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Transplanting Citrus

Posted by Leekle2ManE Lady Lake, FL 9a (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 22, 12 at 16:07

I have two citrus trees, a tangerine (mandarin?) and a meyer lemon, that I am thinking of transplanting to new locations.

One of the reasons is because I believe I accidentally put them into the land of the lot next to me (I live in a trailer park). The lot is empty and there are no plans that I know of that anyone is moving in (and if they do plan on it, they will have to contend with the fact that Gopher Tortoise has made its home on this lot). But I would rather move them more into my yard to avoid any possible future conflicts as it is looking like I will be stuck in this park for about 6-10 yrs.

The other reason is more for the Meyer Lemon than the tangerine. It is in a spot that it won't be getting much sunlight during the winter months. Not a huge factor in terms of growth since I believe it will be going dormant here shortly, but in the interest of increasing its chances of surviving a winter, I would like to move it to a spot that will allow it to warm up a bit more during the days.

Now, I have looked up transplanting citrus trees and it should not be an overly big deal. However, there seems to be some conflicting information. Some articles say to wait until March after the last freeze and others say to do it... pretty much right now before the freezes start. One article says that for my area, Central Florida, I pretty much get to choose which I want to contend with. If I transplant now I will have to pay extra attention to frost guarding the plants until spring. If I wait until March I will have to take care not to let them get over-heated by the warm Florida sun.

Any opinions on which would be easier to deal with and less likely to result in a dead or stunted tree?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Transplanting Citrus

I would do it now. You don't say how old or how big is your Meyer; but in general if you are careful to preserve the root ball, ground to ground in the same day is usually not a big issue. The Meyer is pretty tolerant of cold, usually withstanding 28 F. without protection; most mandarins (tangerine) are similarly tolerant and some more so. If you are moving it ground to ground in the same soil, I would not amend the soil in the new location; simply put it in the same size hole you took it out of and planted at the same depth. My experience is almost exclusively with Meyers, so others might have other ideas about your mandarin. Don't fertilize for about a month after transplant; the abscence of fertility will encourage the roots to grow into the new soil in search of food. One reason some recommend the move in Spring is that citrus roots don't like to grow into cool soil; but I don't think that is an immediate problem for you.

RE: Transplanting Citrus

I don't know the age of the plants. But the mandarin is about 4' tall and the crown is about 3' in diameter and it did not flower this year. The Meyer is about 2' tall and wide and did flower in the spring. Both have been in-ground for about 7 months. One article I read advised against transplanting trees that have been in-ground longer than 18 months, I think I fall well under that time restriction.

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