in pots with a yearly trim. One thing in my neighborhood every other house has Grapefruits...so there's no reason for me to ever plant one(not my favorite) and the tree gets HUGE...NO room in my yard...gotta save it for Mango trees,lol...

Here's my meyer lemon when I had it potted up...Good luck and congrats with all your new citrus!

Oh...I also have a Calamondin...this one makes an excellent potted Citrus!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 11:02AM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

Hi Nancy... I am with you about saving the yard space for mango trees. I will keep the grapefruit and navel orange tree pruned back to a reasonable size. I only got the citrus to keep me from getting bored. My mango trees are on auto pilot now. They look good and have grown quite a bit. Tell me your opinion about whether I should "pug" my cogshall or just leave it alone... I have been debating myself on it. Here are the pictures I took yesterday. I should post them in the tropicals blog, probably more appropriate but here are the citrus pics, check the other board too for the mango pics for your advice

all my citrus trees, lancetilla in the corner

ruby red grapefruit

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 9:53PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

My God!! You guys are making me drool!!!

Beautiful!!

Mike

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 9:59PM
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displacer(6)

Your citrus trees are so cute! I think that trading in the cocktail plant was a good plan, especially given that you got so many adorable little trees in exchange.

I hope you have fun with them!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 6:53AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Marin, those trees are beautiful...ALL of them! I agree that trading in the cocktail tree was a much better idea!

As far as the Cogshall...I would just leave it alone for now...now is really not the best time to be pruning Mango trees, we're going into our cooler weather soon and the trees should be getting ready to start storing energy for Blooms, hopefully? Plus I can't ever recommend to anyone to "pug" their trees...just because I do it to my own trees doesn't mean I can recommend it to anyone else,lol...

If you decide to trim it ...I would wait until next Spring...see first if you get some flowers...I'm afraid if you prune now, you might miss out on some fruits this coming season. Good luck!

Hi Mike, we have plenty of room left for you here in FL...we'll save you a spot :o)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 8:03AM
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birdsnblooms

Mike, let's pack our plants and move to Fl. lol

Pug, beautiful trees. You know I admire your plants/trees/sux.

Marin..Gorgeous, gorgeous trees!!! Why do you want to rid the Fruit Cocktail? Maybe I misread the post?
I'd love seeing it when in fruit..Different varieties.
God, I'd love having one. I ordered a FC from a non-citrus nursery; they sent 5 little sticks, 3 dead..looked nothing like the pic, and never would. lol.
I am 'green' w/envy..Fl here I come. Toni

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 12:42PM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

Toni... they have big cocktail trees in 15 - 20 gallon containers for 149$ at the local home depot. They are nice but after thinking about it, having one branch for each for each variety, having to prune it to keep the different varieties balanced and having to wait years to get more than one fruit on each branch variety seemed like a waste compared to having all 5 varieties individually. If I lived in a condo I would have kept it but since I have the room I opted for plan B. All you zone 5 and 6 folks can move on down any time!! I'll even feed you mangos while you house hunt :) We'd love to have you!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 2:18PM
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