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Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Posted by landperson 9a (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 11, 10 at 17:29

I don't have a green house and I'm not going to be bringing plants inside in the winter. With that in mind, I'd love to have more citrus if I can make it work.

I've already got Eureka Lemon, Meyer Lemon, Bearss Lime and Kaffir Lime. The Eureka has been in the ground for 20 years or so and often gives me a good crop, (Some years I get mush from a freeze, so this year I strung C7 christmas lights around it to see if I can prevent a recurrence of the freeze loss.) The Meyer and the two limes are newish and haven't given me any fruits yet. I think I am going to drape them with something like Cloud Cover when it gets a bit colder.

Anyway, I'm curious to know if anyone has had any luck with anything else outside in this zone....

Susan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Susan:

You should be able to grow most citrus. My understanding is that lemon and lime are some of the most freeze sensitive citrus. With a little protection and some freeze losses you probably have the routine down already. In many areas there can be a really severe freeze every 10-30 years. But usually the trees survive and produce again after a year or two.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Well that is good news.

I somehow thought citrus was marginal here, and I thought the lemons and limes were the least problematic. Guess I had it all upside down..... Hmmmmph.....

Guess I will just try some others and see how they do.
Thanks for the help.

Susan


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 11, 10 at 20:27

Yes, Susan, you have it right. Lemons & limes are the most tolerant of cold.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

There are some very cold hardy lemons and limes but the four varieties mentioned by Susan are not cold hardy. Four Winds nursery says they need protection below 30-32F. One of the primary determining factors is whether the trees continue to grow during cold weather.

As a group mandrins are most cold tolerant followed by oranges and grapefruit. Lemons and limes like Meyer and Kaffir are least cold tolerant.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Well, I've got what I've got and so I'm going to have to work with them, even if they weren't the best choices I could have made. They certainly are what show up pretty frequently in the nurseries around here, but of course we've all learned the hard way that that doesn't mean much:-((

Today my local favorite nursery (where I picked up some frost fabric) had a semi-dwarf Tarocco in a 1-gal for $14.95, that was tempting, but I'm gonna keep looking around and see if I can find an appropriate true dwarf....

Susan


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Susan:

Given that you have a Eureka that has worked for 20 years, I'd be trying all kinds of citrus. You must have a pretty good location. I wasn't being critical of your choices. It all looks positive to me.

Some lemons and limes are listed as being hardy to 10-15F. But absolutely not what you have. Some mandrins are listed at 24-28F, but others at 32F. Many oranges are listed as 28F. Grapefruit are mostly 28F, a few 32F. Of your four Bearss is the hardiest at 30F. The other three are listed as needed protection below 32F.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Susan:

What I should have said but didn't is that there is a reason the really hardy citrus isn't much sold or grown in a good citrus area like yours. Namely that the fruit is very subpar compared to the cold sensitive types. There are mandrins that are hardy into the teens, maybe even single digits, but it's hardly fit to eat. I'd bet the same is true for the very hardy limes and lemons.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Just a heads up that Key lime especially is very frost sensitive, so although you should be able to grow them in your zone just keep in mind you will probably have to protect them(cover them and maybe string some Christmas lights for added heat). We've had record breaking winter temps this last winter and my neighbors lime trees(18 yrs old) were killed to the ground because of several nights of 24-30° weather. I live in zone 9a as well and I lost several fruit trees to the freeze...and some of them I covered and heated.

Best of luck!


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

"Yes, Susan, you have it right. Lemons & limes are the most tolerant of cold."

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt as you don't live in a citrus zone like I do and aren't growing any citrus outside in the ground. Portland, OR may be z8a but it is not the same z8a as a Gulf Coast z8a either in winter cold or summer heat. In the Gulf Coast freezes last only a few hours at most. In Portland they can last for days. Citrus can't survive a freeze of more than a few hours unprotected in the ground.

Surely you meant to say:
"NO, Susan, you have it WRONG. Lemons & limes are the LEAST tolerant of cold."

Only the meyer lemon has any cold tolerance what so ever. It is good to maybe a few hours of 24F. Any lower and it is toast. I sold dozens of lime tree this spring since we had a freeze to 19F that killed all the in ground lime trees around here last winter. Beware, the big boxes will sell you trees not hardy enough to plant in the ground.

Here is a link that might be useful: mrtexas


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Cold hardy lemons/limes

"There are some very cold hardy lemons and limes but the four varieties mentioned by Susan are not cold hardy. Four Winds nursery says they need protection below 30-32F. One of the primary determining factors is whether the trees continue to grow during cold weather."

There are none that I know of other than meyer lemon hardy to a few hours of 24F.

Greetings here from SE Texas 500 miles north of the Texas citrus belt where satsumas are higher quality than when grown in warmer climates. Even here, satsumas can't survive unprotected indefinately. All were killed rootstock and all in the great Christmas freeze of 1989 to 10F with upwards of 48 hours of freezing weather.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Mr Texas...I am so glad to hear you say that Meyer lemon are
able to take 24° for a few hours. I just this April planted my 4-5 yr. old dwarf Meyer lemon in ground. On a "normal" winter in Central FL we normally see only a few nights of freeze and rarely get below 26°-28°. I'm hoping since we had a very unusually cold/brutal winter this past year, we'll get a break this year? It would be nice not to have to cover it.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Susan I know where you live and you do have it right. You can and should grow Owari satsuma mandarin orange which will give you the most consistent citrus crop. They were the only citrus to survive locally, the great freeze of December 1991, where the temperature fell to 12 degrees four nights in a row. Al


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Thanks, Al. That is exactly (EXACTLY) what I wanted to know. I will see if I can find one. Yesterday I took a roll of concrete reinforcing wire and made cages to go around my young Kaffir Lemon and my young Meyer Lemon (so I can put some row cover material around them,) and I put some C7 Christmas lights under the Eureka Lemon on a timer so they would be on at night. (Wouldn't you know of course that we're having another warm spell, but....it will change.)
But I have the perfect spot for one more, so I'm going to see if I can find that Owari around here somewhere.
Susan


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

I live in zone 9a (Gulf coast, sw of New Orleans) and all my citrus is in the ground (22 trees). I have found the best protection on those nights below 28 deg or so is to set up sprinklers and to run them until the trees are coated with a layer of ice. The remaining fruit is ruined, but the trees are relatively unharmed. My lemon trees (2 meyers and 1 lisbon) are planted against a southern wall of my house and do okay with a cover (no sprinkler). I don't have any lime trees.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

I picked up a 5-gallon Owari Satsuma (Four Winds dwarf) today. Now I'm all set. Okay, only four citrus trees for me, but....for one person that's just enuf....


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

I live in zone 9, CA and just purchased 5 new dwarf citrus trees from 4 Winds at OSH (on Sale). They all looked healthy: Meyer Lemon, Washington Navel, Rio Red Grapefruit, Bearss Lime and a Dancy Tangerene. I'm not sure if it is better for me to put them in the ground or keep them in pots. I prefer pots because of mobility and the clay soil in my yard has poor drainage. Right now they are each in 5 gallon containers 4 feet away from my South facing wall. I read this was a good way to provide heat/protection during Winter. I just fertalized with a citrus slow release and sprayed with "Organocide". I read that I sould pinch off the first fruits that form, but I might keep one or two. So far they look happy. Any tips?


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

I live in what is recently been changed to zone 8b from 8a and I have a number of citrus in the ground that have survived without any protection,except for mulch, through both an unusual ice storm last year and a rare snow year before last. I have owari satsumas, moro blood oranges, brown satsumas, sweet kumquats and an improved meyers lemon. Admittedly after our occassional tough winters some of them are damaged somewhat but recover real quick. I live on a lake so frost is not too bad in the south facing part of my yard, which just happens to be the part also facing the lake.

The satsumas are some of the best tasting citrus I have ever had and they seem to bloom very heavy after rough winters (I guess it is the stress).


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

rabbit you can plant citrus anytime as long as there is no danger of frost....check this chart out for an idea on your city....

also, in our CA heavy clay soils it's good a lot of times to plant in/on a mound.

Here is a link that might be useful: CA City Frost dates


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Don't overlook the kumquat varieties that have been developed. They are hardy in our zone. Meiwa is delicious, like eating an orange without all the peeling before and handwashing after. I just pop a couple like grapes when I walk by the tree. Limequat is a thing of beauty.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

My Bears(Lime) doesn't seem to be affected by anything as low as 32C. My Star Ruby(Grapefruit) seems to be suffering minor leaf damage.

This is purely observation from 1 Of each tree.

Regards
Nick


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

I meant 32F obviously :)


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

My Moro Blood orange and variegated Pink Lemon have seen a few nights of 30F so far (completely exposed).
In a simple cold-frame, they handled 24F without any damage at all last winter.


Josh


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

I have several varieties planted in the ground, Meyer, Moro, Naval, Calamondin, Owari Satsuma, Mineola and Ponderosa. Most have been in the ground 7 plus years. I have never covered them with anything other than some pine straw at the bases. Lowest temps one year were lower teens. 2 of the Moros were first year in the ground and the new growth at the top froze and died off. Both have since came back. Mine are all planted on the northeast side of the house...not the south but thats the way my yard is so there wasn't any other choice. I am thinking about a cold frame on a couple this year just to see if I can keep the fruit on longer for more ripeness.

Rob


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

I live in the same zone in Southern California. I have a Meyer lemon tree and an orange tree that are thriving in my backyard. Both give off hundreds of medium to large size fruits 3-4 times a year. Our winter frosts have never been a problem.


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RE: Any luck with citrus outdoors in Zone 9a??

Since your original post was November of 2010 I'm not sure you're still interested in an answer at this point but for the sake of keeping this subject current in this thread I'll keep it gonig by adding that I had the same question as you and found this useful link. Hope it helps anyone else interested.

http://www.justfruitsandexotics.com/Citrus.htm

Here is a link that might be useful: Cold Tolerant Citrus


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