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Citrus 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

  • Stages Of Fruit Drop And Why Is My Citrus Fruit Still Green?!

    We know, waiting for your citrus to ripen can seem like it takes forever. As much as you might be tempted to rush your little citrus buds along, patience really is key here. Let the tree take its time. Try to enjoy the process and pay attention to how beautiful it is. It’s natural to look forward to your fruit ripening, but growing citrus or any of your own food is about more than the end result. Enjoy the journey. More nutrients are getting packed in your fruit day by day while it's still on the tree.

    Citrus fruit only ripens on the vine so, if you pick it while the fruit is still green it will stop the ripening process. Citrus ripening times vary significantly which could vary from year to year as it is dependent on the weather in your area. If you have had a lot of rainy and cloudy days this could affect ripening times and cause a delay. Sunshine is crucial for ripening fruit. Your citrus tree should have at least 6-8 hours daily of full sunshine. In the winter if the tree is taken inside use supplemental lighting. There are plenty of growers lights that will work. Nurture your tree while the fruit is ripening and you won’t regret it!

    All citrus variety is the same, as far as starting off as a green bud. Just like tomatoes, except citrus cannot ripen off of the vine while tomatoes can.

    Here are some photos of the stages of the fruit ripening process of a lemon tree from bloom to being fully ripened. My favorite stage is when the tree is in bloom. The fragrance is wonderful! Very light and floral, with a hint of citrus zing. Mmm.

    Green citrus fruit Citrus Fruit Growing from Blossom to Maturity

    Pictured below are some small fruit in the process of growth but premature yellowing fruit (which will turn brown eventually).

    Baby Citrus Fruit Baby Citrus Fruit

    Please do not panic, all fruiting trees go through stages of fruit drop. Fruit drop is when the fruit is still very immature and it begins to drop off the tree while green, yellow or brown.
    The tree has shut off nutrients to the yellow fruit and eventually, the fruit will drop off the tree prematurely. This cannot always be prevented, as the tree is still young and has shut off the nutrients and is reserving its energy for growth rather than maturing fruit.
    It is important that the tree has appropriate nutrients such as nitrogen because if it lacks nutrients it will cause fruit drop that could otherwise be avoided.

    All citrus fruit (including Meyer Lemons ) will be green for about 8-9 months after they bud. It will take an additional 2-3 months to fully ripen and turn to their respective color. The Meyer Lemon ripened fruit color of the yellowish/orangish tint happens in the last month of their maturation process.

    The fruit is the sweetest and has the most nutrients when it has that nice orange tint. Then the fruit is ready to be harvested.

    The fruit picked prematurely will be more sour than normal. Please be patient, as Mother Nature moves at her own predetermined pace.

    Let us know in the comments what you have learned through the process of watching your fruit ripen. We love hearing from you! If you are having problems with your tree, let us know by calling 866-216-TREE (8733) or emailing us at support@lemoncitrustree.com

    Happy Gardening,
    Lemon Citrus Tree

     

  • Easy Setup Ideas for Indoor Citrus Trees

    Once again this is the time of year when trees are inside for the winter months and depending on how many trees you have, this can prove to be a daunting task.

    I think I made all the mistakes one can possibly make through the years, making it an interesting adventure. From purchasing very flimsy catch trays, to having terracotta cumbersome heavy plant trays. I found out the hard way that it is better to purchase good quality trays that are large solid hard plastic and lightweight.

    To make the job easier I have recommendations for set up.

    Purchasing  20" (outside diameter) catch trays and a small plant stand is the way to go, even if you have the tree still in a small pot. As your tree grows and transplanting into larger pots, eventually you’ll need the larger trays.

    To save money, I would recommend a tray that can hold a lot of water and the tray in the photo can hold over a gallon.

     

    plantstand

    Plant Catch Tray with Plant Stand

    After doing the deep watering method, the water pours from the holes in the bottom of the pot into the tray and any water in the tray will just add humidity in the air.
    When the trees are placed outside for the spring and summer, the trays can be cleaned and stacked one upon another to make storage easy, until you need them again in the fall/winter.

    Having the plant stands situated inside of the trays will make watering so much easier, without the worry of the bottom of the pots sitting in standing water.

     

    meyerlemononstand

    The dimensions of the tray in the photo:
    Diameter of Terra Tray is 17.05 Inch, made to fit Fiskars 20 Inch Terra Pot

    Product Dimensions: 17.05 x 17.05 x 2.80.

    Iron Plant Stand
    Measures 9" diameter by 5" height.

    Advantages

    ○ prevents the trees from sitting in standing water
    ○ prevents overfill if you water with a gallon of water
    ○ prevents having to move trees around, just to water.
    ○ durable, lightweight and stack-able for easy storage.

    Remember you will probably water far less in the winter than you do in the summer.
    Normally I water a few times a month when following the fertilizer recipe.
    It is very important to rely on a moisture meter. I recommend one that reads from 1-10 (water when meter is on 4).

     

    moisture-meter

    Moisture Meter

    I hope these suggestions make winter set-up a little less daunting.
    Nancy

  • Holiday Citrus Garland Decorations

    Elegant Citrus Lemon, Lime, Kumquat Holiday Garland with Pomegranate door decoration:
    Things you will need.

    ☼ 1/2-inch-diameter rope
    ☼ Evergreen (Citrus Leaves smell wonderful) or salal leaves or any natural looking leaf garland found in craft stores.
    ☼ Small oranges, lemons, limes and/or kumquats
    ☼ Fake cranberries found in craft shop
    ☼ Cinnamon Sticks
    ☼ 30-gauge florist's wire
    ☼ Scissors
    ☼ Pine cones

    Whole fruit will last one to two weeks, possibly longer if the room is on the cool side.
    Or you can dry out the fruits prior to usage and this will last the whole season.
    To do this, slice the fruit and bake in an oven at 200 degrees to dry them (be sure to dry out on a cookie sheet, flipping them every so often) or you can dry them using a food dehydrator. Follow manufacturer's instructions on drying the fruit.

    Cover the rope with leaves by attaching them with wire. Run the wire through off center of large fruit and then back through fruit and attach to garland. Run wire up through one hollow of the cinnamon stick and back down through another hollow of the stick. Add 3 or 4 cinnamon sticks to a cluster.

    Secure the fruit to the rope leaf garland where you would like. Add the cinnamon sticks.
    Attach the cranberries throughout. Small pine cones can be added by screwing in c hooks on the bottom of the cone, and attaching them. To make it more secure and position the cones  I recommend cutting small wires and bending the wire into the shape of a U . Situate where you want the cones, slip the U shape between the garland and push both ends of the wire into the bottom of the cone, this helps hold the cone in any position you want.

    Pomegranate Door Decoration:
    Make a Pomegranate door decoration by making a ribbon loop around a door knob pushing wire through both ends of ribbon into the Pomegranate, add a nice floppy bow.

     

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

    All of us at LemonCitrusTree

    Citrus Garland

  • Winter Recommendations For Indoor Citrus

    Winter can be hard on everything, including the trees that need to go inside for the winter.
    It is so important to have a good fertilizing program during the spring and summer months so the tree is hearty for the winter. A good fertilizing recipe is found on our blog here: http://lemoncitrustree.com/store/citrus-blog/2015/08/11/feeding-recipe-for-a-happy-tree/

    Trees taken inside for the winter can continue to be fertilized, because there is no fear of frost damage.

    Good lighting is a requirement for all citrus, and this can be daunting task when sunshine is rare in the winter months. Trees taken inside for the winter are considered to be in a partially sunny environment throughout the season.

    Citrus need FULL SUN 6-8 hours a day. Anything less than 6-8 hours of full sun, is considered partial sunshine. So a tree placed near a window that gets full sunshine a few hours, in NOT full sunshine. Any real sunshine your tree might receive in the winter can be very limited, unless you have a sunroom and that will also depend on the location of your sunroom. So a good rule is, unless you have a sunroom any sunlight your tree may receive is minimal. Without a sunroom, additional lighting will be required throughout the winter months and possibly even with a sunroom you may find you need to supplement lighting.

    My main concern is to help the winterized citrus get through the winter months, and I also tried to be conscientious of costs. I wish I could recommend a metal halide (MH) as it is the best choice for citrus, but I can’t recommend them, due to the costs involved. So my second choice ( to keep costs low) I recommend a compact fluorescent light (CFL) 5000k grow bulbs, which  is full spectrum bulb which 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 reflector at http://www.littlegreenhouse.com/accessory/lights.shtml

    If you chose the above option, the reflector can take up to a 150 watt bulb, so you can increase the wattage from a 40 watt that comes with the reflector up to a 150 watt, if that is your preference.

    You can also purchase the grow bulbs through Amazon with higher wattage bulbs than what is offered with the reflector at littlegreenhouse, just be sure you also purchase a reflector. Make sure whatever reflector you buy, you don’t go beyond the wattage recommended for that reflector. Please don’t inadvertently buy a reflector that takes up to a 150 watt bulb and screw in a 200 watt bulb.

    The grow lights should be left on a minimum of  8-12 hours at least. If the tree gets good sunshine and the sunshine is shining directly on the tree a few hours EVERYDAY, then you may be able to turn the lights off after 6 hours.

    I also recommend Dyna-Gro DYFOL008 Foliage Pro. Used during the winter months.
    Dyna-Gro is suppose to help plants thrive in low light environments and that is exactly the concern in the winter. Dyna-Gro should be used an hour BEFORE lights are turned on in the morning, at least once a month (or not more than the package directions.)

    When lighting is supplemented, turn lights out at night. Plants require day and night.

    Misting trees with a spray bottle will help with humidity, adding water to the catch tray also helps, just don’t allow the bottom of the pot to sit in standing water. If you mist the tree to add humidity, only mist about an hour before the lights are turned on, as wet leaves might cause burning.

    When watering trees in winter, keep in mind the water coming out of the tap is a lot colder in the winter. Water the tree with warm water ONLY.

    It’s important not to place the tree near a heat vent, this will dry out the tree. Turn off the vent if possible or redirect the heat away from the tree.

    If you have green leaves dropping off the tree after you have placed it inside for the winter, it is more likely a lighting issue. You will need to keep the grow lights turned on longer, or may need to up the wattage of the bulb.

    Happy Winter Growing,

    Nancy

  • 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

  • Bath Time for your Citrus Tree

    People who have talked to me about pest issues on their Citrus Trees know I’m a real fan of bathing my trees. Spraying soapy water onto a leaf is only useful if used as a biodegradable wetting agent to maximize adhesion to the leaf surface, so foliar nutrients don't just roll off the leaves.Although the soapy spray will probably drown the offending bug, it won’t fix all the issues the pest caused your tree. So I don’t recommend it.

    If you are spraying soapy water to drown the offenders, you are not fixing the massive problem of honeydew.  Honeydew is a sweet, sticky liquid that plant sucking insects excrete as they ingest large quantities of sap from a plant. Eventually, if the honeydew isn’t washed off, fungi will begin to grow which is sooty mold. Although sooty molds don’t infect plants, they can indirectly damage the plant by coating the leaves so it reduces photosynthesis,  which can stunt plant growth and cause leaf drop and in sever cases branch die-back.
    THINGS YOU WILL NEED

    • ☼ Warm Water
    • ☼ Dishpan
    • ☼ Dawn Dish Soap
    • ☼ Washcloth
    • ☼ Toothbrush
    • ☼ Ziplock Bag
    • ☼ Wide Masking Tape
    • ☼ Tanglefoot

     

    1. 1. Squirt Dawn dish soap into a dishpan with warm water, make sure your solution is nice and sudsy.
    2. 2. Pick one branch and start washing top and bottom of leaves with a wash cloth. Pay attention to the bottom of the leaf, this is where most eggs and pests will be found. Also pay attention to any distorted leaves. Some aphid species inject a toxin into plants, which causes leaves to curl and distort. Depending on the severity of the underside of the leaf determines what approach I take. Sometimes I will wash the leaf repeatedly, most the time If I find a pest and it’s distorted the leaf I will  remove the leaf and store in a ziplock bag.
    3. 3. Use toothbrush in crevices that the cloth can’t reach.
    4. 4. Once the tree is completely washed, treat top and underside of leaves with Horticultural Oil OR Neem Oil.
    5. 5. Wrap masking tape above or below the graft area, STICKY SIDE OUT.
    6. 6. Add Tanglefoot to sticky part of tape, this is a barrier to keep crawling pests from gaining an access point to your foliage.

     

    Do NOT place tree against anything where foliage is touching a railing or wall. Check tree in a week, you may have to rewash only a section. Re-apply oil to the whole tree again.

    I give my trees about 6 baths annually, because happy trees are clean trees.

    Wishing you the best success in your citrus growing!

    Nancy

  • 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

    Notice: Avocado Trees: adjust use of DynaGro to once per month.

          • ☼ 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

    Notice: Avocado Trees: adjust use of DynaGro to once per month.

    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 866-216-TREE (8733).

    Wishing you great success in your citrus growing!
    Nancy

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