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Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Posted by Karmaticflow 9A (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 14:18

Hello everyone. I'm new to citrus but not new to these forums. I also have an interest in Adeniums(Desert Rose). I want to purchase a dwarf blood orange tree. I believe this is the correct time of year to purchase and repot. Yes, I plan on repotting into a clay pot to be kept outside. I live in Las Vegas, NV. So the summers can have some extreme heat and the winters can get down below freezing for short periods. Whats a good type medium and fert. to use? I've read a little bit from different sites and for the most part they all say a well draining soil and citrus fert. Does this mean I can use the cactus soil I use for my Adeniums and have a decent grasp of it water retention and then just buy any citrus fert. Or is there a better fert. for citrus. Whats a good N-P-K ratio for the fert. and when should it be used. Slow Release or Water Soluble?

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply to my post.
JR


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

What are you using for the Adeniums? Does it have much organic materials that break down and require re-potting often?

I'm having excellent luck with Armstrong Cactus/Citrus mix and Terracotta pots. My Summers are a bit less hot and a bit less dry than yours. I am using wicks which along with the unsealed clay helps to ensure no perched water table.

I do use something closer to Al's Gritty Mix for mine in sealed pots but find I need to make it less "griitty" unless I want to water as much as 3 times per day on the 5-10 sizzling days we have here - 100+ and less than 20% humidity. You have a lot more sizzling days than we do.

Smith Red Valencia is supposed to be the best tasting of all the Blood Oranges. I have that along with Moro, Tarocco, and Sanguinelli but don't have a crop from any of the yet.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

I currently use Black Gold Cactus mix. But I am seriously considering changing to Al's Gritty Mix for all my plants. I have multiple types of fert. on hand. Anything from Cactus and Succulent, Rose, even a blooming Fert.(10-54-10). About the only type of fert I don't have is Citrus specific. Any help or suggestions are much appreciated.

Thanks again for reading and replying,
JR


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

One other question I thought of. I'm looking at getting a five gallon plant. What size terracotta pot should I transplant into. 12", 14", or a 16" pot. Not interested in transplanting it very often.

Thanks again,
JR


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

I have put a few #5 citrus, which are actually 3.6 gallon containers, into 14.5" and 16.5" Terracotta pots. The 14" are big enough for one season and it is tough to keep one that small watered in a hot dry climate. The 14" is probably big enough for a couple seasons for really small citrus like a kishu, meiwa, or thornless mexican lime. The 16.5" has a lot more volume than the 14.5" but they are going to outgrow them before I want to repot them.

I'm potting #5 citrus for longer term in semi-gritty mix into 18.5", which is the next to largest size that HD carries. That size is pretty easy to move around with a dolly but if you need to keep citrus in pots that you can actually pick up, it is going to be difficult.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Ok thanks to all who replied. I think I've decided that I need a 16" pot. I will go ahead and use the current Cactus soil I'm currently using. I think it best since I understand the retention value. The only thing I'm still not 100% sure about is the Fertilizer. Like I stayed in previous posts. I have all different types of fert. Anything from cactus fert to orchid fert. Do I need to go out and get Citrus specific fert. or would one of the ones I have work just as well.

The NPK values of the ferts I have.
6-10-6
10-54-10
5-10-9
6-12-4
13-4-5
10-10-10
30-10-10

Thanks again for taking the time to read and reply
JR


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

A bit of what I've learned recently rather than my actual experience:

Citrus prefer NPK in the ratio of 5-1-3. The various micro nutrients can be important. Most people are avoiding many organics since they have so many salts. The ones that would be washed away in ground can accumulate in containers. Additionally, if you have high ph water and are using acid (usually white vinegar) to drop the ph in the 5-6 range, bear in mind that reaction generates salts also. It is important to flush water through the medium sometimes.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Be kind to your MBO and get it some citrus fert. NPK ratio should be 5-1-3 with micros, especially Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc and Iron.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Hello!

I have a lemon in a 12.5 inch terracotta pot, and my Moro in a 14.5 inch pot. These are "fern/azalea" pots, so they're not very tall. The Moro has been in this pot for several years, in a mix of uncomposted fir bark, red lava rock, and perlite.

Josh


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Looking good, Josh. My belief for citrus in containers is wider is always better than deeper. When planted in ground a citrus will have a root ball about 18 inches deep and the diameter of the canopy of the tree.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Well I purchased a 16" pot. Now to get dirt, Fert, and plant. I'm going out to get my soil this weekend. My normal Black Gold Cactus soil. Once I get everything planted and set in it's new home I will post an update. Still not a 100% sure on Fert. But as long as I get a higher N and K values I show be good. My local nursery has 14-7-7 specific to citrus. It is also a slow release Fert.

Thanks again,
JR.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

JR,
the 16 inch will be great for the Citrus.

Something I missed on the first read: Now is NOT the best time to re-pot Citrus.

The best time is in the Spring, between flushes of growth - March to May, depending upon the warmth of your area. If you can wait and get the tree through Winter, it will recover faster if re-potted in the Spring.

Josh


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Don't pot citrus in Fall? Maybe that is true in places that actually have a Fall. We are headed for almost 90 degrees today.

Picture taken 7/28/13 of 4' tall Thornless Mexican Lime bought 9/28/12 as a 2' tall pathetic looking $22 plant. Potted immediately by removing from original nursery container, loose soil removed, and roots lightly washed to remove outer original potting mix. Potted in EB Stone Cactus & Citrus Mix plus a quart of pumice in a sealed concrete planter with a wick.

This was before I heard that rock does not make a good topping in a pot and is my experiment to see if that works.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Now I'm a little confused. Most of the information I have read say to plant in Oct. I notice you two use the term re-pot. Is there a difference? I understand re-potting involves a pot. But can't planting involve a pot? Or does the term planting mean "in the ground".

Again, I live in Las Vegas, NV(9a) or the high desert. So we can see a hard freeze, but only for a very short period. We are all most guaranteed a soft freeze every year. During those times it will be brought in and put in garage. It will be place in a corner facing the SW. So it won't get any morning sun. But will get full sun from roughly 1230 until sundown.

Like I stated earlier I'm going to use a Cactus soil mix. How do I know if I should amend the soil? I did read something about earthworm castings and something else; how they breakdown over time or something along those lines. And if I amend the soil how do I know what to add and how much? I'm would assume since I'm trying to keep the soil well draining. I would use something that doesn't breakdown fast or doesn't breakdown at all. I guess I would be looking for something very light. Since as the tree gets bigger the pot will get heavier. Just trying to cut as much weight as possible. Then what's the ratio to cactus soil?

I have attached a picture of the pot in its intended spot.

Sorry for all the questions
Thanks again for reading and replying,
JR


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

89F here today, as well, in northern California.

The reason that Fall is not optimum for re-potting is because the tree is not entering its most dynamic, active growth phase. The trees are preparing for Winter in response to the increasing period of darkness each day.

Re-potting involves cleaning off a significant amount of the old potting mix, doing any root-pruning or maintenance to old tangled roots, and replacing the old mix with fresh mix. During the Spring, this root-work won't be as shocking to the Citrus...and trust me, Citrus resent root disturbance!

If I were using a commercial potting mix, I would amend it with at least 50 percent perlite. With citrus, the key is drainage - to avoid the roots sitting in cold wet soil.

Josh


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Josh,

That is very good information in your post.

However, I think it is warmer and dryer here in the Winter than you realize. I think Las Vegas is closer to SoCal climate than NorCal climate. Most of the Winter has days warm enough for citrus to be actively growing. There isn't the damp fog issue unless you are close to the beach. There are some days, sometimes even a week, where the temp stays below the point where citrus actively grow but it is usually fairly dry even then. Even when we have the 3+ day cold rain period that seems to happen most years, it will be dry enough that I have to water my lawn within a week.

I do agree with your advise about a thorough re-potting, removing most of the old potting mix and root-pruning is best left to Spring - even if Spring in SoCal may come in late February.

We don't know what mix the OP is using but if it is draining well enough for cactus/succulents, it is likely good for citrus. I've been having quite a bit of success with the combination of EB Stone Cactus/Citrus mix, terracotta pots and draining wicks for citrus. I do add granite to the mix, gradually converting the granite to pumice toward the top of the pot. The problem with most, maybe all, commercial mixes is that they still have too much organic material that will break down and require re-potting anyway. I've tried two different brands of perlite and they were way to fine/dusty and nasty to use even with a facemask.


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Thanks again for all the help and advice. I'm going to go get my plant this weekend. I have a 16" pot, with Black Gold cactus mix amended with pumice. Approx. 4:1 ratio. I will most likely have to water more often than I truly want too. But I like the consistency of the mix and I'm going to switch all my succulents over in the spring. I have no intentions to do any major work to the plant while I re-pot. Just plan on putting in container with mix. Should I add any citrus fert when I do this? Would an open bottom(cut bottom if growers pot off) transplant be better. Just a thought.

Also what should I look for in a good plant. Green leaves, No broken branches, and decent size. Anything special to look for in a citrus? Anything a first time citrus buying wouldnt know to look for?

Will post a picture once I'm done.

Thanks again for reading and replying,
JR


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Take a paper/plastic cup and punch a small hole in the bottom. Fill it with your mix and then put your finger over the hole while you fill with water. Remove your finger from the hole and leave it to drain. The perched water will remain. You can see it if you have used a clear plastic cup. Insert a toothpick into the hole. The perched water will drain out. The toothpick acts as a wick and will demonstrate why you generally need a wick in anything other than gritty mix.

This test will show you how much perched water your mix retains but bear in mind it will hold more over time as the mix degrades. Organic mixes will degrade faster.

I use a mix similar to the one you are considering in pots that I expect to last a year or so before re-potting or planting. Just buy a rayon mop and use a few strands to make a wick. Tie a knot to keep it from falling through the screen that you use over the drain hole. I put about 4" of mix in the bottom while holding the wick vertically. You can find pictures in Al's thread on water movement in container soils, which you should read carefully. It has lots of great info but bear in mind they are mostly talking about wetter parts of the country.

If you buy the typical nursery citrus in heavy organic mix, I would remove all the loose parts. After setting the loosened rootball on the mix and confirming planting height, I usually add a bit of mix at a time and use the Dramm Water Breaker nozzle on my hose to gently loosen the roots and let the nursery mix and the new planting mix combine. You want to avoid any sharp changes in potting mix. This is the opposite of just plopping the plant in the pot and filling it up with planting mix.

This post was edited by GregBradley on Fri, Oct 11, 13 at 11:57


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RE: Dwarf Moro Blood Orange

Well I went and purchase my tree today. Here is a picture of the final product. I went back read the post by Al and wicks. I put a wick in the pot just to help with the drainage. When I potted I gently broke up the root ball and slowly allowed the growers mix and the new mix to combine as I added new mix to the pot. Watered it really really well and here you go.


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