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A favorite of farmers markets and home cooks. This lovely tree is hardier than most others of its kind, allowing you to enjoy more fragrant flowers and tasty, thin-skinned lemons. Matures to be 8-10' tall, but can be kept smaller by pruning or growing in a container. Heat-tolerant. Harvest in late summer through winter. Self-pollinating. If you live in Zones 4-8, plant these warm-weather species in containers so that you can move them indoors before freezing temps arrive. Spring delivery only, shipped greenhouse-grown, 6-12 inch plants.
Plants grown in a greenhouse must be acclimated carefully before planting or placing them outdoors. This is especially true in hot or sunny locations. Many species should never be grown in full sun. Before purchasing a plant, learn about its sun requirements. Knowing the plants requirements can avoid any damage to the plant by incorrectly giving it the wrong conditions.
If your plant has been grown in a greenhouse, here are a few steps we recommend you follow:
With citrus, it will become necessary to move your container-grown citrus plants indoors to overwinter when temperatures drop below 60 degrees. Prepare your plants for this by gradually shading the plants over a 3-week period.
These are general guide recommendations. Some plants take longer than others to acclimate.
The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Let’s discuss location: Do you know where you want to locate your new plant? Avoid many future problems by considering all aspects of the planting spot, such as:
Is a pollinator variety present? Cross-pollination by a different variety, of the same type of tree, is key to the success of many fruit trees. In most cases, its absence is why trees don’t bear fruit or produce poorly.
Your tree would love a sunny place with well-drained, fertile soil. But it will be quite satisfied with six to eight hours of sunlight. Good drainage is required to keep your trees “happy.” If your soil has high clay content, use our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or add one-third peat to the soil at planting time. We do not recommend planting fruit trees in heavy, pure clay soils.
Even if your yard isn’t the most ideal location, take heart. Fruit trees are very adaptable and respond well to fertilizers, so they can get along well even where the soil is nutritionally poor. Just steer clear of sites with extremely heavy soils or very poor drainage.
If you’d like your tree to become a landscaping asset, choose the planting place with this in mind. Imagine it as a full-grown tree and check everything out: Wires overhead? Sidewalk underneath? Does it obstruct something you want to see? Can you keep an eye on it from the house? Will other trees be in the way, allowing for their additional growth in the meantime?
Even a year or two after planting, your tree will be very difficult to transplant. So take the time to plant it in just the right place.
First-time fruit tree growers often ask about recommended planting distances from patios, sewer lines, water pipes and so on. Ordinarily, patios will not be a problem because the soil beneath them will be dry and compacted. Therefore, the roots will not grow into this area as much. It’s still recommended, however, that you plant at least 8-10’ away from patios, water pipes and sewer pipes. You might not expect sewer and water lines to be affected since they are buried so deeply. But, since sewer and water lines tend to be wet, roots will grow to them and around them if the tree is planted too close. By planting your trees far enough away from these items, you can avoid this problem.
Once you’ve found out about fruit growing goodness firsthand, you’ll want to expand your home orchard. It’s important to plan for tree spacing so that the future growth areas will be ready when you are.
One way to help you visualize your exact tree spacing is by staking out the positions of your present and future plantings. But how do you make sure the hole goes where the stake is? One method is to prepare a notched planting board. The planting board is used to show where the original position was after the hole was dug. To use it, simply put the stake in the tree notch as indicated and then put stakes on each end. Then, remove the board and dig the hole. When the hole is big enough to accommodate the roots, replace the board between the two stakes and place the tree in the tree notch. Use the planting board as a guide, keeping the tree erect. The planting board can be used over and over again.
Successfully establishing a young fruit tree starts with your planting site and method. Once a fruit tree is established, it needs little assistance to grow and bear fruit; but you’ll want to make sure you give your trees the right foundation.
Fruit trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. Citrus trees enjoy a soil pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Steer clear of soils that are extremely heavy or poorly drained.
Upon arrival, you may notice that your citrus plant has lost some or all of its leaves. Don’t be alarmed because this is normal. New leaves and shoots will appear shortly after repotting.
By your tree’s second summer, you can plant it in a larger container, usually 16-20 inches in diameter. They have a shallow root system, so a wide diameter container is far better than a deep one. This can be the tree’s permanent home. These pots can be moved around as you wish. Just remember not to make a major change in light exposure all at once, but in stages. Refreshing the soil every one to three years will provide soil nutrients and encourage healthier growth.
Protect your citrus plant until outdoor temperatures warm and the chance of frost is gone. Citrus plants thrive in temperatures between 55 and 90 degrees. Ideal temperatures for the spring and summer range from 75 to 90 degrees F. During fall and winter, the temperature range is 60 and 70 degrees F. It is not only important to have good lighting and warmth, but most importantly, humidity of 30-60%.
Preparing your soil before you plant will greatly improve your plant’s performance and promote healthy, vigorous growth. It is a good idea to have your soil tested to determine if it is lacking in any essential minerals and nutrients. This can be done through your County Extension Office or with one of our digital meters.
The goal of soil preparation is to replenish vital minerals and nutrients, as well as break up and loosen any compacted soil.
Soil preparation can be done at any time that the ground is not too wet or frozen. Your trees may be planted even when temperatures are quite cool. If a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more moderate. Generally, as long as your soil is workable, it is fine to plant.
Your lawn can provide you with ideal organic materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Not only will the grass and leaves break down to provide soil nutrients, but they will help loosen the soil as well. You can gather these in the fall with spring planting in mind.
Adding organic materials, such as our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost will improve most every soil type. Organic materials bind sandy soil particles so they retain moisture and nutrients better. They also break apart clay and silt particles, so that water can infiltrate and roots can spread.
Fertilizing is an excellent way to replenish the natural nutrients in your plant’s soil. For citrus, you should use specialized citrus fertilizers to maintain the proper nutrients.
Leaves turn yellow for several different reasons, and one of them could be the soil needs to be made more acidic. To maintain the acidity of the soil, dissolve one-half teaspoon of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) into on quart or room temperature water. Use this solution every two or three months.
Every plant has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your plants encounters. If available, disease-resistant varieties are the best option for easy care; and for all types of plants, proper maintenance (such as watering, pruning, spraying, weeding, and cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.
Pinpoint size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves.
Tiny, slender, fringed wing insects ranging from 1/25 to 1/8” long. Nymphs are pale yellow and highly active and adults are usually black or yellow-brown, but may have red, black or white markings. Feed on large variety of plants by puncturing them and sucking up the contents.
Usually on bark of young twigs and branches, encrusted with small (1/16”) hard, circular, scaly raised bumps with yellow centers, may also be on fruit. Sap feeding weakens the tree.
Adults are 1/4” long, flat, oval shaped with a white waxy covering. Yellow to orange eggs are laid within an egg sac. Crawlers are yellow to brown in color. Over winters as an egg or very immature young in or near a white, cottony egg sac, under loose bark or in branch crotches, mostly found on north side. Damage is by contamination of fruit clusters with egg sacs, larvae, adults and honeydew, which promotes growth of black sooty mold.
Adults are tiny, white winged insects found mainly on the underside of leaves. Nymph emerge as white, flat, oval shapes. Larvae are the size of a pinhead. Suck plant juices from leaves causing them to turn yellow, appear to dry or fall off plants.
Pale yellow or ‘dirty’ green worms. Leaves are rolled and webbed together where insects feed. Eventually becomes ‘skeletonized’.
Large caterpillar that is brown in color and about 1½-2 inches long. They feed on the leaves of the plant. Caterpillars can rapidly strip the leaves on an entire tree in a few days. The adult butterfly, black and yellow swallowtail, lays her eggs on the leaves.
Pruning is an important part of proper edible plant care, and in the case of citrus trees, it’s particularly easy to do.
Citrus plants will sometimes have thorns when they are young. As the plants mature, the thorns will not appear as often and can be pruned off if desired.
Spraying is important to the survival of your plants. To handle potential diseases and pests, reference the guidelines below to know what you should spray, and when you should use it.
Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.
Adequate drainage is essential for citrus plants. Once in its growing container, the following guidelines will help you provide for your plant’s watering needs.
Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown fruit? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the fruits of your labor: the best time to pick the fruit from your tree, and how to store the fruit.
Fruit color is often a poor indicator of ripeness because many fruits have full color rinds a long time before they can be eaten. The taste test is the best way to tell if your fruit is ripe. Unlike some fruit, citrus fruit does not further ripen and sweeten after picking. The sweetness and flavor of citrus fruit depends entirely on the amount of heat the tree has received during the growing season which will vary by location.
If growing citrus fruits outside it is best to harvest from the lower branches first. There are two reasons for this:
To remove fruit, gently twist the fruit from the tree or cut it off with clippers. Take care not to damage the twigs. When fruit begins to wrinkle it has been on the tree too long.
Meyeri lemons are usually ready to harvest between August and February and are usually safe to pick once they turn yellow. Lemons stored at room temperatures will keep for about a week, if refrigerated should keep for up to a month. Lemons can take up to 4 months from bloom to harvest.
Key limes are usually ready to harvest in the summer. Limes are harvested prior to ripening while still green.
Valencia oranges are usually ready to harvest late spring to mid summer. Oranges keep better at room temperature.
Tangerines are harvested in winter and spring and will only keep a few days.
Ripe fruit can remain on the tree for several weeks. If your fruit needs to be harvested and you are not able to use your fruit right away you can store it in a cool, moist place for several weeks.
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Trees that are shipped without soil to ensure good contact with soil in your yard. When shipped, they are about 3-4' tall with 3/8" or larger trunk diameter. When they mature, they will be one of three sizes*:
Matures to be about 8-10' tall and wide. Provides an abundance of full-size fruit.
Matures to be about 12-15' tall and wide. Gives maximum fruit yield per square foot.
Matures to be about 15-25' tall and 20' wide. A multi-purpose fruit and shade tree.
Top-grade, bare-root trees that give you a head start on growing. When shipped, they are about 4-5' tall with 5/8" or larger trunk diameter.
Trees in bottomless pots that allow some roots to be air pruned, so that a dense mass of productive, feeder roots can grow within the pot to make transplanting easier. Mature sizes vary. When shipped, they are about 1-2' tall.
Top-grade, potted trees chosen to give you a head start on growing. When shipped to you, they are about 3-4' tall.
*Tree sizes may vary by variety. See our Growing Guide for details.