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Avocado Care

  • RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

     

    Caring for citrus and fruit trees is easy if you avoid the pitfalls.  This article will break it down in simple and easy steps to help you keep your trees happy and healthy.
    To make it convenient you can just click on the links below that will show you the recommended products.

    WATERING 

    Underwatering and overwatering are both detrimental to the tree.
    Citrus Trees prefer infrequent, deep watering. Generally, once a week is all that is needed.
    We strongly recommend utilizing a Moisture Meter that reads between 1-10 before watering, because once a week watering could be too much water for a container-grown, indoor tree.
    Once the tree has been watered properly, check the soil with the moisture meter after the water drains to make sure the meter read 10. This will ensure that the tree has been watered deeply and properly. You will not have to water the tree again until the meter reads 4.
    Do not leave the meter in the pot when not in use.

    FERTILIZERS-  FOR CITRUS AND AVOCADO

    Do not use these products on fruit trees (Look under the Fruit tree recommended fertilizers)

    I highly recommend Dyna-Gro Foliage Pro. This product helps plants thrive and has nutrients that other fertilizers may not have enough of. I use this product as a foliar spray,  although you can also water the tree with it. The great thing about this product is when using it as a foliage spray, it goes straight to the tree within days, so you don't have to wait to water and feeding through the root system of the tree takes time for nutrients to break down.

    When fertilizing with any of the recommended products, keep in mind that the directions on the bag of fertilizer are directions for trees that are planted in the ground, not for container-grown trees, so be careful not to use too much fertilizer at one time for a potted tree.
    When using Fertilome Fruit, Citrus, and Pecan Tree Food, be careful not to use too much of this product due to its high ratio of nitrogen. The ratio is 19-10-5 so it's a great product to use occasionally. Normally when using the high nitrogen Fertilome Fruit, Citrus, and Pecan Food I'll wait a month and then switch to something that is not so high in nitrogen, such as Espoma Citrus Tone or Fish Emulsion
    Occasionally I'll add Bone Meal mixing a quarter cup to one gallon of water and water the tree with the mixture.  Bone meal will cause the tree to grow and bloom, so it is important to know bloom times.
    For Orange trees, a good time to use the bone meal mixture is mid-February if your tree is indoors and protected from freezing temperatures. Don't overuse bone meal due to the tree's need for nitrogen. Citrus are heavy nitrogen feeders, and bone meal has phosphorus.
    Whenever you use bone meal you must supply a nitrogen fertilizer within a few weeks or within a month.
    Sometimes I'll mix equal parts of bone meal and Blood Meal together (2 tablespoons of each) to 1 gallon of water and water the tree with the mixture since blood meal is a nitrogen product.
    If you are feeding an orange tree,  I would simply use the quarter cup of just the bone meal in February and then in a month use a nitrogen product. This way the tree gets the boost of phosphorus for growth and blooming.

    Orange trees bloom between February through May so the bone meal will give it the boost it needs to bloom just keep in mind it is important to make sure you feed the tree nitrogen fertilizer thereafter so the tree has plenty of nitrogen to produce and grow the fruit.

    Although I have recommended quite a few fertilizers, you can just pick a few of them and add to your stock over time.  Dyna-Gro would be at the top of the list.

    If you ordered the smallest tree then I would transplant the tree after 2 weeks into a larger pot before starting a fertilizing schedule.

    A high nitrogen fertilizer like Fertilome Fruit, Citrus Pecan Food is a good product but be careful when using it for a potted tree, you don't want to use too much with the ratio of 19 on the nitrogen.
    (3 gallons pots) 1 teaspoon every other month
    (7 gallons pots) 1 tablespoon every other month
    (10 gallons pots) 2 tablespoons every other month.

    On the months you skip you can choose  Blood Meal, Fish Emulsion or Citrus Tone so you'll be feeding the tree something monthly, just use the same ratio above for the pot sizes, the fish emulsion needs to be diluted in water.
    Since trees are living things I try to consider the fact that I would not want to eat the same meal every day. After a while, my favorite meal would not be my favorite anymore.
    So I try to consider that when feeding my trees and give them some variety.
    Also, please keep in mind, your tree is trapped in a pot, like a fish in a fishbowl and it cannot get nutrients unless you provide them. If we fed our fish the same way we feed our trees, in many cases the fish would be floating belly up.

    For trees planted in the ground please follow directions on the bag and if your winter is cold stop fertilizing in mid-September.

     

    FRUIT TREE FERTILIZER

    Fertilizing Fruit trees like Olive, Figs, Persimmon and Pomegranate are a lot simpler to manage.
    Find an even number fertilizer like  Southern AG All-Purpose Fertilizer 10-10-10

    Fruit trees can get phenomenal growth and bloom with Bone Meal use a quarter cup per gallon of water only once per year.

    OTHER RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

    LIGHTING
    Good lighting is a requirement for all citrus. Green leaf drop is the #1 problem caused by a lack of light. Trees get their energy from the sun. If the tree doesn't get enough sunshine then it will start dropping its foliage, which is a vicious cycle, if it doesn't have the energy it requires it will eventually die.

    We recommend a compact fluorescent light (CFL) 5000k grow bulbs, which is a full spectrum bulb that promotes overall plant growth. This should be screwed into a reflector, so the light is directed onto the tree and not used just as a bulb in a standard lamp or overhead light. Without the reflector, the light is too dissipated to be of much use. The lights can be purchased as a full set, bulb with the reflector at :
    https://www.acfgreenhouses.com/green-thumb-clamp-on-grow-light.aspx
      When purchasing this light be sure it's ONLY the 5000K in the drop-down menu.

    Multiple trees
    If you have multiple trees you might want to consider the Sun Blaze T5 Fluorescent Grow Light.
    https://www.acfgreenhouses.com/sun-blaze-fluorescent-t5-grow-light.aspx

     

    SOIL TREATMENT

    The secret of healthy and great-looking trees begins in the soil. If the soil is poor and lacking nutrients the tree will do poorly. Fungus delivers many essential nutrients to the root system of trees and increases drought resistance.  Fungi produce specialized acids and enzymes that break the bonds that bind nutrients to the soil and organic compounds. Mycorrhizae Fungi, are the principal structures for most nutrient uptake in the plant kingdom.

    Tree roots and fungi form a symbiotic relationship. The Mycorrhizae Fungi form large networks of fine filamentous growth throughout the soil. The roots and the fungi assist each other with the fungi collecting water and nutrients for the plant's root system and the tree assists the fungi by feeding the fungi sugars.
    Soil Acidifier will help reduce alkalinity for all acid-loving Citrus Trees.

    PEST PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

    There are a few simple preventative measures that can help considerably to prevent pest infestation. Trees that have spider mites, aphids, and scale, etc need to be completely washed off with sudsy dawn dish soap. Killing the pest is only part of the problem. Honeydew left on the tree will eventually cause the tree to deteriorate. So wash the foliage and then you can treat the tree with Neem Oil.

    A tape barrier is crucial in protecting the tree in the winter. If you have to take your tree indoors in the winter then chances are high you live in an area that has dormant trees outside.
    Consider your outdoor surroundings, are the trees and bushes barren, with no foliage?
    If you get warming temperatures that fluctuate from warm to cold, ants can become active along with spider-mites and the only foliage around is your tree.

    Tape barriers are simple. Just wrap a wide piece of Masking Tape around your tree (not the whole tree) Just a section no wider than the width of your tape will do and wipe Tanglefoot on the tape. This will prevent pests from crawling up the tree to get to the foliage.

    I always do a few preventatives to protect my trees. Diatomaceous Earth is also helpful, just sprinkle a small amount on top of the soil. Imagine you are a bug crawling across the soil to get to the tree, if the bug crosses into the Diatomaceous Earth they will get cut up and die of dehydration, so you don't need to use a lot of it. I also use Gnat Traps in the event the soil has fungus gnats.
    If you see fruit flies flying around the foliage, you'll need to wash the tree. Fruit flies and fungus gnats are not the same types of flies.
    Fruit flies are your best friend in the winter, they will let you know if there is honeydew on the foliage, and honeydew is a killer to the tree. Once the honeydew is gone, they will leave also.
    Fungus gnats hang out in the soil, so if the fly isn't mainly interested in the foliage area of the tree, it's a gnat. You can also smear tanglefoot on a bottle that has a small amount of apple cider vinegar in the bottle, they can't resist the Apple Cider Vinegar and will get stuck in the tanglefoot.
    Citrus leaf miners can be a real nuisance. They are larvae that originate from several types of insects such as moths. They lay their eggs on the trees and the young larvae burrow into the leaf, eating the foliage. They are not harmful to the tree but they can make your tree look less attractive. I use Fertilome Fruit Tree Spray that can also be used as a fungicide.

     

    CITRUS GREENING 

    Brassinolide- this product is for research purposes.

    The Asian citrus psyllid has put the United States Citrus industry in serious jeopardy.
    Citrus Greening is the worse citrus disease in the world and is causing devastation that's spread by this disease-infected insect. The USA consumer has little knowledge of this devastating insect that has caused billions of dollars in loss for the Citrus industry and whole abandoned orchards and groves throughout Florida.
    The Asian psyllid pierces through the tree to suck out the sap, and if it is a carrier of the virus it enters the tree and causes long term damage until eventually, the tree dies.
    The cell walls of the foliage collapse which will not allow foliar sprays to enter the cell walls because the cells are so small the particles cannot enter the cell to be absorbed into the tree.
    If there is an issue with collapsing cells, no foliar sprays will ever help the tree and with collapsing cells eventually, this causes the breakdown of photosynthesis and loss of nutrients.

    The brassinolide causes cell elongation, which expands the cells, allowing the nutrients and sunshine to pass through.
    The brassinolide won't hurt the trees since it is a growth hormone and natural in plants.

    Please keep in mind the Brassinolide product is for research purposes.
    Normally I would not recommend a product that is for research purposes but trees with Citrus Greening survival rate is low, the tree dies within a few years unless measures are taken to save the tree.

     

    SETUP IDEAS

    When watering the tree properly the soil should be drenched and with the deep-watering method, a lot of water should drain from the holes in the bottom of the pot, which requires a Catch Tray when trees are indoors. I recommend a hard plastic tray that can hold over a gallon of water for larger trees. The tree should be above that catch tray so it doesn't sit in standing water. A Small Plant Stand is helpful in keeping the tree elevated above the drainage tray.

    If you have any questions please contact us at: support@lemoncitrustree.com or call

    Happy Growing,
    Nancy
    866-216-8733

    LemonCitrusTree

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • How Do I Select The Best Container For my Citrus Tree?

    Soggy wet roots are the leading cause of problems with container grown citrus trees. Many of those problems can be eliminated with careful container choices and a moisture meter that can prevent over-watering.
    The Deep Watering Method is the proper watering method, directions can be found here:
    https://lemoncitrustree.com/store/citrus-blog/2018/10/19/deep-watering-method-for-potted-citrus-trees/

    CLAY POTS
    Clay pots are classic but heavy choices. If you live in the southern part of the country, you may want to avoid the clay pots, as they dry out very quickly and you'll spend a significant amount of time watering in hot summers. If you plan on using clay be sure the mouth of the pot is as wide or wider than the pot itself, avoid the spherical pots with the mouth of the pot curving inward, these tend to be wide and shallow and don't have the depth needed for the deep root growth and if you ever need to transplant you may have trouble getting the root ball out if the opening of the pot is smaller than the width of the whole pot.

    WOOD POTS
    Wood containers degrade over time, allowing roots to grow into cracks and have irregular surfaces, making it harder to transplant. While transplanting you may be ripping roots out between cracks to dislodge them, so avoid the wood and look for something comparable like a plastic barrel that you can drill additional holes in. Many plastic barrels look very similar to the wood barrels.

    SELF-WATERING POTS
    The self-watering pots are NEVER recommended for Citrus trees. Citrus require infrequent deep watering, so self-watering pots do not allow for this. The self-watering type can cause overly wet roots. Also, pots that have the catch tray or saucers attached are not recommended, trees do not like "wet feet" and those types of pots can cause root rot.

    CLOTH POTS
    Cloth container pots are not recommended. The cloth can become misshapen over time as the soil settles. During the watering process, some of the soil may relocate in the pot, and this can cause the tree to eventually tip out of its container since the soil is not held firmly into place with solid sturdy sides. The cloth pots just do not work well because they are far too flexible allowing the soil to reshape the pot during the deep watering process, which will cause the tree to tip out because it has nothing sturdy to hold the soil in place.

    PLASTIC POTS
    Hard plastic pots come in a wide selection of designs and colors, making them the ideal choice for citrus trees. When choosing a pot, be sure you can actually see drainage holes in the bottom, if not it is the wrong pot. The sides should be sturdy and the plastic strong enough to drill additional holes in the bottom if needed.
    Plastic pots are easier to handle and more lightweight than clay and resistant to breakage.
    Four to five large (3/4"-1") holes are the minimum necessary for adequate drainage. Select a pot that makes it easy to inspect your tree or re-pot if needed. Smooth tapered sides with a wide mouth at the top work the best. Avoid shapes that are narrow at the top or other designs that would impede the root ball from easily sliding out.

    Do not add stones or gravel in the bottom of the container. Elevate the container pot off the drainage-tray or ground to allow the water to exit the container after watering. Water according to pot size and do not go beyond a 10-gallon container.

    For more transplanting information: https://lemoncitrustree.com/store/citrus-tree-care-containers

    LemonCitrusTree

  • Deep Watering Method For Potted Citrus Trees

    Trees will die without the essential requirements. Incorrect watering is the most common cause of issues and tree death.

    Deep Watering Method

    1. Check the tree with a moisture meter before watering. (The meter's range should be from 1-10)
    2. The prong should be deep into the pot.
    3. Only water when the meter reads 4.
    4. All trees require deep watering. Deep watering is drenching the soil until water pours from the holes at the bottom of the pot.
    5. Watering with a few cups is not acceptable, this will cause deep roots to die. Never be stingy with the water when the tree needs to be watered.
    6. Once the tree has been watered properly, recheck the moisture level again to make sure the meter reads high (9 or 10) and then do not water again until the meter reads 4.
    7. In the winter you will water far less, about twice a month (But always check the tree with a meter weekly because this can vary)
    8. The meter should never be left in the pot when not in use.
    9. Never water with cold water in the winter
    10. Never water the tree with water from a water softener.
    NEVER ALLOW TREES TO SIT IN STANDING WATER
    A space between the bottom of the pot and the tray that catches the water is required.

    LemonCitrusTree

  • Bugs on Citrus; Friend or Foe?

    Most people who see any bug in the garden automatically assume that it is a “bad bug" or harming their plants.

    It’s really important to know the difference between the good, the bad and those that aren't quite so attractive.

    I always recommend people wash their trees a few times during the summer when they fertilize, as a pest preventative.

    Washing with dawn dish soap and warm water with a washcloth helps if there is honeydew on the leaves.

    Presently I have a spider that has decided to make himself a home in my Meyer Lemon. He popped out of the thick foliage and introduced himself in late spring, when I fertilized the trees and was doing the normal washing of the trees.

    I named him Eli and decided he can stay as long as he wishes. I left Eli’s home alone and moved on to washing the other trees. Eli is protecting my tree from predatory insects.

    Interesting enough, of all my citrus trees, the one tree that Eli has taken residence in, is the healthiest of all my trees.

    I made the right decision in allowing him to stay, so he gets free room and board. I just wish the rest of his family would have joined him in moving into the trees next to him.

    Right next to Eli's tree, is a tree that had a recent visitor,  the infamous leaf miner.

    Although admittedly Eli's family may not have been able to prevent the mining operation that is ongoing,  one can hope Eli was on his toes, because no mining operation is occurring in his home.

    The little guy you allow to live, could be the best of all preventatives.

    Please make certain the bug you kill is your enemy, because predators can do a better job of protecting your investment, because they are on guard 24/7.

    Moral to the story, distinguish between Friend and Foe.
    Nancy

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