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citrus

  • Feeding Recipe for a Happy Tree


    How would you feel if I was in charge of your care, but I simply failed to feed you?
    How long would you expect to survive? Yet this is what happens in many cases with plants that are expected to produce.

    If you starve a tree, it will starve you.
    If you feed a tree, it will feed you.

    Citrus are heavy nitrogen feeders and nitrogen leaches out the fastest of all nutrients.
    It is important to have a good fertilizing schedule, due to the leaching of nutrients in sandy soils and the fact that citrus require high nitrogen intake. Trees simply cannot produce fruit if the tree is lacking nitrogen. When watering your Citrus many nutrients are lost. So FEED FEED FEED your trees!

     

    RECOMMENDED FERTILIZERS

          • ☼ Osmocote Flower and Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food: twice a year.
          • ☼ Espoma Citrus Tone for Citrus and Avocado:  every 30 days (approx. 3 tsps. for a 15" pot)
            OR
            ☼ Miracle-Gro Miracid, Acid-Loving Plant Food 30-10-10: every 2 weeks to 30 days. (DO NOT USE IF YOU'RE USING ESPOMA)
          • ☼ Fertilome Concentrate Fish Emulsion Fertilizer
          • ☼ Dyna-Gro DYFOL008 Foliage Pro
          • ☼ Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix

    If you have just received your tree, then I suggest you not re-pot your tree until you have waited at least 2 weeks to insure the tree is not in shock. Re-potting is the worst thing you can do to a tree that is under stress. If your tree is having issues, DO NOT RE-POT!
    Many people make this mistake thinking they will fix a problem and end up making it worse.
    Use Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix, when you’re ready to re-pot.


     

    FERTILIZING SCHEDULE

     

    February (beginning of the fertilizing year)

        • Osmocote

     

    March through October

          • Week 1:  Espoma OR Miracle-Gro, Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
          • Week 2:  Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
          • Week 3:  Fish Emulsion, Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
          • Week 4:  Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage

     

    November

        • Osmocote

     

    December and January are rest period for trees planted in the ground, if tree is inside you can continue to feed.

    Foliar feeding is important and Dyna-Gro has 16 of the minerals essential for optimum plant growth. Using Dyna-Gro gives plants the nutrition they need. Plants take up the complete nutrient formula and foliar applications have greater mineral uptake than regular soil fertilizing.

    Foliar Application: Mix a quarter to half tsp. per gallon of water and spray directly on leaves. It is important that this is done only in the morning and sprayed on underside of leaves as well, use a biodegradable wetting agent to maximize adhesion to the leaf surface, so the nutrients don't just roll off the leaves.

    If you have any questions about fertilizing, you can reply to this blog with a comment or call us at 229-299-5555.

    Wishing you great success in your citrus growing!
    Nancy

  • Ripening your Citrus Fruit

    Citrus like sun! At least six hours of full sun per day is required. For best productivity provide 8 or more hours of full sun per day.

    Of course, the sun is much hotter in some areas than in others, so the overall intensity of the sun will also play a role. As a general rule, sour fruits need less heat to ripen than sweet-fruited varieties. Here are some general guidelines by variety:

    • Lemons and limes require the least heat to ripen, making them excellent choices for cool-summer areas.
    • The Washington Navel orange has the highest frost tolerance of the sweet oranges. Washington is primarily grown in California's climate zones where there are cool winter nights followed by warm days to pump the sugars into the fruit.
    • Grapefruits require intense, prolonged heat to ripen fully. (Heat causes pigmented grapefruits and pummelos to develop their distinctive red colors.) Grapefruit-pummelo hybrids like Oro Blanco are better suited to more moderate areas, sweetening in the San Francisco Bay Area and other coastal climates.
    • Tangerines and kumquats require high heat for best flavor. Kumquats are among the most frost tolerant of all citrus.
    • Keep in mind that all citrus fruits only ripen on the tree. Ripeness is best judged by sampling flavor, though rind color and time of year can also be good indicators.
  • Best Citrus Varieties for Indoor Growing

    By far, the Meyer Lemon is the most popular. Like all the lemons, it is easy to grow, prolific and does not need a lot of heat to ripen the fruit. The Meyer is slightly sweeter than the classic commercial varieties (Eureka). Its soft skin develops an orange hue when fruit is fully ripe, and its distinctive, mystical flavor combines lemon with a hint of tangerine. The Meyer lemon can be very productive, even indoors, and does not need a lot of heat to ripen the fruit.

    Kaffir Lime leaves are used extensively in Thai and Cambodian cooking, and zest of the fruit is an ingredient in some curry paste recipes. Keep your Kaffir lime tree close at hand in a sunny window and you'll be able to create authentic recipes year-round.

    Calamondin (Kalamansi) is a diminutive tree originating in the Philippines. It's ornamental form, fragrant blooms and small tart orange-colored fruits have made it a favorite for centuries. The sour juice of ripe fruits can be used in salad dressings and other recipes.

  • Treating and Preventing Scale

    Scale insects can be devastating to citrus trees. The pests are tiny insects which suck sap from the citrus tree and then excrete honeydew which accumulates on leaves, branches and fruit. Honeydew then turns to sooty mold and that interferes with photosynthesis in leaves, and can cause leaf drop and branch die back.

    There are two types of scale, armored scales that are hard bodied consisting primarily of wax, the females of this family insert their long mouthparts as crawlers and never move again on their own, but can be moved by ants that are farming them. The soft bodied scale is not fastened permanently to the tree. The soft scale gives off large amounts of honeydew upon which sooty mold fungus forms, they can move on their own but often they are moved to other areas when ants relocate them.

    It is important to have an ant barrier of a 3-4 inch band with tangle-foot around the trunk of the citrus to help protect ants from invading citrus. Since ants have a symbiotic relationship with scale insects (and other pests as well) a tape barrier is crucial. Ants domesticate many pests that damage plants and citrus trees, and ants will move those bugs from one food source to the next.

    If you have an orchard, it is always a good idea to have a tape/tangle-foot barrier and to purchase Ladybugs and release those yearly. Ladybugs will attack all stages of scale.
    If you notice beetles on your citrus trees, do not use pesticides. Beetles are keeping your trees healthy and will protect your investment.

    Spraying soapy water onto the tree does little to remove scale insects. So it is always a good idea to completely wash citrus trees with Dawn dish-soap and warm water, with a wash-cloth. After washing treat tree with Horticultural Oil or Neem Oil.

    Check tree again in a week and repeat process if required. It is always a good idea to wash the tree every time you fertilize.

    If you need further assistance with a scale infestation, please message us here.

  • Yellowing Leaves on Citrus Trees

    Hi and welcome fellow Citrus growers!yellowing-of-leaves

    One of the questions I often receive is "Why are the Leaves Yellow" on my Citrus Tree? More often, specifically on the Meyer Lemon Tree which is the most the most popular of all Indoor Citrus trees.
    We will address what causes the leaves to turn yellow and the specific remedies to correct this common issue.

     

    Reason #1: NATURAL SHEDDING AND LEAF DROP:

    It is common for the leaves at the bottom of the tree or in the interior that are not receiving much sunlight to naturally turn yellow and drop. If you only have a few yellow leaves in those locations then that is natural and part of the trees normal leaf shedding process and poses no concern.

    Reason #2: EXTENSIVE YELLOW LEAVES THROUGHOUT THE TREE WITH LEAF DROP:

    This is normally caused by an overwatering situation and/or poor drainage. When the roots sit in soggy soil they will begin to rot and they will lost their ability to carry nutrients up to the canopy of the tree. You may need to change your pot out with good drainage holes and if you re-pot make sure the potting soil you use is lightweight and does NOT contain wetting agents. Secondly, amend your watering and fertilizing as noted below to get your plant on a healthy path (It will take several months to correct this issue, be patient).

    Reason #3: YELLOW AND MOTTLED GREEN LEAVES THROUGHOUT THE TREE:

    This is an indication that your plant needs some food. I recommend you feed your plant at least every (3) months but to really give your a plant a "POP" feed monthly starting in March all the way through November. Proper plant food and watering coupled with sunshine will help your plant thrive and aid in its blossoming/fruit production.

     

    WATERING:

    Consistency is the key with citrus watering. Citrus trees require soil that is moist but never soggy. Watering frequency will vary with soil porosity, tree size, and environmental factors. DO NOT WATER IF THE TOP OF THE SOIL IS DRY WITHOUT CHECKING THE SOIL AT ROOT LEVEL! A simple moisture meter, available at garden supply stores, will read moisture at the root level. This inexpensive tool will allow you to never have to guess about whether or not a plant needs water.  It is better for the soil to be on the dryer side when you water.

    A wilted tree that perks up within 24 hours after watering indicates the roots got too dry. Adjust the watering schedule accordingly. A tree with yellow or cupped leaves, or leaves that don't look perky AFTER watering can indicate excessive watering and soggy roots. Give your tree water less often.

    Citrus prefer infrequent, deep watering to frequent, shallow sprinklings. Deeper watering promotes deeper root growth and strengthens your tree. Generally, once or twice a week deep watering works well for container specimens. Be sure to adjust based on weather conditions! In general, it is probably best to water in the morning, but if plants are dry or wilted it is better to water them right away than wait until morning.

     

    FERTILIZER:

    Citrus trees feed heavily on nitrogen. Your fertilizer should have more nitrogen (N) than phosphorous (P) or potassium (K). Use at least a 2-1-1 ratio (For example; a 15-6 -8 or 12-4-5 or 18 - 8-10 would work well ... remember you do not have to be exact, just try to find one that the first number is about twice as high as the other numbers).  Miracid Soil Acidifier is a water-soluble product that works well and is a 3-1-1 ratio. In some regions, you may be able to find specialized citrus/avocado fertilizers. Buy a good brand and apply according to package directions. Osmocote slow release plant food is another good fertilizer.

    Any good citrus formula will contain trace minerals like iron, zinc, and manganese. Many all-purpose products will work. Just add trace mineral supplements if your fertilizer is deficient. We prefer slow release fertilizers in the granular form rather than fertilizer stakes. Follow the instructions on the package carefully as fertilizers come in different strengths, release rates, and application schedules. We recommend that you fertilize more often than recommended with most slow release fertilizers. Foliar applications of trace minerals in the form of kelp or other soluble fertilizers can be effective.

     

    Check out our Video Tutorials that cover many of these same issues by clicking here.

    Wishing you great success with your Citrus Growing!

    George

  • What's So Special About The Meyer Lemon?

    Meyer Lemon trees are small and can be kept as a houseplant in a container. Meyer Lemon harvesting season stretches from November to April, so the fruit is available for the holidays. The Meyer Lemon became very popular with people like Alice Waters and Martha Stewart advocating their use and using Meyer Lemons in many of their recipes.

    Discovering ways to use the Meyer Lemon is less of a challenge than actually finding the Meyer lemon in your neighborhood grocery store. For those who live far from a citrus-growing region finding Meyer Lemons is a difficult task, growing your own tree is must for all those who love it!

    At maturity, the yellow fruit's ornamental beauty in potted plants has a host of many decorative ideas. The tree itself is a wonderful addition to your home or landscape but also the harvested fruit can be used in decorations such as a festive mantel garland around your fireplace, centerpiece with Meyer Lemons on your dining table in a decorative bowl or as a wreath with Meyer Lemons on your door. The beauty of the Meyer Lemon will impress your guests as the smell of citrus fills your home with freshness!

     

    The Meyer Lemon is truly a marvel when it comes to your health! It’s packed full of Vitamin C, antioxidants and is a good source for potassium. It’s antioxidant propertiegirlwithlemons nourish your skin while reducing scarring, and it's antiseptic properties are effective in clearing up acne. To treat your acne and/or scarring, you need to rinse your face with warm water. It is advisable that you use water that is warm enough to open up your pores, you can also use steam. Apply the freshly squeezed juice of a Meyer Lemon to a cotton ball, then apply the juice directly to your face. Allow the juice to dry then apply the juice again. Leave the juice on your face for 30 minutes. Then wash your face with a mild soap and rinse well with warm water then finish with a cool rinse of clean water. You can do this treatment daily. It is very effective because the acid in the juice helps slough off dead skin cells while helping new cell growth. It removes excess oils and kills the bacteria that cause acne.

    Meyer Lemons are a great disinfectant for cuts or scrapes to soothe poison ivy, just apply a freshly cut slice directly to the affected area. The Meyer Lemon kills the virus that causes warts! Buying products to remove warts at the drugstore is a waste of money, those treatments are usually ineffective. To remove any wart; add equal parts of Meyer Lemon juice and clove oil to a small container. Please be careful not to get this mixture into your eyes or mouth, it will burn. Applying this mixture directly to the wart will gently remove any wart with daily application over the course of a week or two, depending on the severity of the wart. Be very careful while applying, only apply to the actual wart’  you wouldn’t want to get this on your unaffected skin because it can (and will) cause irritation. The wart removing mixture should be stored in the refrigerator when not in use. You can also use the mixture to remove corns and callouses.

    In the event of chill or fever, Meyer Lemon juice in water helps to relieve symptoms of colds and flu, helping purify the blood eliminating toxins from the body and reduces phlegm. The Meyer Lemon has a calming effect and help relieves anxiety and tension. The Meyer Lemon also aids teddybearin clearing up infections in the kidney and urinary tract. The antibacterial and antiviral properties of the Meyer Lemon accelerates the healing process. Making a lemonade tea out of the Meyer Lemon, using freshly squeezed juice along with raw honey (instead of sugar) will help clear up many ailments. Drink the tea warm to aid in the absorption.

    There are many practical uses for Meyer Lemons around the house from removing odors in your home to refrigerator odors. Rubbing a slice of Meyer Lemon all over your dull pots, pans and coffee pot will make them sparkle. Also doing this for your cutting board will kill germs by sanitizing it. Adding Meyer Lemon juice to your laundry will help to kill any mildew and make your whites whiter.

    Roaches and fleas hate the smell of Meyer Lemons! So use in your kitchen often as an insect repellent, adding to mop water or using the juice on window sills and baseboards. Mix Meyer Lemon juice and water in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 5-10 minutes, allowing the steam to condense on the inside walls and ceiling of the microwave. Then just wipe away; it cuts cleaning time and disinfects. Save the lemon peels for your garbage disposal too, cuts down on odors by eating away the gunk that builds up over time and by doing so it prevents drain fly infestations.

    There are so many wonderful uses for the Meyer Lemon Tree that it’s no wonder that it’s gained a reputation of being one of the best dwarf citrus trees you can grow, indoors or out! If you would like to learn more about the wonderful use of the Meyer Lemon then please join our mailing list below. You will receive periodic newsletters with special discounts, decorating ideas, recipes, tree care suggestions and more!

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