Whats ure custom soil mix for citrus

tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)October 31, 2013

I was up late thinking there are countless mixes home made and store alike but which one is the best. I feel its by trial and errors u find it miracle grow citrus soil killed my trees when I first started growing citrus learned from that lol. Next I tired miracle grow citrus with half pealite worked ok but drained to fast had to water twice a day. I tired other mixes to,What I finally came up with was burrpees seed starting soil mix with 1/3 sand and small gravel added to it.drains well but holds water to.Burrpees seed stater soil has pealiite,coconut fiber instead of peat moss. So it should hold water but not as much as miracle grow citrus (caused root rot for me anyway). The point is there is no perfect soil depending on ure area climate and other variations it will different for u. Whatever soil u use has to be well draining,has to stay most Not sapping wet,it has to be able to hold nutrients for the tree. I hope this helps please post what u came up with for ure trees.

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

1 part crushed brick 1/4-3/4 inch pieces
3 parts angular sand 1/64-1/4 inch particle sizes
1 part rotted compost, leaves wood vegetable scrapes
1 part rich garden dirt
1 part pine fines

Some people question my garden dirt and compost, I find that is holds the nutrients and water long enough that I can water 2 a week in the summer. The trick is to pot up in the spring, so the roots fill the container and the canopy fill out with new growth. As the cooling comes in fall, The pot will be ready to up-size but I will wait until spring. The plant will not be using much water and will benefit in a now smallish container.


Thanks for asking. I would like to see what other are using. People formulate there mixes for their area


    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 8:46AM
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People do formulate their mixes for their area, but it does not mean it is healthy for their trees..Just convenient for the grower...

A well aerated mix like the 5.1.1 or 1.1.1 is universally excepted and best for all citrus no matter where you live...

Mixes with a vast majority of bark and stable ingredients that take forever to compost if ever, like small stones, pumice, turface, crushed granite chips, very course sand, perlite ect.... also fit the bill..

I can hook you up with links at another time since I realized it's time to run off...

Have a great day folks!


    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 10:23AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I agree with Mike on this, and use a modified version, since I leave my container citrus out all year 'round, and we have essentially zero rain during late spring through late fall, when we're at our hottest and driest. I would have to water 3 times a day if I used a straight 5-1-1 mix. So, I add more fines to my mix because I actually need more water retention than you folks who enjoy lovely summer rains :-)

As an aside, Mike & John, had to share something very interesting I saw yesterday: I was moving one of my sour orange tree containers over a wee bit, to squeeze in another sour orange that I planted in a similar ceramic pot but in a different color (so I will have a blue/green/blue row of sour orange trees). When I slide this tall pot over - and this pot is tall and slender, not what you might think would be ideal for citrus - I heard a ripping sound. Sure enough! Feeder roots had grown out of the bottom of the pot, and were working their way into my pavers below! I'll post a photo of the trees, they're so very healthy and happy. But boy was I shocked to see feeder roots down at the bottom of the pot!! And, these are not small pots. Obviously my mix is making them very happy, and I still have a significant amount of larger particles.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 8:01PM
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I've had great results just using Sta-Gro garden soil mixed with Turface (in my case oil-sorb from tractor supply which is 100% fullers earth). My citrus trees are doing great but I might add even more turface next time I repot since I didn't get as much in their mix as I did in the other plants.

My mango tree and hibiscus plants in particular look fantastic and are probably in 1-1 mix of turface and Sta-Gro. You just have to find what works for you and this works well for me.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 12:13AM
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RyanLo(NC 7B)

When considering all the factors I have to deal with, 5-1-1 is not good in my opinion either - its actually a very bad option for me.

In my opinion it's only practical application is if you have small trees and only a few and they are primary indoor with minimum direct sunlight. Its too heavy, dries too quickly, too expensive and mostly, there are much better alternatives.

Use 5-1-1 if you are new to citrus have small trees that are indoor for half of the season or more.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:59AM
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Patty, that is just amazing!!! Don't you just hate to not know what to do with all them healthy roots hanging from the bottom....? lol

What did you do with all those exposed ones? It is always a ..Should I cut them off and then bring the pot in, or just stick the pot in a bigger pot?

You have so many happy campers there and beautiful trees!


    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 12:58PM
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Ryan...What is your custom mix? I am curious....I am sure it could help someone here...

Thank you...

Seems like everyone is agreement that roots needs to breath and hate to stay wet, so it's good that many here are figuring ways around crappy mixes with using wonderful ingredients getting good results...

The 5.1.1 and gritty are a stepping stone for the concepts many take from these here for building their own mixes or manipulating them..

Seriously though, 'if' made correctly, the gritty and 5.1.1 mixes are still universally excepted by a majority all over the country, just check out the container forum threads......They stay moist a lot longer one may think, even for those living in hot states like many of my friends will tell me.

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 15:06

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 1:14PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

my mix
One bag of this, 2 cubic feet

plus one bag of this, 8 quarts

equals the product on the top, lower portion is the hapi gro straight from the bag.

to most this may look to have too small of particles but i need a mix that holds a bit more water because of how hot and windy our summers are.

I also add a slow release but never have measured. this really isnt rocket science and I never measure when i cook. Except for baking of course which is a must.

Total cost is around $7. I also started using this back in spring so I am still testing it but so far seems pretty good for me.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 3:12PM
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Excellent Mike!!!

That looks like a great mix, many would be envious of....I wish I had access to that Happy Gro!!! I only wish but then I am lucky to have access to the Fafard Nuresry mix..lol

I love the looks of it...Nice and porous and yets holds moisture..Your trees are a testiment to a good draining mix...Thanks..

Hoping you are well...


    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 3:21PM
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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

Nice to see all the mixes my trees love my mix and ure right Mike there's no perfect mix. The tree will let u know very quick if its happy or not.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 1:51AM
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I am loving these types of postings. My citrus trees will be in better mixes in Spring!


    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Soil mix is half the story. Pot drainage and ventilation is just as important..Clay pot inside of plastic pot shield the roots from excessive heat and drying. When the cold whether comes, the clay pot alone will help dry the soil when the tree can't do it all. I use the aeration hole in the side of my over sized containers.

Seed grown nagami and meiwa wth 300+ side vent holes.

Any soil mixes best friend. DRAINAGE HOLES GALORE.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 11:32AM
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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

U are very creative wow I take from you're thoughts and add to them wow great ideas.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 1:43AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Give me any of the Fafard Heavyweight professional mixes. They're perfection right out of the bag.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 11:07AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Mike in OK, well done. You and I have to get creative with our mixes due to our weather issues (for me, very hot and completely dry for 9 months out of the year through summer), and the fact that I have no access to Farfard, sadly. Steve, using a ceramic pot with good bottom drainage or for those that have to move pots in and out, a good quality plastic, acrylic, fiberglass, composite pot will provide enough drainage for citrus, if you have a well enough draining potting mix. I think, while your potting setup might work, it's excessive, and not particularly duplicative for most folks, who would like a nice looking container in their home for the winter. I never use unglazed red clay pots here in S. California as they are simply way too drying for my climate with it's lower relative humidity and lack of any rain at all from about March through November. I couldn't possibly water my trees enough. So, a container that is not breathable is preferable. And, for many others as well. I'm not sure why you feel you need the "aerate" your citrus roots so much. Perhaps due to the amount of rain you receive??

And MeyerMike, not sure what to do with all those roots as of yet, lol! I was SO shocked to see so much root growth through the bottom hole, and those trees are just in the pots for about a year, maybe less. A real tribute to Four Winds doing such a fine job establishing their trees with excellent root growth. The pot they're in are big. Actually, they were rather over-sized for the size of the trees to start with, so I made sure that I added a bit more larger pieces in my mix, to make sure I didn't have any drainage issues. I would have expected this sort or rapid root growth in my potted blackberries and raspberries (and that's why their pots are set on pavers, lol!) but not so much citrus. So, I'm probably going to have to pot them up next year. I was really shocked, personally.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 2:08PM
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I will tell you one thing though, it goes to show you that you understand the concepts of a good mix and how your trees react to it..

Graet job and I can't wait to see some of your majestic babies!! Thanks for the info too..


    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 12:32PM
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If i may add,that it is more important to know if your tree is in the final size container.For me 4 years old tree should be growing in its final size container,anything younger makes not too much different,spend more attension on fertilizers.My growing soil contains only 2 ingredients: fine bark and turface.If you use more turface you should not need granite. Turface last 4 years,i.m.o.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 1:49PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, everyone!

I agree with a lot of the advice..."all gardening is local," indeed, and we all have microclimates in our yards. As a general rule, a Citrus mix will work best when it is made of durable, porous, uniformly sized particulate that allows for some moisture retention balanced with excellent drainage. When possible, I'm of the opinion that using a larger volume of a fast-drying mix is preferable to using a smaller volume of more moisture retentive mix.

Ryan, you must be confused about 5-1-1. Not only is it lightweight, it is also economical - unless one compares it to some horribly cheap bagged mix. But if comparing apples to apples, quality mix to quality mix, you'd pay a lot more for a pre-bagged mix. Secondly, when made properly, 5-1-1 holds a good deal of moisture - it is primarily intended as a single season Summer mix, thus its heavier water retention. If a container is adequately sized for the plant, there really shouldn't be a reason to be watering twice a day or even once a day.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2013 at 3:34PM
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