Ruby Red Grapefruit Tree

jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)April 12, 2012

I moved into my present home here on the SW Florida coast (3 miles from the nearest saltwater ) in Dec 2008 and found a magnificent, 20 + foot tall Ruby Red grapefruit tree in the backyard. Not being " clued in ", I non-chalanted it, concentrating instead of planting and nurturing my four 6 ft tall mango trees.

Then I couldn't ignore it, the grapefruits that were falling were they best I have ever eaten, - ever ! Had dozens and dozens of large, firm Ruby Reds and realized how special they are.

Anyway, had 3 great harvests and all was fine until this last one in Dec 2011, which was a big disappointment. The fruits were fewer and much smaller. So am wondering, do mature grapefruit trees, like my Ruby Red, have " off years " ? Where they have one year of dissappointing fruit, and then bounce back the next year ? Or must I take some action asap in order to get this tree back on track ? The new, small green fruits are already on the tree, but hard to tell what the outcome will be.

Because of its size I never fertilized it or watered it, figuring Mother Nature was now in control of the massive root system. Am hoping someone out there has a comment or two,..will be devastated if this marvelous producer starts slip sliding in its production again this December.


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I planted one in 1998 and it usually produces huge crops, without benefit of fertilizer or any special care. About every 5 years we get almost nothing and I panic thinking I'm about to lose it. Then the next year it comes back strong. Your tree is probably just resting.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:13PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

Hi I have a Ruby Red in a pot. I got it for my dd because she adores grapefruit. It is very sweet. No need to add sugar even. It fruits really well for being potted. In Phx we had a large mature Oro Blanco grapefruit in the ground that put out way more fruit than we could ever use lol.

As with all citrus, environment, watering schedule, fertilizer, pests etc can all play a role in fruit development.

It sounds like you have inherited a nice tree. I think you should fertilize the tree. Make sure you are also giving it deep watering a few times a week and water before you fertilize. Mature citrus are usually fertilized 3 times a year. If you fertilize Valentines Day, Labor Day, and Memorial Day are a good way to remember lol.

Also, one other thing to check for is: Look at your graft line. It should be down towards the bottom of the tree. Make sure there is no new thorny growth underneath that graft line. If there is prune it off. Sometimes these suckers from the rootstock will take over and make the original tree less vigorous and can sometimes affect fruit quality.

Here is a good link for info on citrus culture

Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus Culture

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:25PM
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Most Florida soils are deficient in magnesium, and citrus need it. If the fertilizer you are using doesn't have enough, you can use epsom salts. In my yard, I use what the company calls SoPoMag, which is 20% sulfur, 20% potassium and 20% magnesium. It is an artificial version of a naturally occurring mineral. I can't remember the name right now.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 5:00PM
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