Fall is Coming! Best Indoor Light SpecificationS For Citrus?

bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)September 21, 2010

Hello all!

Well Fall is quickly approaching ( which is well welcomed after the extreme summer we have had here this year).

But for me, this means that it will soon be indoor time for all my citrus trees.

I never use to have a light problem with my citrus until a few years ago when I moved to my new house. While the house is beautiful, it does not have that "sunny" place I used to have. My "Florida" room is ALL windows, and one would think that would be full of light, but it does not seem to get much light until after 2pm each day.

Last year, I supplemented my citrus with some regular indoor plant lights. While it did seem to help, it was still not enough, for these lights needed to be right on top of the plants, and I still had much leaf drop.

I have about 8+ citrus so I need light(s) that can span more than one or 2 trees, or lets say, be suspended from above, and not just right above each single plant while not needing 8 separate lights to do so.

I know that there are certain lights that have better spectrum/color number/ratios (or whatever) that pertain more towards the growing requirements of citrus, than lets say for example, of seed starting/sprouting lights ( like what my lights are for). I am more or less looking for less leaf/blossom/fruit drop during the winter months.

Can any of you let me know what lights I need for my citrus to do well for the winter? Where can I purchase them? I cannot seem to find such lights. And that also will also not be an eye-soar since they will technically be part of a living space that we spend a lot of time in?

I would assume I would put them on at night, using them as a night light to save electricity.

Thanks so much! Christy

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bonechickchris your trees would be best served by real grow lights. Such lights are not cheep but they put out a lot more light per watt than fluorescent or incandescent lighting.

You did not say what size your trees are or how large an area you need to light up or how aggressive you want to be with your lighting. If this is just supplemental lighting its really up to you. Do you want them just to stay kinda healthy or do you want them to thrive?

In general a bare naked 400watt HPS hung in the center of four trees would be minimal lighting. A naked 600watt HPS hung in the center of four trees would be optimal.

A 45watt fluorescent grow light puts out 2,800 lumen's.
A 400watt bulb puts our roughly 55,000 lumen's.
A 600watt bulb puts out roughly 95,000 lumen's.

HidHut has about the best prices on digital ballasts you will find.

You may be able to find a better price on eBay but make sure the seller has a good reputation and warranty if you take that rout.

Here is a link that might be useful: HidHut

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:14PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

I couldnt stand to have the orange glow of a high pressure sodium lamp in my living space. I dont have a ton of experience with supplemental lighting for indoor plants/trees, most of mine is with aquarium plants, but I would prefer to use a metal halide or a full spectrum fluorescent if it was in my house and I had to look at it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:01AM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Actually, if you go to this older post of mine regarding soil, you can see pictures of most of my trees. I have one rather large lemon tree that is with pot, 5+ feet high. However, as you can see, all of my other citrus are rather small, although I have one other rather full, bushy variegated pink lemon tree not pictured, all else I have should be in these pictures. Usually these smaller citrus I put up on a table in order to reach the lights and height of my large lemon tree.

So, I would be grouping them all together somehow as uniform as possible using a table.

Like I said, I would be having them in a living room type situation, so I would not be able to have some super bright lights here. They would be getting regular day light, so the light would be supplimental. It is just the day light is not enough for them to hold all of their leaves and fruit.

They live in the house from about late October to Late March/Early April.

Since they are partial house plants, I do not need them to be "super thriving" since I need to lug them in and out every year. But I do need them to be able to be healthy enough to retain leaves and have the ability to develop blossoms and fruit, which is what I have the problem with now. I have a lot of fruit drop indoors.

If the lights I necessitate would be too bright for a living room situation,I could have my citrus live in the basement (heated) for the winter. There, they could use any type of lighting. Currently, there is not natural light down there, so the only light they would get would only be from an artificial light source. As long as these lights would not cause a fire hazzard of some sort, this can be a possability.

Ok, I hope I included all of the missing info you needed? THanks again for helping me out so far! Please let me know if you think the basement would be better since I could go brighter down there.

Do these lights make a big difference electricity wise? Just curious!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Citrus Pictures In this Thread

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:51AM
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Oh yes....Expect a nice Electris Bill..

But I guess that is the rpice many of us pay to keep our plants actively growing all winter...When you smell your blossom while the outside is frigid, you won't even give the electric bill a thought, until it comes in of course..:-)

I too use to use metal Halide which my plants thrived on! The lighting is more natural, like being out in the sun as compared to many others and I got tons of bloosoms and new growth...


    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 12:42PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

the link below might give you some ideas of what might work.

I would use a 4' or 8' T5 or T8 fluorescent and either make a stand or chain hang from the ceiling. you can probably find a decent fixture at your local Homedepot or Lowes. This might not be the absolute best for the trees, but it would economical and not as overwhelming as a big HID fixture in your living room.

cost to run something electrical is watts/1000=kilowatts
kilowatts X run time X whatever you power company charges.

for example in my situation to run a 1500 watt heater 10hrs for my greenhouse is this

1.5 X 10 X $0.08 = $1.20

if I had a 150 watt HPS on for 10 hrs it would cost me about $0.12

you can call you power company and ask what the charge.

Here is a link that might be useful: lights

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 1:08PM
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I know it does not seem like it because we all like the cool white of MH. However HPS is a warmer light with better penetration than MH. However both work and in a living space I think I would go with an MH too.

HID = High Intensity Discharge. It is light years ahead of fluorescents for deep penetration into a plants canopy. These trees are fairly small though so a 4' T5 fluorescent may do the trick. An HPS or even an MH for that matter would be much better but I would not want one in a living space. If you are looking at HID's they are really hard on your eyes. Not the kind of thing you would want in the same room you eat meals or watch TV in. Looking at a HID whether it be HPS or MH is little different than looking at the sun. Not a good thing to do day after day.

It may not be as good as an MH or HPS HID but a 6 or 8 tube 4' long T5 fluorescent may be better for you in a living space. However if the cost of moving them to the basement and buying a single 600w HPS is not cost prohibitive. It will do more than keep your trees somewhat healthy. It will keep your trees growing all winter. Its like having a small sun over your trees. Its amazing; just don't look into the light.lol

The heating costs may not be as much as you think either. A 600 watt HPS in a hood like those sold at HIDHUT and other retailers puts out a lot of heat.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 2:03PM
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Christy.. Although you chose a house you love, you probably should have waited to find a home you cared for, AND contained windows, facing all directions.
Still, winter is winter. No matter how many windows a house has, if winters are gray and cloudy, our plants get what little sun is available.

Lights. Fixtures and bulbs depend on what you want to spend. Some are less than 100.00 to thousands.

Most hardware stores sell plant lights. Home Depot, charges 19.99 for a 6' Fluerscent bulb.
Their fixtures, 'nothing ornate,' starts from 20-30.00. You can purchase fixtures that hold one or two bulbs.

I use Shop Light fixtures that takes two bulbs..You can either use Gro Light or one, white/cool and one, white/warm. 'Fluerescent.'

My front plant room has a 6' fixture w/2 Gro lights. The back plant room's fixture holds one white cool, one, white warm, fluerscent bulbs. To be honest, I don't notice any difference as far as plant growth and even flowering. .

Another fixture I use is a silver, metal cylinder, 'forgot its name,' that uses bulbs. 'Gro lights or standard bulbs.' These fixtures (cost about 7.99) have a very long cord..plug fits in a standard outlet. The cylinder reflects light. You squeeze the scissor-like bottom. The piece is then held by attaching it on a door, thick board, or even a heavy plant pot.

Here are some examples of my lights:

Back plant room.


Front Plant Room:


Home-Made shelf for smaller plants:


Hope the pics take. Flickr changed their format. As you can see, I have a shelf under the front plant room light, but without the shelf, trees would fit perfect. Chains are adjustable....Toni

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 2:41PM
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Pics didn't work..darn! Let me try figure it out. Sorry.

back room

Front Room

Home-Made Shelf

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 2:47PM
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Holy cow, Toni, you have a ton of plants! I could never take care of that many!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 5:25PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

WOW! THANKS so much for all the info! Since I know nothing about this, I am just going to try and recap this in writing for my own personal understanding, please correct me where need be. If you could just comment next to these examples a little bit to help me understand, that would be great!

So my choices could be

Digital Balasts (hidhut)

T5 or T8 Flourescents ( would be cheaper to buy my own fixture than than the one from the website?)

HID for Super Growth?

4ft T5 for living space, but HPS or MH would be better, but for basement only because of brightness

Metal Halide Bulbs do the trick, but Mike, can you tell me how you use them? What kind of fixture do you use? Where do you buy them?

Or, just buy or use the same fixtures I have been using from Home Depot, but use one cool bulb and one warm bulb. Thanks for all of the pics! Lots of plants! Does all of your fruit stay on during the winter with these lights?

Like I said, I do not need them to go crazy with growth, but I would really like them to continue fruiting and blossoming. I am always loosing leaves and fruit up and until they get outside in the spring, and then they go crazy again.

Thanks again for all of the info and posts and links to lighting places! It is an extreme lot of help! I am just still trying to understand all of the different numbers and types. The only light I ever knew about before was the simple Gro-Light so it is taking me time understand it all!

Thanks so much! Christy

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 5:55PM
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I told you Toni knows her stuff...Beautiful plants!!

Toni, WoW!!! is right...:-)

As for me,

I know a lot more because of people like her and all you nice folks here..

I also used Halide and Compact Flourescent bulbs and I will take pictures of them for you..Fairly inexpesive for me when I bought them at "Worms Way", and they worked very very well...I tell you, when they went on, you could almost get a sunburn from them it was so bright in that room..lol
My neighbors would all ask me if I was growing pot up on the top of my roof..My lights would reflect to my neighbors home around the block! You could see my back yard lit up at night..


    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 6:36PM
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The biggest issue I've always had with winter lighting is sheer coverage. Any portion of the plant that receives insufficient light will eventually be shed. From the plant's point of view, any branch that isn't photosynthesizing is a drain on its energy, so it will shed the branch, and you'll get leaf drop and twig dieback.

So whatever plan you make, ensure that as much of the plant receives light as possible. That's one advantage to those high-wattage HPS lights - one light above the plant means that just about every portion of the plant receives a good dose. If you choose a different option, there are things you can do to minimize twig dieback. For instance, if your plant is near a window and getting good sun for part of the day, you can rotate the plant around 1/3rd once a week, to make sure that all parts get sunlight before the tree decides that some branches are dead weight. Or you can use small "spot" lights to illuminate parts that are otherwise in the dark.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 8:41PM
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bonechickchris it was a lot of information but I think you understand things pretty well. I think the T5's would do for one or two years. After that the canopy will be getting to large and too dense and you will need to upgrade to a HID.

You see light intensity diminishes over distance. Because of this the further a plant is away from the light the less benefit it receives.

For the lay person here is the basic formula.

Double the distance and cut in half the intensity.

So if yo have two plants and one is 10 inches away from the light and another plant is 20 inches away. The plant that is 20 inches away only received half the benefit as the one that is 10 inches away. By the same measure a plant that is 40 inches away will only receive twenty five percent of what another plant receives at 10 inches away. You see as light travels further away from the its source it is dispersed over a wider and wider area. The amount of light is the same but its just spread thinner. To illustrate, right next to a HID light it's hot and can burn your hand. Move 8-10" away though and it does not burn at all.

The same is true when it comes to the depth of a trees canopy. Your trees are short right now so you don't really need a lot of light penetration to keep the trees happy. However when they get taller and the canopies get deeper light penetration will mean the difference between life and death or at least healthy and just surviving. Some plants can survive under low light conditions just fine and some need more. Citrus can survive at lower light levels but they won't be happy. As I said before a T5 will probably work for now. But now is a relative thing. As the trees get taller and wider you will either have to get lots and lots of the cheaper lights or 1-2 HID's to keep them all happy.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:26PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Ok, soooo.....

I assume an HID would be better stronger, but would one be able to span all of my plants? I am taking a guess here, but I would say I need enough citrus/powerful light for a 5'x5' or even 4'x 4' amount of space?

Now, having a 4' long F5 flouresent would obviously cover this lengh-wise, but will it do the trick, even if I decide to put them in the basement? ANd how close to the tops of the plants do the lights have to be for them to have strong enough light to not lose their fruit? In inches?

I assume if it is a HID light, they can be farther away?

Thanks so much! Christy

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 3:00PM
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bonechickchris one 600 watt HPS will easily cover up to a 6'X6' area. It puts out more than three times the amount of light as a 6 bulb 4' long T5 fixture. It will probably need to be 15-20" inches above the top of the canopy to cover an area that large. You will be amazed at how much light a single 600 watt HPS it puts out. Like the power of the sun in your hands.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 3:27PM
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Displacer..LOL...believe me, you'd get used to it. My problem is, there's no one plant I like, so, well, you see the results. It's not work, it's fun.. :)

MIKE...ROFL..you're too funny. Thanks for the compliments, but your plants are beautiful, too.

Christy. Besides, scientific reasoning, choosing the right light depends on two other things. Money and Looks.
Both light fixtures came from Home Depot, around 20.00 ea. I really can't afford to spend hundreds for ornate lighting. There are beautiful fixtures around.
Gro-lights aren't too costly. 20-25 per bulb, but they last fairly long. It depends on the number of hours bulbs are on.
Whatever you decide, invest in timers..Lights go on and off for times set...if for some reason you're busy, or forget, lights go on automatically, you won't have to think about it. Toni

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 1:44PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

So if I were to put all my plants in the basement, I would go with the "mini sun" with thisisme's suggestions,

Looking at the site you gave me thisisme, and at the 600w suggestions,

I see a 600 Watt Digital Electronic Ballast on sale for $189 and an Electronic for $277 as econowing (whatever that means?) or as a Yield Master II for $50 more.

Can you let me know if I am looking at the right ones, and if the one for $189 is ok. Or do I need to go for the one for $277, and what is the difference between the 2 and the Yield master because I have no idea what any of that means! And if there are any other 600w ones I missed on that site that you suggest. Again, thanks, I know it takes time to do this for me!

And hopefulauthor, if I were to keep them upstairs in my livingroom, I probably would go your route. The only thing is that I have kind of done what you have already. I did get a fixture from Home Depot with a Grow Light, However, I did not try to have one cool and one warm, so maybe that would do the trick if I decide to keep them upstairs. Thanks for the tip!

But, because I have been noticing a lot of sap oozing the last year or so, I am strongly considering moving them downstairs this year. Plus, I have started a small fig tree collection, and I think they are still too young to over winter outside here, and I know they will not be too welcome in the living quarters. So I really think downstairs in the basement is looking to be the new likely place, so "mini-sun" may have a slight lead now!

But Toni, I still am going to use your idea for my house plants upstairs and probably one choice citrus or two because I cannot leave it just bare up here you know! LOL! I need one to atleast look at! That is part of the pleasure in all of this! So, I will still use your idea and just replace one of the fixtures I already have with one cool and one warm, instead of both grow lights for what I do leave upstairs!

Oh, and Mike, I am still interested in learning about your lights!

Oh, and thanks again mksmth for the electricity calculations! It helped me a lot and actually made me realize it was not as scary priced as I originally thought! LOL! ( or so I think!)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:36PM
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"But, because I have been noticing a lot of sap oozing the last year or so, I am strongly considering moving them downstairs this year."

Oozing sap? Sap should not ooze.

From where does it ooze? Do you see it on the trunk or branches, or does it kind of drip off the leaves?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 9:43PM
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Bonechickchris the one in the link has everything you need other than a timer.

By the way; I overwintered a bunch of rooted fig cuttings a few years ago under a 600 watt HPS in my garage and they continued to grow all winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: 600W HPS Digital Ballast, Bulb and Economy Reflector Combo

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 11:03PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)


I forgot to address the sap issue~

It was my fault, I should not of used the word "ooze". Sorry about that.
What I have is just normal leave sap/drop. Not much of a big deal with the smaller citrus I have, but with that really large lemon tree I have, it seems to go all over the windows, screens, molding, floors, etc. And then dust would stick to it and it just is not pretty.

So, I notice the older my citrus get, the more sap I have to deal with. But no, I do not have any disease or openings that are "oozing" sap. Sorry for the confusion :)

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:30PM
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There should not be any drippage of anything sticky from a citrus tree. If you have sticky drippings with no apparent damage, you have some kind of sapsucking pest.

Scale are a big culprit with sticky drips. You may not even realize that you have scale, because they don't look like insects. They just look like little bumps. Some species are smooth bumps, some are rough, and some look like furry growths.

Aphids can also make drips, but they look more like bugs so it's more obvious when you have them.

Citrus are clean trees! If you get rid of the pests, you will not have any drips.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:48PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Well, I do get some aphids at times in the winter months, never during the outdoor months. I would use a natural non-toxic spray to get rid of them since they were in the living quarters of my house, but it did not seem to work as well I guess.

Sometimes I few scales pop up, but I would say aphids would show up more often than scale.

TO be honest, I thought the sap was just normal of the citrus and pehaps more-so since I had leaf and blossom drop due to my light problems. So I thought maybe it would be less after fixing the lighting issue.

But it is good to know that it is pests causing this instead. I was using a 3 in 1 pest/insect/disease spray that was all natural, but maybe because it was all natural it did not do the trick. I also thought maybe because of the leave drop and the light situation, that is why the aphids started to appear since they did not come until later in the winter after the leaves were falling. But like I said, this was just a guess of mine.

Sooo, do you suggest something else I could use in the HOUSE for the aphid/scale situation?

Thanks for pointing this out to me! Christy

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 4:27PM
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When the trees are outdoors, the aphids are being preyed upon by predator insects, but when you bring them inside you have taken them away from their predators and they are able to breed out of control. The same goes with sucking mites (I seem to have spider mites crop up every winter) and possibly also scale, although I had a big issue with scale this year even after I took the trees outside.

Dripping sap is usually the first symptom for these kinds of pests for me. I see the sticky crud before I see any pests, and that's when I know that I need to get the magnifying glass out and find out what the issue is.

I have tried neem oil but it never worked for me with anything. Other people think that fish emulsion gets rid of pests. I have no experience with this, but I'm trying it out this year in an effort to keep the mites from riding indoors with me again. I wouldn't spray it indoors - it has a strong and, to me, unpleasant odor. Instead, I'm spraying the trees NOW while they're out in the yard.

Scale can be killed with horticultural oil. This works by smothering the insect, so you need to make sure you get good coverage of all plant surfaces. You may also need to repeat the treatment, as the crawlers aren't always killed by the oil. This should be done now, since it is totally messy, so you'd like to do it outside. It will probably get some aphids, too, although I've never used it for aphids.

Acetamiprid kills scale and aphids. It is a systemic insecticide chemically related to nicotine. It works by getting inside the tissues of the plant, and is subsequently sucked out by the insect to kill it. This ensures that even pests that are hidden in crevices are killed, and it bypasses the scale's natural defenses, but it also means that it ends up in the fruit. It's labeled for fruit so it should be safe, but it's up to you whether or not you want to eat fruit off a tree that's been treated with it.

Dinotefuran also kills scale (not sure about aphid), and it works the same way as acetamiprid, but it is NOT labeled for use with fruit. This means that you need to pull the fruit off the tree and discard it. This is a crying shame, because dinotefuran comes as a granule rather than a spray, which is REALLY convenient for indoors use.

Lighting still needs to be addressed if you are getting a lot of leaf drop. You should also be aware that leaf drop can be caused by other things, such as drafts, or a sudden shocking change of environment. Some varieties are more sensitive to these things than others.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 5:09PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Yeah, outside they are just perfect. Actually, anytime I see a Ladybug ( or my five year old son sees one), I pick it up, and put it on one of my citrus trees, usually my large lemon tree, since I know they love to munch on aphids. Actually, I think it has done some good, because I now see little colonies of Lady Bugs that have formed on my Citrus trees. So I think the ones I put on the trees by hand must of informed their "friends" of the new hot spot! LOL!

Since I have grown citrus before at my old house that had lots of light with not many leaf drop problems, I am pretty sure that the current leaf drop situation is the lack of direct sun-light of this house. Now, you would think with this house, it would be perfect, it is ALL windows with a great big view of the lake. In the winter, the way the sun moves, the sun is directly in front of these windows, setting right in front of us over the lake. But I guess since the sun does not come over the house until the afternoon, it is not that early morning/intense light that the citrus really need. My other house had a sun porch that got morning light until the sun came over the house sometime around 1pm. Well, at this house, the sun has to "come over" the house, and that happens AFTER 1pm. Does that make sence?
Looking at this picture, you would think I would get great light.
I also stuck in a pic of my large lemon tree, that came from a seed of another lemon tree that was at the time, 80 years old, brought over on the boat from Avellino, Italy. This tree was a seedling of that old tree, and is about 13-15 years old. I have posted about this tree before. It has blossomed before, however the blossoms would never fruit. I mean, you would never even get to see a little "knob" in there to let you know a fruit was possible. So odd. I have been waiting so long for this tree to fruit. I wish I knew what kind of fruit it was. Anyway, that is another story.

I do have Bonide All Seasons Horticultural Oil I just got the other day for the aphids and scale to try as a preventative because I did have in mind to spray soon before I bring them in in a month or so, so I did have all of this in mind! I just did not do it yet because I did not know if this would hurt my Lady Bugs or not? Would you think this was a good enough product for preparing to being inside?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:22PM
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If I had a tree that didn't even set fruit, and I wasn't concerned about the organic or natural origin of my solution, I would consider dinotefuran for a sapsucking insect issue. It makes your plant poisonous, but if you're not eating anything off it, it doesn't matter much.

I don't know if the oil will harm the ladybirds, but you can probably shake them off the tree before you spray. I hear you with the picking-them-up-and-putting-them-on-the-tree thing ... they are so cute.

Kind of weird about the fruit, though. Do you mean that the ovary part of the flower just drops off when the flower does? Do you have another lemon tree to cross-pollinate? Maybe it's self-sterile and needs a friend. I am just guessing. It is a beautiful tree!

Your house is lovely, and look at that view! I know what you're saying about the light, and I'm sure you're right - if they only get direct sun in the late afternoons, your leaf drop is likely to be light-related.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 11:59PM
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Christy, your home is beautiful...Your outside door is so pretty.. :)
Although you have quite a few windows, obviously, the outside trees obstruct sunlight. Is your palm normally kept in the room? It's doing great, but citrus need a lot more light than most palms.

The scale must go..aphids, too. It's true, Fish Emulsion has an odor, but 1. they now have an odor-less type, 'never tried it, but I'd bet it still has a fishy smell,' and 2. it kills Scale. Worth a couple days of stink. lol. If possible, you can spray outdoors, wait a day, then bring back inside. I'm not thrilled with its scent, but rather deal with it for a day or two, then have a house filled w/bugs.

9 or so years back I ordered an Olive tree. I didn't notice it arrived with scale. Although I mist daily, I somehow missed seeing them. A wk or so went by, and again while misting, I noticed one side of a citrus, neighboring the olive, had brown, lumpy bumps on its branches. I inspected the olive and noticed it was scale-loaded. They were everywhere. I looked at a second citrus on the other side of the olive, and sure enough, branches closest to the olive had scale.
I remembered a woman who owns a citrus nursery telling me she used Fish Emulsion as a preventative. I followed her directions, and 3 days later, all signs of scale were gone. The olive and both citrus branches were insect-free. From then on, I started using FE as an insecticide/preventative, and its regular use, to fertilize C&S's.

If you're finding honeydew on your walls/windows, and floors, I'm afraid to say, your citrus must have quite a few.
Hope I'm wrong, but you really should check all parts of your tree and nearby plants. Long term scale causes deformed leaves and fruit.

Since I steer clear of chemicals, I make up a home-made insecticide..been using it for years..the only bug it doesn't kill is Mealy, and thank God, I haven't seen any. Well, I did find some on a new plant, and tossed it. The same day!

It won't hurt to try the cool/warm bulbs..but citrus need sunlight, too..The lights won't raise your electric bill much. Ours bill goes up in winter, but I keep lights on for hours..tv, computer, and more lights..lol. In summer, when most bills go up, ours go down. We don't use a/c, so, it evens out. lol.

Your tree on the porch is gorgeous..so symetrical. Toni

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 2:55AM
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Chris, WoW!

What a beautiful teree and porch..I would love living there all year..I wouldn't even give the south a second thought living on a lake with all those windows..Your citrus ought to be ashamed of themselves dropping leaves after being spoiled there...


    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 1:15PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Awe, thank you guys for all of the nice compliments on my house!
Funny, because anything growing on the porch does just fine, but as soon as they are inside by the windows, the light is restricted just enough in the winter. Of course the palms do fine since they do not need the light requirements of citrus.

Now, with the big lemon tree, it has no blossoms on it now. Should get some in Oct/Nov. Yes, it is weird. It will get tons of blossoms. It acts like it needs a pollinator I thought. But then again, that is my opinion. To me, it seems there is a part missing in the flower, like the little "lump" in there. Like it is limp.

Now, I know that citrus are suppose to be self-fertile, so what the heck I am talking about, I do not know, I am just trying to explain how I look at it.

As for its parent, that 80 year old ( or would probably be 100 by now, if it is still alive). It was a lemon tree brought over from Avellino, Italy like around the 1910's.

Unfortunately, noone ever knew the variety. All that I know is that it was the largest lemon I had ever seen! The parent lemon was the size of a grapefruit or bigger! It was insane! This tree, the last time I saw it, was probably somewhat bigger than my tree, but it was "old" looking. It looked like a huge bonsaii tree, if that makes sence. Like it had these thick, huge, dark looking branches. Very interesting.
I guess, if I were to compare a lemon, I would say the only lemon I have ever seen come close to size of this lemon is a Ponderosa Lemon, but these lemons were still larger than any Ponderosa lemon I have ever seen. So was this because of how old this tree was, or because this was some kind of intersting, rare Italian variety, I do not know.

So,my tree, was a seedling of one of these massive lemons. My tree is probably pushing 15 years old. It has had some ups and downs with moves and leaf loss. It lost a lot of leaves this winter, but obviously came back nice this summer, so I hope it will blossom ok this fall. And when it does, I can hopefully take pictures and disect blooms for closer analization.

Trust me, this tree is very sentimental to me. I have had a long post about this. Most have answered to me about a tree needing so many leaf noded to blossom and fruit. But the tree does blossom, so I do not think that is the issue. It is the point that it does not fruit after it blossoms.

Well, this may sound weird, but I guess I will tell you anyway, they you can all think I am nuts.
You know my friend, who was the one who's father who brought the original tree over from Italy all of those years ago. His father waited forever for his lemon tree to fruit all of those years. It never did for him.

Well, his father passed away ( we are talking like the 1960's). Well, didn't you know the year his father passed, was the 1st year his tree fruited? Like since he never got to see it fruit himself, he made darn sure from above that tree finally fruited even if it was after he passed!

Well, my friend said to me, "Well, maybe when I pass, it will finally be the 1st year when you tree finally fruits!"

My friend passed this July.

So this season, I am a little freaked out about my tree.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:20AM
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Andrew Scott

Hi Christy,
First of all I want to offer my sincerest condolences on your friends passing:( I know how difficult that can be. I lost a good friend my first year out of high school. He jumped off a peer in Lake Erie. He was under the influence of alcohol and drugs and another close friend of mine tried t osave him but he ended up smashing his face into the break wall and losing my friend. That morning theyfound him floating in the harbour.
Okay, about your tree. I have a nice lush dwarf keylime tree. Of all places, I bought it from Roberta's on QVC. It was a small little whip of a tree but has since grown to be over 3 ft tall. It has loaded up plenty of times with flowers. My first complaint was that this tree was advertised as having a great scent. Logees greenhouse also sells it this way and there is NO detectable scent whatsoever! Anyhow, my buds would open and then right about the time the petals would start to drop, the whole flower would fall off! I did have the tiny ovary at the base of the flower but it never developed. I have had a few here and there that did hold on but always fell before they ever got any size to them. Mike also told me that even though citrus are supposed to be self fertile, it may need to be pollinated. I also know that there are some citrus that need cross pollinators to set fruit well. One of them is a citrus that I have been considering buying, the minneola tangelo. I read up on it and read some posts here on it and found that they don't have to have the cross pollinator but you may only get a couple fruits without one.

Hi Toni,
I wanted to tell youy that I will email you some pics of my two mango trees. Sadly, one of them is going to die but it was my fault. This is the mango I brought back from Florida and I didn't pay attention to the trunk of the tree like I should have. When I got it home, I realized that the bark was split in one spot but I was home and it was too late to do anything about it. I have learned a ton about these trees and though I have lost 3 in the past, I am confident enough to buy more and get some of my own fresh mangoes. mango and cherimoya are my favorite fruits. I did want your opinion on these HPS lights. Now, I have read that they are brighter than bright. Fine with me, as long as they are bright enough to support strong healthy growth. This HidHut website has some killer deals. I am going to order the 600 watt HPS. I am going to need to of them. I went a little crazy on buying fruit trees this year. I bought a 'Day' avoacdo, two different varieties of cherimoya, one actually is a double grafted tree with an atemoya also on it, 3 citrus trees, a mango tree, tons of cherimoya, sugar apple, passion fruit and guava seedlings. I have around 14 large trees so I am hoping that if I buy two of these 600 watt set ups, I can suspend the light above the trees with three trees on one side and 3 on the otherside, that way I can have six trees under each light. My seedlingsa are still small enough to fit on my table but I also ordered 3 cacti from K and L cactus. I have a jackfruit that is growing pretty quickly and my problem is like Christy. I have hardly any good quality natural light. Well, I hope all is well with you and I will email you soon.
I also need to email you. I got some good news about some of the stresses I was talking about with you. I will be sending your package out to you next week. Wether the angel trumpet is ready to be cut or not. Did I mention that the same plant that bloomed once has about 8 buds on it? It should be blooming by the end of this week or maybe next week. I will email you pics when it is blooming so you can see what you will be getting.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 1:24PM
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For anyone not used to HID lighting be careful. The lights can sun burn plants that are to close. The way to judge how close a plant can be to a light is simple though. After the light is at full brightness. Say 15-20 mins after it is turned on. Put the back of your hand under the light and hold it there for say 15-20 seconds. If the back of your hand starts to burn from the heat its too close to the plant. Don't put a plant closer to the light than is comfortable for your hand in the hand test.

These are powerful lights meant to grow plants and trees indoors. So as your trees grow you will need to raise the light to keep the tree from growing to close. If you don't it can grow to close and burn the new growth.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 2:21PM
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I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I do hope that you can get the tree to fruit, though.

You know, when all our trees bloom this fall, someone could mail you some lemon pollen and you could try to pollinate your tree that way. It's worth a shot, right? I have two lemons, a Eureka and a Meyer, and if they bloom before yours I'd be willing to send you a little bag of stamens to try.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 6:55PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Hi Guys!

Sorry, I was away from the forum for the past few days.

Yes, I would have the light suspended from the rafters in the basement so I am sure the light would be high enough from the plants. THe small plants would have to be on a table as it is because if they were on the ground, they would only be 2ft off the ground, and I am sure that would not be close enough to the light, even with this powerful light.
I figure put the small trees on top of a table to reach the same height as my big lemon tree does, which is 4-5 feet tall. This way they are all about the same height together. So, about how heigh should the light be from all of them above?

Thank you for the pollen offer! Now that I have several others blossoming, I am hoping to have some luck, but if not, I will definitely let you know! That would be really weird if it fruited this year for the first time like my friend said.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 11:58AM
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bonechickchris the distance really depends on two things.

1) The amount of heat the light is putting out at a given distance.

2) How high you need to raise the light for it to cover the desired area.

To get #1 you turn on the light and let it run for 30-45 mins. Then put the back of your had under the light. If the back of your hand starts to burn after 15 seconds its to close.

To get #2 you start with the distance the back of your hand is comfortable with. Then move the light higher until all the canopies are receiving light.

If the walls are white or if you put some reflective material around the trees you can maximize the light source even further.

Here is a link that might be useful: Reflectix Bubble Pack Insulation

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 1:14PM
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I have used Wonderlites because they screw into a fixture. I have bloomed Plumerias and orchids under them. I also use CFL's in octopus type floor lamps with success to carry over orchids and get them to bloom indoors. I buy the highest watt CFLs in Home Depot and can put 4 in the octopus lamps.

The Wonderlites are much stronger and do generate heat. They were great for blooming the Plumies idoors.


Here is a link that might be useful: Wonderlite

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 1:08AM
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