Question about root growth, temperature, and winter coming

bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)November 14, 2013

Hi all,
I had a few questions about citrus root growth.

First, I know that most citrus will halt root growth with temps under 50F.

I have a greenhouse that my citrus stay in during the winter (and most of the year). During the winter, my general minimum temps at night could go down to 40F, although on a few rare nights in deep of winter, it may go down to the high 30's but as of this date I have had no ill issues with them getting that cold. They seem to handle it just fine.
Now during the morning and all afternoon, until sundown, temps in the greenhouse are usually in the 70's and 80's everyday, unless the skies are dark, but even then, it is still in the 60's atleast, somedays even into the 90's.

So my question is, with my citrus being in temps very warm for about 2/3rds of the day, can roots grow during that time? Or because it does reach below 50F at night, does that stop root growth altogether throguh the winter?

My main reason for asking is because I did a large amount of transplanting on several of my citrus at the end of the summer, into 5:1:1, but for some reason, my mix stayed too wet and several of my trees suffered root damage/rot.

I have since transplanted most of them into Fafard 52 heavy weight mix along with some extra coarse perlite just to make sure they will drain well.

So, being so late in the season I was wondering if there was still enough time for them to get some new root growth before winter gets here and less light is available.

Also, do any of you have any suggestions on how to get some quick growth?
I do have heat mats but cannot use them until I get another electrical socket installed outside, which I hope will be soon.

I am just hoping there was not too much damage done and want them to star some new rot growth fast. Thanks! Christy

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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

Don't really know full answer to this I made my deck a greenhouse with heating pads and heater with greenhouse film. My trees do not drink no where near as much water now. They do have new growth and are blooming so I assume the roots are still growing. However my heating pads make a huge different in soil temperature 20 to 25 degrees on really cold nights. So with out heating pads I would say very slow. It would help if u take ure soil temps at night mooring and 2pm so see how much heat holds at night. Growth stops at 50 degrees and doesn't start back until it is 65 degrees again in roots. I hope this helps this is all I know still learning.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:07PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

I can tell you from experience and from being here for years that they will grow once the temps go above 55 dgrees..

The same goes for figs and anything else that would normally go dormant..That is why it is mandatory that any of my dormant trees are not exposed to temps above 55 for any amount of time..

They will grow and stop, grow and stop, but will be fine...

It is not too late to transplant as long as you used a good mix and do not over water...:-0)

Quick growth and great/superb growth at that, will happen if temps are consistently kept above 55 dgrees..No way around that..

I would have no quams about letting them just sit idle or rest, until the true growing season..They tend to push better growth and more fruit when given their space or time to recoup..

Mike

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 18:16

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:12PM
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johnmerr(11)

An instant read thermometer... something that every serious cook has in their kitchen, can tell you what the soil temperature is in the root zone. Air temperature for brief moments of the day does not indicate soil temperature; and it is the soil temperature that will determine root growth. Remember always, first the roots must grow; and after that the leaves and branches will grow.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:27PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Exactly what MeyerMike said. RIght now for me this is exactly the case. We just had a weird heat wave come through. Temps WERE in the high 60's/low 70's, with nighttime temps dipping as low as the high 40's. Pretty typical for fall here where I live in the middle of "citrus country". Yesterday it was 94 for a high, and don't think it was below 65 last night - very balmy. It has been warmer over the last few days, and I am seeing small flushes here and there with my citrus. Which also means root growth as John has mentioned (you cannot have leaf flush without first having root growth). But, temps will drop back down this weekend, which is normal. So, over the winter we see grow and stop, grow and stop. Pretty normal for citrus, so your citrus would experience the same thing as citrus growing in-ground. Perfectly normal through the winter months.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 7:04PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

Thanks guys!

I am just worried because some of my trees the roots took a real hit, and after taking off all the rotted roots, there is not much left. Although, some I am suprised they still have not lost all their leaves, although the leaves do have some cupping. I assume from the root damage.
On most that were damaged, their tops are bigger than their roots because of the root damage, so I am wondering if maybe I should trim some of the top off, it can help the roots grow? Or should I just leave them alone?

Maybe I can take a pic of one of my trees, although I am trying to leave some. Of them undisturbed.
So confused.
Christy

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 9:07AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

"An instant read thermometer... something that every serious cook has in their kitchen, can tell you what the soil temperature is in the root zone."

quoting John here. This was the best investment I made. I check the roots zone of my plants in the greenhouse all the time. I do what ever it takes to keep them above 55 and really above 60 makes me feel better.

Mike

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 9:24AM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

Thanks John & Mike I am off to get one

Steve

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 10:47AM
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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

The old Digital kitchen thermometer best investment Mike and Steve are right.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 12:41PM
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bonechickchris(7A/6B NJ 08731)

What is so funny is that I just broke my meat thermometer this week making a roast, LOL! So I have to go out and get another, I will get 2 instead.

Wondering if they have probe thermometers that you can read from other locations, like the temp reader I have in the greenhouse. May check that out.

CHRISTY

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:58AM
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