Return to the Citrus Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Posted by fruitnut z7,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 25, 12 at 14:13

Am I the only one that sees a difference between growing citrus as an ornamental vs for sweet fruit? Ornamental culture involves frequent watering and fertilizer. Maximizing fruit quality, for sweet citrus, involves a water deficit and limited growth. Lemons and limes where sweetness isn't needed should be good grown as an ornamental.

Any comments welcome. I'm still learning and citrus isn't my primary interest. So feel free to educate me if needed.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Yeah, definitely. My potted oranges have gotten quite large a number of times, the biggest fruits were softball sized, but more or less flavorless, pretty bland and boring. My living room isn't really practical for a viable citrus plantation, so it's pretty much for show as far as I'm concerned. This is where lemons rock, since sweet will never be an issue, and fresh lemons off the bush DO taste better than store lemons, higher aromatics I guess.

What you do is different from what most of us do, you are in it for actual production, we're just living the fantasy that we're anywhere OTHER than the snow belt.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

denninmi:

Maybe there aren't many on this forum interested in sweet fruit. Most of the pictures I see are the beautiful green plants with active growth. My plants have one or two flushes a year. I'm really shooting for just one in spring around fruit set. After fruit is fully set I'm pulling back on water and don't want more growth. I think this is the avenue to really sweet fruit. It certainly works for nectarines and plums.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Hey, Steve :-) Yes, some container fruit is grown for its ornamental value. I have a couple of Australian Finger limes that if I get fruit, I might use them in cooking, but they're not for eating out of hand (unless you're someone who enjoys eating sour citrus, that's not me!) Now, I DO have two sweet citrus in pots - an Ortanique tangor and a Chironja orangelo that I DO plan on eating the fruit. So for now, I'm focusing on getting them healthy, with a nice canopy that can support the generation of sweet fruit, so lots of fertilizer, and enough water to make them very happy and grow. In a year or two, I'll re-evaluate both my fertilizing habits as well as my watering to see if it affects the brix of my fruit. It really takes citrus a good 5 years to produce an optimal crop, either in the ground or in the pot, so if denninmi's citrus are still young, give them time :-) Citrus are not quite like stone fruits, and even with lots of water, they will still sweeten up. Now, that doesn't meant that cutting back some on water will not produce super sweet fruits, it will. I have an abandoned orange orchard behind me that is not being watered and is slowly dying. The still viable trees do have very sweet oranges, but there is a dividing line between water starving and sweet fruit and too much water starving and dried out, pithy fruit. Citrus don't tolerate being water starved too severely. They will still provide good, sweet fruit with normal amounts of water.

Patty S.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Thanks for that input Patty! Any ideas on how to stay on the right side of the watering regime? Up to this point my fruit has been large with a high yield. This past year my Washington navels were 12-13 brix, good but not great. I'd think I should be able to get into the upper teens. But don't know how to get there other than trial and error.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

I don't think withholding water will increase the Brix, except by decreasing the water in the juice which is probably not what you want. With Washingtons the sweetness usually increases the longer you leave them on the tree... until the point, usually in March, when they begin to re-green. The downside of leaving them on the tree past January is that you will likely reduce the size of the next crop. Another thing that can increase sugar is Nitrogen; but it also encourages growth. Trial and error, that is to say, experience is a good way to learn; but it is costly and often painful; the best way to learn is from other people's experience... and that is why I visit this site.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

John:

Withholding water certainly works to increase brix on other fruits. The key is to bring on the deficit slowly so that the tree can adapt and to maintain it for a long period as the fruit sizes up. On stone fruits I shoot for water use at about ~66% of what the tree would use under full irrigation. This causes the tree to increase the osmotic potential of all it's tissues in order to withdrawn water from dry soil. It does this by increasing sugars in all tissues including the fruit. The fruit ends up with smaller cells, smaller size, and higher brix as it matures.

Using this regime in nectarine and pluot can result in 5-15 points higher brix. I do this routinely and it's what I want in navel oranges.

Grapes are routinely grown at deficit water to sweeten fruit. This is how the best fruits, grapes and others, are grown without irrigation in Mediterranean climates. This is recognized by many as the worlds best fruit.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Sure, Steve. I can tell you what commercial growers do here for citrus in the ground. They gauge their commercial groves' water needs by watching the leaves. When they start seeing the leaves cup, they know their grove needs water. Water-starved in-ground citrus will be sweeter, but it is almost always at the detriment of the tree, long term. For those growing citrus in containers, usually a good quality moisture meter will do, and then when moisture drops below 50%, you can water. John is right about the nitrogen, sort of counter-intuitive with stone fruits, but citrus (and avocados for that matter), NEED a lot of nitrogen. But, too much and you get small, tiny, yucky fruit. For me here where I live, with my thin, DG soils, that's kinda hard to do :-) But, in a container, you can over fertilize. You would probably start to see some salt burning at that point, so I would make sure you're fertilizing fairly frequently, but with the correct amounts and type of fertilizer. I will defer to Mike and a few of our other "container experts" for proper fertilizers, timing, and amounts. I know many folks here use and like DynaPro Foliage Pro, and some are using Osmocote, which has a new product out now called Osmocote Plus, which contains the micros. And the NP ratio is pretty close to optimal for citrus. And a LOT of sunshine and heat helps to sweeten citrus as well as leaving them on the tree, especially with Valencias. Valencias are ripe just about now where I live (I'm starting to pick them in the orchard behind me. Picked a few last month, but really they weren't ready). With navels, they don't hang on the tree as well, tending to become sub-acid to almost insipid and dried out.

Patty S.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Patty:

This is where we get to the difference between culture mainly for ornamental purposes and culture to maximize fruit eating quality. Lots of fertilizer and water certainly makes the tree look pretty. But past a certain point it's all about looks and not fruit eating quality. I fertilize my stone fruit very little and if citrus isn't growing I doubt that it needs much fertilizer. I won't press that point because I don't know. But I won't be fertilizing my trees this summer if they aren't growing and they won't be. We'll see how the brix and flavor compare next winter.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Steve, citrus do need much, much more frequent fertilizing than stone fruit trees. An entirely different animal. At least 3 times a year in the ground. In a container of course, more frequently. Citrus grow during the spring & summer, and tend to slow down from about Oct. through Jan. You can't treat them like stone fruit trees at all. I believe the container folks fertilize every month with a foliar product with minors. Whole different deal. I fertilize my in ground young citrus every other month due to the low amount of organic materials in my soil. My citrus are extremely sweet and each year they improve. I anticipate them being at their best in the next 2 to 3 years when they reach their 5th year. My few citrus that are over 5 years old are wonderfully sweet and they get regular watering and fertilizing.

Patty S.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

i started late, my trees are still young. i do want my trees to look gorgeous, like MeyerMike's, but i'd also like to have some fruit that are better than store bought citrus.

i believe each grower can figure out a nice balance to achieve both a good looking ornamental tree and have good fruit as well. it'll probably take a couple years to get it just right, and also a lot of patience and attention to your particular trees in your particular climate and growing conditions.

i know with oranges, if you water too much the fruit will be high in water content but wont have any flavor or sweetness.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

I am not sure if we are talking two different points, quantity and sweetness?

But if I would assume that if one was to grow trees in containers, you would only get the amount of fruit that a tree is allowed to produce in relation to root mass.

One has a choice to grow as an 'ornamental or verses sweet fruit depending on what is provided for the tree?

I have seen citrus trees in my area in pots as large as 30 gallons producing abundant very sweet fruit. There is also the tart fruit along with sour, but I would consider this to be in the lime and lemon family for examples.

I have picked fruit off my own tree, sometimes in the 10 gallon pot in which I have yielded up to 15 fruit, that has been very sweet when I am in the mood to give fruit away, like let's say on my 'Washington Navel'
But then as is almost always the case, I deliberately pluck them off because I am allergic to them and won't eat then anyway.
I have also picked fruit off my 'Oro Blanco Grapefruit' left to ripen deliberately with a yield last year of 11 fruit that is very sweet, and I mean sweet in a 5 gallon pot. I suppose it would yield much larger amounts if grown in much bigger pots.

Wouldn't you have to say that there are many different factors involved that would affect sweetness and weather a fruit is grown as an ornamental or fruit producing tree other than just how much water they receive?

For yield and sweetness, maybe pot size, root mass, tree age, temperatures, variety, how much water they get, environment and so on?

One fact is has been noticed by many is that to too much water could make fruit less sweet in which I once noticed too and I have also found that to be the case when fruit ripens at the worst time of the year, usually for me summer fruit ready to pick in the winter.
I don't water any differently, because if I hold back too long, it does stress my trees, but my watering has never played a role in the sweetness of mine.

My 'Washinton Navel' and "Oro Blanco' are always sweet when picked in summer or at the end, but more pulpy or bland if picked beyond or before that.
Also, in one summer, it rained almost everyday, and the fruit was more bland by summers end.
My 'manderine' is sweet no matter when I pick that and yields a lot of fruit even in a small container.

Just musing and this is a very good thread Fruitnut!

Sorry if at times I made no sense, but lots of thoughts thrashing in my head on this one.

Mike


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Patty:

Perhaps the reason young citrus have inferior fruit is that the trees are more vigorous. Young trees would generally be watered and fertilized more to fill in their space.

Didn't you say that the abandon orchard behind you, with no irrigation or fertilizer, has the most wonderfully sweet fruit?

houstontexas:

Thank you for entering the conversation. How may I ask have you come by the observation that too much water ruins flavor and sweetness? Your own trees? At any rate thank you for agreeing with my major premise ;-)


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Mike:

I grow lots of stone fruit in pots. And I really have no means to regulate the water like I can for in-ground trees. Sometimes the fruit is the sweetest of the year and sometimes it's rubbish. I think it does relate to water I just can't reliably control the situation.

There's nothing wrong with growing citrus as an ornamental. I'm just trying to understand how that might be at odds with my major objective which is great fruit. Hopefully that would be instructive to others.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Fruitnut,:

I am sure it will be very helpful and in fact this a wonderful thread you came up with. I definitely see your point now. Already there is more involvement at this time than back in 2008.

You brought up a very good point and I can't wait to see where this goes. This is one of questions you brought up with some deep thought behind it.
Thanks!

Mike


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

I'm not sure I can pay close enough attention to the water needs over the length of time it takes citrus fruit to mature. The part that upsets me is that one year fruit from one of my trees tastes better than anything I've ever bought at the store and the next year it taste just the same as store bought - and I haven't done anything different. The only two that routinely beat out store bought fruit are my blood oranges and kumquats. Home grown limes have so much more aroma, I can smell from many feet away. They are almost worth growing just for the smell alone (I'm talking about the leaves and ripening fruit, not the flowers).

My gardening is more and more leaning towards flavor over appearance. I have to warn people that come over to visit that those pictures you see in magazines are staged - a true working garden has voids where plants were recently harvested or sections where plants are in decline awaiting harvest, everything isn't always picture perfect.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Mike:

One thing we get a lot of on the Fruits&Orchards forum is new growers who think more is better. So they improve their soil and pour on water and fertilizer thinking they will grow the best fruit ever. Little do they know that the best fruit is grown on trees with moderate vigor and not too much water.

So I come to the citrus forum and the most active posters seem to be the ornamental, for lack of a better term, growers. That's where I think new growers coming here wanting great fruit might be thrown off track. If I'm wrong there straighten me out.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

trianglejohn:

Any chance those years with inferior fruit are the wet years? And it's not just right at or before harvest that weather can have an effect on fruit quality. It would be all the time the fruit is on the tree.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Well, fruitnut, I hope my initial comment didn't throw you. It doesn't actually convey what I meant, it conveys the opposite really. You asked "am I the only one" and I started my reply with "Yes, definitely" -- which wasn't actually an answer to your question. What I was trying to say was "Yes, definitely, YOU ARE RIGHT" ... your theory of limiting moisture and fertility make a tremendous difference in the quality of stone fruits, as you have pointed out many, many times on fruit and orchards, and on tomatoes as I have said ad nauseum.

I think that answering your question will basically come for you by researching what good data you can find out there, if it exists, and then experimenting and seeing what works for you. That seemed to have been your approach with the other crops your grow, the stone fruits, the blueberries, and it seems to have worked out well. Some of the brix levels you report are just amazing when I compare them to what seems "normal" for a supermarket or even farm stand piece of fruit.

Like I said in my initial post, this forum has a lot of us who are just living out the fantasy in Suburbia USA by hauling the plants out to the patio every spring and then back to the living room picture window or the sunporch every fall, and then a smattering of the folks in the subtropical zones who are growing for personal production in their own back yards.

A few years ago, I found a great online citrus forum that had some interesting posts but didn't seem to get a lot of traffic. Might be worth asking there.

Here is a link that might be useful: This forum might help???


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Hey, y'all! You've left out a third reason for growing citrus and it's why I always have two or three seedling trees growing at any given time. You may run me out on a rail when you find out, but remember...I'm not trying to grow fruit and probably live several hundred miles from the nearest orchard.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

"Hey, y'all! You've left out a third reason for growing citrus and it's why I always have two or three seedling trees growing at any given time. You may run me out on a rail when you find out, but remember...I'm not trying to grow fruit and probably live several hundred miles from the nearest orchard."

Ok, what is the reason?

I could speculate at a few -- Bonsai? The EOTWAWKI and you're keeping a genetic Noah's Ark? You chop up the leaves of various citrus and use them in S.E. Asian cuisine? It's a cheap hobby that mostly just costs you a little potting soil because you use seeds from your breakfast fruit and milk cartons as pots?

Care to share with us?


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Fruitnu: I am not sure of what you are alluding to or mean?

"I come to the citrus forum and the most active posters seem to be the ornamental, for lack of a better term, growers. That's where I think new growers coming here wanting great fruit might be thrown off track. If I'm wrong there straighten me out"

I still get great fruit on my trees if I let them, and it was here at this forum that I was able to learn how to do that. I will never get the same amount of fruit as those that grow in-groun or as those that have hot houses, huge orangries, or that live in hot places with longer summers.

I don't think many are getting thrown off the track as you might think. I think many know the purpose in their choice of growing citrus in the fashion they choose or are limited to and come here to see what others are doing and get the needed help to succeed.

Are you saying that being limited to 'containers' is only growing 'ornamentally'?
If that is the case, then there is no purpose for me or for others here. We should create a forum labeled, 'Ornamental Citrus Growing'

Or for those that have chosen to grow only in the ground, they should be elsewhere? One labeled,"In-ground Citrus growing'?

Now I am really confused. Sorry

I do get your first point about fields being left unattended have some of the best stating fruit.

I have sen your Blueberries in containers, even figs, and you seem to get quite a sweet yield. Why not citrus?

Rhizo! How about natural 'citrus oil' ? You have me on this one. I almost privately e-mailed and cheated.lol

Thanks:0-)


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Fruitnut, I am sorry.

I almost forgot one other thought.

What about those that are limited to pots?
Does a citrus tree become known as an 'ornamental' one, once it gets planted into a pot, especially depending on the size of that pot and tree?

I have an orange tree that is in a 5 gallon container that could easily give me 20 or so fruit at a good size and sweet depending on when and how they ripen.

If I took that same tree and put it into let's say a 100 gallon container and it gets 10x that size and amount of fruit , is it still an 'ornamental' tree?

Now you have my mind rolling.lol

Thanks a lot, I would be curious to see the opinion of other container citrus growers here.

Mike


 o
RE: cCitrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

ok..lol

My family is with me and everyone has a say here.

My sister asks..simply put might I say..

"Does 'container' grown citrus = 'ornamental'?"


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Steve, I did. BUT the orchard is dying. So, if you want to have exceptionally sweet fruit and a dead tree, withhold watering :-) If you want to still have exceptionally sweet fruit, and a live tree that will produce for you every year, water normally, fertilize regularly. Water starving with citrus does not create the same effect as water-starved stone fruits. Citrus not only demand a LOT of nitrogen, differing greatly from stone and pome fruit trees, but they are also huge water demanders, as are avocados. Which is why we have seen all the commercial citrus orchards shut down here in S. Calif (due to the ever increasing cost of water, even commercial orchards on wells still need supplemental municipal water).

Mike, was Steve is alluding to is: Are you growing citrus to be pretty ornamental potted plants (thus giving them a LOT of water and a LOT of fertilizer), or are you growing them to provide good tasting fruit? Steve is trying to determine if the watering and fertilizing advice here on the Citrus Forum will produce very pretty ornamental citrus trees with poor tasting fruit, or if you all get great tasting fruit with your watering and fertilizing advice. Valid question, as some folks grow citrus in containers purely for their ornamental value. For example, I grow Variegated Calamondins in the ground purely for their ornamental value. I have a row of dwarf Variegated Calomondins up my driveway because they're pretty. Not because I like the fruit. All my other citrus I grow to eat the fruits. But, I water and fertilize them in all the same manner. Fruitnut is trying to determine whether or not too much water/fertilizer will affect the quality of the fruit. He has his stone/pome fruit orchard under a huge greenhouse and he grows the most amazing stone/pome fruits by experimenting with the amount of water and fertilizer, as stone fruits will respond and produce sweeter fruits if you restrict water and nitrogen as the trees approach fruit maturity. I am telling Steve that this approach will not necessarily work well with citrus, in trying to increase the brix of the citrus fruit, as citrus trees are an entirely different animal. As John mentioned, what affects the brix for citrus is time on the tree and surprisingly, enough nitrogen;, and as I mentioned, also the amount of heat/sunshine for many citrus varieties (mainly grapefruits and also pummelos to some extent.) Reducing water and fertilizer as citrus fruits approach maturity may ever so slightly increase the brix, but they will not respond in the same manner as stone/pome fruits. Not in my experience. Yes, water starvation for sure will sweeten them. But not appreciably, and at the detriment of the tree's overall lifespan (as is being demonstrated behind me in the orchard that at this point, is all but dead.)

Patty S.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Well, I admit that I am often more interested for the ornamental beauty of my tiny, limited crop than in actually using it. I let it stay on the tree past its culinary prime because it is such a rare thing in Michigan, I'd often rather look at it than pick it for as long as possible. My little lemon bush that was about 2 x 3 in a 2 gallon pot had 19 full sized lemons two years ago, and I couldn't bear to harvest them until they fell on their own because it was just so pretty. Thankfully, at the point they were dead ripe but not over ripe and really great quality, extremely juicy and fragrant with a resinous quality only freshly picked fruit not refrigerated really has.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Well, I admit that I am often more interested for the ornamental beauty of my tiny, limited crop than in actually using it. I let it stay on the tree past its culinary prime because it is such a rare thing in Michigan, I'd often rather look at it than pick it for as long as possible. My little lemon bush that was about 2 x 3 in a 2 gallon pot had 19 full sized lemons two years ago, and I couldn't bear to harvest them until they fell on their own because it was just so pretty. Thankfully, at the point they were dead ripe but not over ripe and really great quality, extremely juicy and fragrant with a resinous quality only freshly picked fruit not refrigerated really has.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Patty has it right on what I'm trying to ascertain. But Patty, I'm not convinced that citrus can't be grown at a long term water deficit. It's all a matter of degree. Citrus certainly looks like a tree to me that can adapt to a degree of water deficit. Those abandon trees by you aren't being watered at all. I'm not talking anything like that dry.

I'd bet on citrus adapting way better than things like blueberry.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Steve, here is some info from U of FL about water restrictions and the preliminary results. They are experimenting with this, but again, for citrus it's a fine line we walk. And of course, the overall health and longevity of a commercial orchard is critically important, so commercial growers really have to be careful. I think what you see with container citrus is the kind of water stress you are trying to induce with your stone fruits, but we do it with our potting medium, which is very, very porous. So, trees get very dry very quickly. So, we are, I guess, water restricting them in a sense. Fertilizer is a bit different due to a citrus tree's very high demand for nitrogen relative to other fruiting trees. But at least you can see some info regarding water restrictions and fruit yield/quality.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus Tree Stress: Affects on Growth and Yield


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Patty:

Thanks for the link but it really doesn't give numbers for yield or brix vs available water.

Commercial stone fruit growers won't try what I'm doing either. They need yield and fruit size. FL citrus growers need a high volume of juice per acre. Brix does count in the juice business. But I'd bet it's all figured down to yields of soluable solids per acre. For that equation yield would trump brix.

Citrus trees survive in yards all over places like Phoenix where it's hotter and drier than blazes. They must have considerable ability to adjust to a water deficit. I'm sure that many of those yard citrus are pretty short on water at times.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Well, that's because I don't think anyone in the commercial citrus growing industry has actually conducted those experiments, or if they have, they're still in the works (as alluded to in that document). A good sugar/acid ratio is important in the citrus industry, but it's not just brix. There's the dance between sugar and acid. And, it is really different from country to country. We tend to like our citrus a bit more sprightly that Japan, but not as much as some countries in Eurpoe. Yield obviously is critical as is the size of each fruit. And they can adjust to a point, but need a LOT of water, Steve. I water my citrus A LOT compared to my drought tolerant California and Australian natives I have growing on the same slope. They have to be on different drip stations because of that. Folks in Phoenix on sand will water even more than I do. They will die if they get too thirsty. Younger trees are much more sensitive than older trees. Citrus are tough, but require much more water than my stone fruits do. Same with my avos. Check with your Texas Coop Extension folks. They are really super, you have great citrus ag resources in your state. And, I would say, as a Master Gardener, and dealing with home citrus questions, I would actually say the majority of issues with citrus are due to over watering and "too much love", than under watering. Both issues pop up, but mostly folks tend to overdo it, and citrus don't like waterlogged situations (clay soil, poor drainage). Avocados even less so.

Patty S.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

This a very interesting read!

Thank you Patty for explaining what is being presented. You bring much to this forum and I truly appreciate the time you take to explain. Trying to explain what Steve was trying to point out was a very kind gesture!

I think I get it now. But I suppose that trying to starve citrus of water would be quite a challenge at the expense of the trees health to create sweet fruit over a long period of time in a container. A lot of work.

Since the ground acts like a huge wick, I wonder if any of these trees spoken of that are water deprived actually do find a source of water in the earth that we are not aware of anyway and seen like they are?

I will admit that there are a few trees I do grow as ornamental, then at times just for flowers, and then at time for edibles. Sounds like another thread is in the works..:-)

Thanks again to all!


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

I think that the situation in my case is that I started out in the 'ornamental' camp and I'm shifting into the 'sweet fruit' camp. As my new garden matures I am becoming more and more about flavor. With my collection of container tropicals my first objective was to just to keep them alive, now that they are stable I am trying to improve fruit quality. My space is limited so I only give fruiting plants around three years before I replace them with someone else (3 years of fruiting).

Someday, years from now, I will convert the old basketball court beside the garage into a large greenhouse/orangerie with everyone planted in the ground. Until then they'll all be in pots and moved in and out of shelter for the winter.

Fruitnut - so far the three years I've lived at this house have been dry ones so any over watering is all my fault.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Fruitnut, thanks for posting your thoughts and what a fabulous topic. I believe your approach with your your other plants for higher brix scores can be used with citrus. Last year I had a Tangelo , no more thn a foot high, that frustrated me so much I purposely avoided watering it and really didn't care if it died. As time went by I couldn't believe how big the tangelo was. I thought for sure it would have no flavor so why even bother tasting it. Well to my surprise, when the fruit was finally picked, I thought, lets see had horrible it tastes. OMG, as my daughter would say, it was absolutely the best tasting tangelo by far and I only wish I had a meter to test the brix.

Photobucket

Photobucket

In case you were wondering what happened to the leaves, look at the top pic left side, can you say, BAWK BAWK!! LOL

So there you have it. Anyone who thinks this is not the approach to get the highest brix, by all means try what ever you like. I'm sure the argument will come up as, this was based on only one season and there maybe other variables. Perhaps, but I know what I will do to all my fruits to get a higher brix.

To me, I would rather has less yields with a higher brix than more yields with a low brix.

I would have to say Mike's citrus do look wonderful and he has nothing to worry about. We are talking apples and oranges here, no pun intended.

Ron


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Ron:

Thanks for that input. I do wish you had a refractometer but I'll take your word for the results. I do hope my tree doesn't lose that many leaves.... and I won't allow that much loss. It has dropped a few leaves, maybe 10%, but still looks great with no leaf cupping. I'll be applying about 3 inches water per month just as I do for stone fruit on in-ground trees.

If the brix doesn't come in above the 12-13% on last harvest. I'll cut back more in 2013.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

The leaf loss was do to hungry chickens, even though they always have plenty of food. It was a loosing battle with the chickens and foliage. :-(

Photobucket

Good luck fruitnut, I'm sure you will do just fine.

Ron


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

fruitnut,

i've read somewhere (maybe from UC Riverside or UF site) that extra water intake causes the trees to put more water into the fruits, thus lowering the sugar content to water ratio. also, the extra water can cause oranges to split open.

i have some friends and family that have mature citrus trees. if we have wet fall/winters then the fruits usually aren't quite as sweet compared to drier fall/winter years.


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Gasp...Preston! What kind of chicken is that....she's beautiful. Look at those feathers.

So, it leads me to tbe question : are chickens grown for their ornamental value or for food?


 o
RE: Citrus culture: ornamental vs sweet fruit

Thanks rhizo1, she is a Partridge Cochin Bantam and quite bossy. As you can see, in total control of what foliage needs to be trimmed.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Citrus Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here