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your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Posted by poncirusguy none (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 16:13

Citrus tree grow well once you learn how, otherwise they are very temperamental, slow growing plagued with light & pest problems, and are expensive as you replace dead tree after dead tree. The goal here is to learn how to grow them from seed.

You will want to get an orange, lemon or grapefruit at your grocery store and collect the seeds. Stay away from limes and kumquats. Limes have problems with light for foliage and kumquat have weak slow growing roots Plant many of them as most will die over the first year as you go through the learning curve. Once you learn how you can get a grafted tree and it will grow faster than the tree would have if you had grown it through your learning curve. Chances are good it would have died anyway resulting in your loss of interest in citrus. Your chances of long term success and your purchase of more trees is much better.

Getting your material together.
Most serious potted citrus grower use a mix called Al's gritty mix. I did not know about this when I started. I lost 99.7% of my seed grown trees to root rot and damp off (learning curve). I then developed the following mix and It is working well.

MY SOIL MIX
1 part crushed brick (not pavers as they're concrete )

3 parts sand of varied particle size and angular shape.

1 part pine bark fines

1 part totally rotted, leaves, wood, food scrapes from compost maker.

Mix together thoroughly. and you have your mix ready to go as your trees grow and need repotting.

The mix  in units, 1 crushed brick, 2 sand, 1 pine fines, 4  leaf composts photo Thepottingmixforsweetlees_zps61e2d1c7.jpg
This is what my potting soil looks like. This is for a cincinnati climate. In dryer areas you can use more soil and potting soil in the mix. It is important that the root mix drain well and dries up in a week or so between waterings or the roots might get a rot.pathogen.

THE FOOD

I am using Vigoro acid fertilizer mixed in the soil and a solution of miracid of 30-10-10 with micro nutrients for foliar and additional root feeding.

VIGORO
-------------------------------------TOTAL----------- SOLUBLE
BORON-------------L------------- 0.02%----------- 0.02
COPPER-----------O------------- 0.05%----------- 0.01%
IRON ---------------W -------------1.60%-----------0.90%
MAGNESIUM----------------------1.50%----------- 1.50%
MANGANESE------P------------- 0.05%----------- 0.01
MOLYBDENUM----H -------------0.00%-----------0.0
SULFUR----------------------------5%---------------5.0
ZINC-----------------F------------- 0.05%----------- 0.01%
n---------------------O-------------10%
P---------------------O------------- 8%
K---------------------D------------- 8%

MIRACLE GROW
-------------------------------------- TOTAL---------SOLUBLE

BORON------------M
COPPER-----------I---------------.05%-------------0.05%
IRON----------------D ------------ 0.10%----------- 0.10%
MAGNESIUM ROSE
MANGANESE------P------------- 0.05%----- ----- 0.05%
MOLYBDENUM----H------------- 0.05%----------- 0.05%
SULFUR
ZINC-----------------F
N---------------------O 18%
P---------------------O 24%
K---------------------D 16%

I have 33-0-0, and 0-0-60 that I can add to either of these to get my 6-1-2 ,equivalency.

PEST CONTROL

I have 2 pairs of 3X reader that together I can see the foliage at 9X magnification to look over once a day. If problems arise
my main defence is dawn dishwashing soap used at 1 Tablespoon per gallon of water. I spay this on the leaves at least once a day untill the problem is over then I'll fall back to 1 time a week. I do flush fresh water to prevent a soap build up and I flush the root 4 times a year to clean out excess salts, soap, and unused fertilizers.

DO NOT USE WATER FROM A WATER SOFTENER. These have chemical harmful to citrus trees.

All the above knowledge I gained on growing citrus came from reading what others said on this forum. I strongly suggest reading regularly from the citrus forum. Any problems you read ,about here you will have in the future. I pays to be ready so you can act at one. This may be the difference in healthy trees and trees getting set back a year or 2.

PLANTING YOUR SEED.

Most citrus seed will produce more than 1 plant. The strongest of these plant is a clone of the mother tree that produced that fruit. I will produce fruit equal to the fruit of the fruit you just consumed. It will take many years for your tree to reach an age to fruit, however now that you know how to grow citrus you can top graft twigs from a purchased tree to the root base and start getting fruit quick. If you want to grow your seed tree to fruiting maturity, I have a few experiments of my own to share.

BUCKET LIGHTS

Citrus tree like warm humid air an a lot of light. The bucket lights use a low power CFL in man aluminum foil lined bucket that reflects the light back and forth until every ray of light hits ma leaf. This also holds in the heat and humidity necessary for good health citrus growth. This will also hold down spider mite infestation since mites like dry air warm indoor and greenhouse air. Pictures will describe these much better so you can make your own to your specs.

HARDY CHICAGO FIG MWITH BUCKET GROW SYSTEM DISASSEMBLE FOR VEIWING photo IMG_3355_zpsb32bf108.jpg
Hardy chicago fig,  2 nagami kumquat 2 sweet potatoe starts,  2 sweet lee sharing foil bucket photo IMG_3686_1_zps9df4c4b9.jpg
fig tree sharing with citrus an sweet potato plants

KUMQUAT GROWER COMPONENTS--POTTED TREE TO LEFT--ROOT VACUUM CHAMBER TO RIGHT USES VACUUM CLEANER--- -  TREE GET PLACED IN STEEL CAN AND VACUUM HOSE GOES IN HOLE IN LOWER CAN photo IMG_3594_1_zps8cf4e968.jpg
Seed grown meiwa kumquat tree out side of it's bucket light
bucket lights with sweetlee, nagami, meiwa, hardy chicago, and M11 photo IMG_4588_zps6da708d7.jpg
Seed grown sweetlee tangerine tree & nagami from seed bush in bucket lights

new taller box 3.5 ft tall photo IMG_3615_1_zpse9a31009.jpg
$ FT by 4 FT by 4 FT box with 12-- seed grown 5 gallon pepper plants.

peppers in 5 gal bucket 2-21-13 photo IMG_3625_1_zpsc42de232.jpg
Inside the grow box. these pepper plants could just as weel be citrus trees.

The new home a 4.5 gallon bucket 4 sweetlee #1 photo IMG_4556_zps1af21e20.jpg
Citrus trees love good drainage

 photo IMG_4402_zps58a6e9a0.jpg
Aeration holes for my seed grown meiwa tree (large bucket) and nagami bush in small.

Click on the link below. My meiwa kumquat tree grown and the mistake explained

Here is a link that might be useful: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/citrus/msg0320572518736.html

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Sat, Oct 26, 13 at 23:06


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Poncirus, I admire your fortitude. But boy, I don't think I would go to these lengths to try to grow a citrus from seed. I would simply by a 2 or 3 year old tree, and just take good care of it, following good indoor growing techniques. My gosh, what an ordeal!! Glad you're enjoying your hobby, though.

Patty S.


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

I have had super success with Pomelo and Sour Orange from seed. Not hard, and fairly fast actually. Tried Citron, but for some reason very, very slow.


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

  • Posted by mksmth oklahoma 7a (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 17:39

Steve,

Iike Patty I commend your fortitude but I must say this. I really dont think your soil mix is good for any potted plant. People who come here as new growers are already confused by all the "mixes" posted and Im sorry but yours sets them up for problems. I can really really appreciate gardening on a budget as I have very little disposable income for this hobby but soil mixes should be the first thing we spend money on to make sure the trees have absolutely the best chance we can give them to survive.

To each his own I guess.

Mike


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

thanks Mike

Please tell us here how to make your mix and how to adjust it to what part of the country one lives in so that new people don't have to look farther. My soil drains very fast after sitting in water but remains damp for a moderate time before I needs watering again. I no longer have problems with damp off and had a 50% survival rate this year over last years 0.3% . I have edited my original post to suggest using Al's gritty mix. I now have about 50 gallons of my mix in my 9 citrus an 2 figs more than I could afford in gritty mix.

2013-8-25 poncirus trifoliata up graded from 5 gall bucket to 55 gallon half barel photo IMG_4552_zpsce249167.jpg
seed grown poncirus trifoliata at 16 month age out grew 5 gallon bucket was moved into 55 gallon half drum. !/2 the foliage was trimmed to compensate for root loss. This tree was left to go dormant through fall and winter. no winter lights

Steve

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 20:39


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

  • Posted by mksmth oklahoma 7a (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 21:34

Steve

What I said came off sounding like an attack and I apologize. My point was all of us have different and unique climates, experience, incomes, and materials available so we must be very careful in saying do this or do that especially in regards to soil. Even suggesting that someone only use the gritty can be tricky. I Dont care for it myself and reason one is how often I had to water especially in our 110 degree summers. Number 2 was cost and then weight. The key is we have to get to know the person and help them formulate a soil that matches their skill level, their climate, their long term plans for their trees and the ability to purchase ingredients.

I'm glad your mix works for you. I Dont know too many people that have had luck putting dirt and compost in their mixes without serious compaction and root rot. If you can avoid those problems then good job. The novice grower most likely won't.

I'll be more than happy to share what mix or mixes I have used but everyone should know that it works for me in my region but may very well not for you.
Right now I have had great success using a product called Hapi Gro landscapers mix. I add a small bag of perlite to 2 cubic foot bag of the hapi gro. This cost me about $6 dollars to make. It is as close to Al's 5.1.1 that I can find without having to assemble more than a few products. I have also used and had luck with the Fafard 52. Great in the bag mix but at $20 for 2 cubic feet I had to find something else.

Mike


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Mike

"Hapi Gro landscapers mix. I add a small bag of perlite to 2 cubic foot bag of the hapi gro"

This is what works for you and other may be able to do well with it. As you get to cooler wetter areas maybe more perlite is needed I am looking for Ideas so newbies get great info on one short document and have a much better first citrus tree experience than I did. I came close to getting rid of my trees to compost. I am now happy with them and they are growing much better.

Thanks Steve


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

MY SOIL MIX

Important correction to my citrus soil formula I stated that I used 1 part good garden dirt. I meant to say 1 part pine bark fine. I do not use the dirt with my citrus formulation. I have corrected it in my original text

MY SOIL MIX

1 part crushed brick (not pavers as they're concrete )

3 parts sand of varied particle size and angular shape.

1 part pine bark fines

1 part totally rotted, leaves, wood, food scrapes from compost maker.

My trees where put out for the summer in bottomless containers that sat on the soils surface.. All my tree in these container grew substantially better than those in regular pots. There was no stagnation at the bottom an I could water much more heavily with out getting the soil soggy and rancid.

sweet lee tangerine trees from seed in bottomless gallon food tins photo IMG_3704_zpsad321790.jpg
Seed grown sweetlee tangerine trees in bottomless gallon food tins Transplanting the tree to bring it in for the winter is also much easyer. See Youtube video, click the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AkMFbhlgB0

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Tue, Jan 21, 14 at 10:54


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Steve......I think that if someone was to duplicate exactly what you do, they might have the same results as you:-)

My concern is that most don't and unless they are creating an environment for their trees exactly the way you do, that type of mix will most assuredly fail them..

I am thinking the amount of heat and light exposer you give them, the kind of containers you use and the blow dryer method helps a lot, along of course with SEED grown plants is very forgiving, but a much more porous mix allows opportunities for much more variances and is much more forgiving..

I'm glad your mix works for you too but Mike brought up some very valid points that you or many should not overlook...

Happy growing today:-)

Mike


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

meyermike

Could you describe how to make a citrus mix that works, well for your area and the way you grow your trees. This will give newbies choices and increase their chances of a good first tree experience.

I should add that I use a home-vac connected to a connector to suck out the excess water after watering my trees I have no pics of that but I have a pic to show how I aerated the roots on a regular basis to ward off root rot.

Meiwa tree in airator with blowdryer refresh tree with warm oxegen photo IMG_3620_1_zps78987762.jpg
This is the connector used to suck excess water from the roots

Steve.

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Sun, Oct 27, 13 at 22:19


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Agree with MeyerMike here. The reason you need to suck water out is because you're using a mix that's going to retain a ton of water.

If that works for you, great, but IMO, most newbies would be better off with a mix that requires less tinkering.


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

JoppaRich

Both of you may be right on this. I was new at this and I over potted my kumquat tree, so rather than depot it I started blowing warm air through it. When it came time to water I used the vacuum to suck out the extra water to be safe. I may have need to do that with any size container but I don't know. I fully agree with you on the simple the better newbies.

Would you describe on this thread what you use and why, so other can see..

Thanks Steve ,


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Steve, there is no need for me to repeat myself over and over again..You know..

All one has to do is look up my name on this forums and they can see that I have been around for years helping others on mixes, how to make them, ingredients, and what to do...

Thanks though.....Hoping you are having a great night..
Please watch out that you don't get electrocuted ...

Mike:-)


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Now that I have learned to grow citrus with no problems I have 3 Poncirus trifoliata of grafting size and 4 sweetlee tangerine trees of vigor that will be graft-able next spring. That's 7 root-stocks that I can graft my twigs from the grafted tree I can purchase.

My purchased tree will grow faster by waiting a year and will out grow anything I bought a year earlier. My decision is to not buy a grafted tree and to grow what I have. If it fruits, great If they don't. Well we'll see

Nagami kumquat with aggresive new growth photo IMG_4610_zpsfedc81ad.jpg
My from seed Nagami kumquat for grafting to poncirus trifoliata

KUMQUAT MEIWA 2013, 10-27 photo IMG_4632_zpse71937e0.jpg
Seed grown Meiwa kumquat tree. The tree fruit I am interested in. To be grafted on to the poncirus trifoliata moots through the Nagami inter-stock. May also go directly to my sweetlee tangerine tree root-stock,

#1 sweetlee with new growth closer view photo IMG_4602_zps34147a41.jpg
Seed grown sweetlee tangerine tree for root-stock #1

#2 sweetlee with new growth photo IMG_4603_zps5c429ed6.jpg
Seed grown sweetlee tangerine tree for root-stock #2

#3 sweetlee tangerine born 2013 jan,7 @ 33
Seed grown sweetlee tangerine tree for root-stock #3

#4 sweetlee tangerine tree is 35 inches tall photo IMG_4604_zps5c5053dc.jpg
Seed grown sweetlee tangerine tree for root-stock #4

Seed grown poncirus trifoliata to be grafted on Is posted above . Its in a blue 55 gallon half drum.

This completes what I have done and what I have. If I think of anything I'll add on to this thread

Steve

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Tue, Nov 5, 13 at 18:29


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

11 Days in a bucket light with a 30 second blast of air through the roots daily

Seed grown sweetlee tree # 4
#4 sweetlee showing buds 2013, Oct 24 photo IMG_4605_zps8addb338.jpg
buds start to grow 10-24-13

#4 sweetlee showing buds 2013,11-4 photo IMG_4662_zpsc85d1828.jpg
shoots growing very rapidly 4 inches as of 11-4-13. total length of all 7 shoots is about 20 inches for this tree

steve

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Tue, Nov 5, 13 at 18:31


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Sweetlee tangerine tree as of 11-10-13. This bush has ended a flush putting on about 20 inch of linear growth through 5 branches.

The tree is starting to send out 7 new shoot at the twig tips as it starts its next flush. I am using the bucket light above as well as 5-1-1 fish emulsion at full strength and 30-10-10 miracid at 1/3 strength, both as a foliar feed..

.sweetlee #1 in 4.5 gallon bucket photo sweetlee1in45gallonbucket_zps690b2fad.jpg
Above tree in early october just before getting a bucket light

Seed grownt sweetlee tangerine tree #1

Below Tree is starting a second flush of growth
1 sweetlee finished  new growth starts new flush photo Sweetleetangerine1201311-10-13_zpsaa3fa959.jpg

These light really work.


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Steve, I hope you don't mind if I make a suggestion. As a professional author, there is a golden rule, if you will, that one tries to follow in my profession. It's the KISS principle. If I follow the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" rule, readers are more likely to be excited to read my product (whether handbook, novel, or blog). Large bulk of info that's spewed all over the place loses readers, fast. So, may I humbly suggest you organize your posts to single points. and try to present one point at a time. Your readers will be eager to see what you next present.
Just IMHO. Same info repeated multiple times sends the message that the author didn't care enough to edit for the reader's sake.


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

May I add: And I have a feeling you DO genuinely care!!!

Excuse the typos (am on hand-held).

Rene'


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Well put. It does mean a lot to me to share ideas that work. My writing skillsl are far lacking to ever make author. and I am very picture oriented.

Steve


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Rene

I have made 3 attempts to write up on how to grow citrus trees from seed ,But have found my self unable to consolidate the information in an organized short but complete article.

My goal was to include all the information needed to do a tree easily in one article so others would have a complete.list of what works.and what they are up against.

Steve

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 23:23


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

Steve, great ida..

Mike

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Thu, Nov 14, 13 at 17:36


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RE: your first potted citrus tree up north Grow it from seed

My new thread click below

Here is a link that might be useful: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/citrus/msg1117324421798.html

This post was edited by poncirusguy on Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 23:27


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