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Author Topic: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)  (Read 8469 times)

2manytoyz

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New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« on: July 25, 2012, 08:52:01 PM »
Late last year we bought a house on N. Merritt Island, FL.  Nice place, and the previous owner planted a number of citrus trees.  Some apparently already died.  The remaining ones need to be pruned and fed.  I put fertilizer spikes around the base of each tree, but it's obviously not enough.

Here's what I'm working with.

Key Lime:


Lemon:


Marsh Grapefruit:


Mineola Tangelo:


Navel Orange:


Ruby Red Grapefruit:


Most are showing some signs of improvement.  The navel has some partial new growth.  The tangelo and marsh look terrible.

Anyone have a good game plan to start with?  We've had plenty of rain, and I plan on fertilzing the lawn and trees this weekend.  Been busy working on the house, now ready to tackle the lawn.  I'm thinking of plucking the fruit, trimming out any dead branches, and low branches...

Thanks for any feedback.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 07:51:00 PM by 2manytoyz »
Robert & Dawn
Merritt Island, FL
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fyliu

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2012, 09:45:44 PM »
It's just the lawn sucking up all the available nitrogen. Same thing happened to my Gold Nugget. Pull back or kill the lawn and they'll be happier with the new fertilizer.

Is the red mulch bad for edible plants? I read some product disclaimer that their brand of colored mulch should not be used on edible crops. Just wondering.

Guanabanus

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2012, 10:08:07 PM »
Kill grass from tree trunks to one or two feet outside the drip-line.  Then mulch, but not touching trunk.

Those already mulched should have mulch and soil pulled away from trunk down to top of first roots.  A 2- or 3-inch air gap between mulch and trunk is good enough.

Fertilizer stakes were invented for pine reforestation projects on mountainsides.  Fruit tree roots near fertilizer stakes can be burned, but the main problem is that the other roots away from the stakes get no fertilizer.

Fertilize with granular fertilizer, spreading it evenly from a few inches out from the trunk to two feet or more beyond the drip-line.  Some of the nitrogen and potassium should be slow release, and there should be lots of magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, zinc, and copper.   If your soil does not already have plenty of calcium, add some gypsum.   A detailed soil test showing all these nutrients would be helpful.  Many free or cheap soil tests only show NPK and pH.

Nutritional sprays also tend to be very helpful, and there are many to choose from--- Southern Ag Citrus, Seaweed Extract (Kelp), chelated micro-nutrients, etc.
Har

2manytoyz

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2012, 10:17:46 PM »
Good info, thanks guys!
Robert & Dawn
Merritt Island, FL
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bsbullie

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2012, 10:25:49 PM »
Kill grass from tree trunks to one or two feet outside the drip-line.  Then mulch, but not touching trunk.

Those already mulched should have mulch and soil pulled away from trunk down to top of first roots.  A 2- or 3-inch air gap between mulch and trunk is good enough.

Fertilizer stakes were invented for pine reforestation projects on mountainsides.  Fruit tree roots near fertilizer stakes can be burned, but the main problem is that the other roots away from the stakes get no fertilizer.

Fertilize with granular fertilizer, spreading it evenly from a few inches out from the trunk to two feet or more beyond the drip-line.  Some of the nitrogen and potassium should be slow release, and there should be lots of magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, zinc, and copper.   If your soil does not already have plenty of calcium, add some gypsum.   A detailed soil test showing all these nutrients would be helpful.  Many free or cheap soil tests only show NPK and pH.

Nutritional sprays also tend to be very helpful, and there are many to choose from--- Southern Ag Citrus, Seaweed Extract (Kelp), chelated micro-nutrients, etc.
Har has it right on.  When he says "kill" the grass away from the trunks, I would not spray with anything.  I would actually pull up the grass by hand.  And as said, pull back the mulch and dirt to expose those crown roots.  That is how the plant breathes.  In a sense they are currently suffocating.

As for the red mulch, most red mulch is now certified these days as safe however I am still not a fan of it. I prefer pure cypress or a fairly small pine bark mulch (almost pine fines).

One last thing...with respect to the Minneola, or Honeybell as it is commonly known, it needs a  pollenizers to get real production out of it (it is not very self fruitful and without a  pollenizers your yields will be low).  I would highly recommend planting a Dancy tangerine or Temple Tangor as a  pollenizers for the Minneola.
- Rob

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 02:29:00 AM »


Mineola Tangelo:


Navel Orange:


Thanks for any feedback.
:'( :'( :'( :'( OH MY GOD! MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! It's killing me just looking at that. MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! Seriously, I'm about ready to look up airfares to Merritt Island and do it myself. Also pull those fertilizer spikes out and crush them into a fine powder and sprinkle them into the ground so they don't go to waste. That's what I do. Also MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! MULCH!

2manytoyz

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 08:40:14 AM »
So I'm thinking I need to pull some grass and maybe put down some mulch...   ;)

Okay, on my list for Saturday morning, thanks again!
Robert & Dawn
Merritt Island, FL
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KarenRei

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 09:13:40 AM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
J, g er a rkta surnar plntur slandi. Nei, g er ekki brjlu. Jja, kannski...

bsbullie

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2012, 09:24:45 AM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.  Also, putting down plastic as you describe would have its own problems.  One, it would suffocate the same roots you are trying to expose (again, it needs to breathe): and two, the plastic would trap in moisture with no air circulation which again would be harmful to the trees.
- Rob

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2012, 09:28:50 AM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.  Also, putting down plastic as you describe would have its own problems.  One, it would suffocate the same roots you are trying to expose (again, it needs to breathe): and two, the plastic would trap in moisture with no air circulation which again would be harmful to the trees.

Rob,  Richard was quite adamant about NOT mulching citrus.   You may want to ask him about this

bsbullie

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2012, 09:33:23 AM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.  Also, putting down plastic as you describe

 would have its own problems.  One, it would suffocate the same roots you are trying to expose (again, it needs to breathe): and two, the plastic would trap in moisture with no air circulation which again would be harmful to the trees.

Rob,  Richard was quite adamant about NOT mulching citrus.   You may want to ask him about this
I wasn't promoting the mulch around the base of the tree.  It is ok, however, to mulch around the area beyond the dripline.  I will clarify for all, mulch should not be applied inside the dripline as this is the area you want good circulation so the tree can breathe.
- Rob

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2012, 09:38:01 AM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.  Also, putting down plastic as you describe

 would have its own problems.  One, it would suffocate the same roots you are trying to expose (again, it needs to breathe): and two, the plastic would trap in moisture with no air circulation which again would be harmful to the trees.

Rob,  Richard was quite adamant about NOT mulching citrus.   You may want to ask him about this
I wasn't promoting the mulch around the base of the tree.  It is ok, however, to mulch around the area beyond the dripline.  I will clarify for all, mulch should not be applied inside the dripline as this is the area you want good circulation so the tree can breathe.

Good your wrote that - the advice was just mulch, mulch, mulch...  drip line is pretty far away from the trunk on those trees so the correct mulching advice is good to make known otherwise its taps for the trees. 

KarenRei

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2012, 09:59:02 AM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.

Grass killer, not weed killer.  Grass killers target specific metabolic pathways only found in grasses and won't hurt any tree except for banana "tree"s.  Examples include Fusilade, Envoy, and Vantage (the problem for bananas is that they're actually in the same as same plant subgroup (the commelinids) as grasses, which is why they grow similarly to their relatives).  Nurseries sometimes spray them right on top of all of their plants to kill any grasses that happen to be lurking therein.

As for the plastic and tree roots, I have no idea, but you may be right.  I've used that method to kill grass for a garden before but never around a tree.  Well, never around a large tree; I did it around a lilac and the lilac was fine.  I'd think whatever is on the surface is going to be a *lot* more vulnerable because you're killing the grass, effectively, by baking the moisture out of the leaves (but not out of the soil; water that evaporates drips back down).  But again, I don't have experience doing that around fruit trees, so I can't really say how they'd be affected.
J, g er a rkta surnar plntur slandi. Nei, g er ekki brjlu. Jja, kannski...

bsbullie

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2012, 10:18:34 AM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.

Grass killer, not weed killer.  Grass killers target specific metabolic pathways only found in grasses and won't hurt any tree except for banana "tree"s.  Examples include Fusilade, Envoy, and Vantage (the problem for bananas is that they're actually in the same as same plant subgroup (the commelinids) as grasses, which is why they grow similarly to their relatives).  Nurseries sometimes spray them right on top of all of their plants to kill any grasses that happen to be lurking therein.

As for the plastic and tree roots, I have no idea, but you may be right.  I've used that method to kill grass for a garden before but never around a tree.  Well, never around a large tree; I did it around a lilac and the lilac was fine.  I'd think whatever is on the surface is going to be a *lot* more vulnerable because you're killing the grass, effectively, by baking the moisture out of the leaves (but not out of the soil; water that evaporates drips back down).  But again, I don't have experience doing that around fruit trees, so I can't really say how they'd be affected.
I don't care what it targets it is best not to spray grass killer or weed killer.  It is faster, cheaper and not that big of a deal to manually pull out/remove the grass...plus it eliminates the use of unneeded chemicals.

As for the plastic issue, trust me on this.  This method should NOT be used to kill grass/weeds around ANY fruit trees.
- Rob

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2012, 11:12:35 AM »
Hi Robert & Dawn,
Welcome both to the forum :)

Now down to business ;D Fellow members already shared tips to rehabilitate these sad trees...They sure need to get back on the game ;)
Ruby grapefruit, Lemon and Key lime look great to me 8) 

I would remove the grass manually at 1-1 1/2 meters away from the trunk, amend the soil with cow manure, then mulch on top and water generously 8) Just my opinion...you are boss of your trees ;D

Time is like a river.
You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again.
Enjoy every moment of your life!

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2012, 01:10:06 PM »
Hi Robert & Dawn,
Welcome both to the forum :)

Now down to business ;D Fellow members already shared tips to rehabilitate these sad trees...They sure need to get back on the game ;)
Ruby grapefruit, Lemon and Key lime look great to me 8) 

I would remove the grass manually at 1-1 1/2 meters away from the trunk, amend the soil with cow manure, then mulch on top and water generously 8) Just my opinion...you are boss of your trees ;D

Soil should not be amended with manure as it could burn the roots.  If used, as with any fertiizer, it should be applied to the surface.

Here is some info on application of composted manure on citrus...

http://manatee.ifas.ufl.edu/lawn_and_garden/master-gardener/gardening-manatee-style/c/citrus-care-3-to-5-years-old.pdf
- Rob

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 04:56:11 PM »
Hi Robert & Dawn,
Welcome both to the forum :)

Now down to business ;D Fellow members already shared tips to rehabilitate these sad trees...They sure need to get back on the game ;)
Ruby grapefruit, Lemon and Key lime look great to me 8) 

I would remove the grass manually at 1-1 1/2 meters away from the trunk, amend the soil with cow manure, then mulch on top and water generously 8) Just my opinion...you are boss of your trees ;D

Soil should not be amended with manure as it could burn the roots.  If used, as with any fertiizer, it should be applied to the surface.

Here is some info on application of composted manure on citrus...

http://manatee.ifas.ufl.edu/lawn_and_garden/master-gardener/gardening-manatee-style/c/citrus-care-3-to-5-years-old.pdf


I amend the soil with manure all the time and when planting trees. This organic matter attracts worms, which will make the nutrients available to the tree's roots much faster and the soil will be aerated in the process ;) Cow manure if used excessively will most certainly harm the roots. Just apply the cow manure atleast a foot or two away from the trunk.
Time is like a river.
You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again.
Enjoy every moment of your life!

fyliu

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2012, 05:31:54 PM »
Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.

Grass killer, not weed killer.  Grass killers target specific metabolic pathways only found in grasses and won't hurt any tree except for banana "tree"s.  Examples include Fusilade, Envoy, and Vantage (the problem for bananas is that they're actually in the same as same plant subgroup (the commelinids) as grasses, which is why they grow similarly to their relatives).  Nurseries sometimes spray them right on top of all of their plants to kill any grasses that happen to be lurking therein.
I know what you mean. It's a growth hormone that makes them go crazy and not a toxin. Well it's auxin.

SWRancher

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2012, 06:29:46 PM »
Your "neglected" citrus trees look pretty good. Versus my babied citrus tree that is currently suffering from Citrus leaf miners in most of its new growth... 

Cookie Monster

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2012, 07:07:23 PM »
When done correctly, mulching is actually beneficial to citrus. The problem is that the naive gardener will mulch too close to the trunk, which can lead to collar rot. Therefore, sources will often recommend no mulch on citrus to preclude folks from mulching too close to the trunk.

Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.  Also, putting down plastic as you describe would have its own problems.  One, it would suffocate the same roots you are trying to expose (again, it needs to breathe): and two, the plastic would trap in moisture with no air circulation which again would be harmful to the trees.

Rob,  Richard was quite adamant about NOT mulching citrus.   You may want to ask him about this
Jeff  :-)

bsbullie

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2012, 07:16:38 PM »
When done correctly, mulching is actually beneficial to citrus. The problem is that the naive gardener will mulch too close to the trunk, which can lead to collar rot. Therefore, sources will often recommend no mulch on citrus to preclude folks from mulching too close to the trunk.

Haha... great thread.

Depending on how much of a rush you're into kill the grass, and assuming you don't want to use grass killer (which shouldn't harm any tree except a banana, which isn't actually a tree), you could put down plastic (preferably clear or black) and let the grass bake to death.
Putting down enough weed killer to kill the grass could harm the tree.  Also, putting down plastic as you describe would have its own problems.  One, it would suffocate the same roots you are trying to expose (again, it needs to breathe): and two, the plastic would trap in moisture with no air circulation which again would be harmful to the trees.

Rob,  Richard was quite adamant about NOT mulching citrus.   You may want to ask him about this
Its more than just the rot issue, its suffocating the surface/crown roots.  Really no different than the approach to mango trees.
- Rob

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2012, 07:31:00 PM »
Gonna have to disagree with you on that one. I've given my mango trees copious amounts of mulch over the past several years (hundreds of cubic yards), and my mango trees have never been healthier. I know IFAS isn't always correct, but even they recommend mulching mango trees.

Dr Campbell for a while was recommending no mulch to keep nitrogen down, but last I remember he was extolling the simple growing methods of the Indians, which includes leaf litter / trimmings for mulch.

I suppose if you smothered the tree in 3 feet of mulch, you might see some detriment. But I've dumped it down almost a foot deep with no ill effect.

There are obviously exceptions (eg, if you're growing mangoes in muck soil).

Its more than just the rot issue, its suffocating the surface/crown roots.  Really no different than the approach to mango trees.
Jeff  :-)

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2012, 07:57:22 PM »
Gonna have to disagree with you on that one. I've given my mango trees copious amounts of mulch over the past several years (hundreds of cubic yards), and my mango trees have never been healthier. I know IFAS isn't always correct, but even they recommend mulching mango trees.

Dr Campbell for a while was recommending no mulch to keep nitrogen down, but last I remember he was extolling the simple growing methods of the Indians, which includes leaf litter / trimmings for mulch.

I suppose if you smothered the tree in 3 feet of mulch, you might see some detriment. But I've dumped it down almost a foot deep with no ill effect.

There are obviously exceptions (eg, if you're growing mangoes in muck soil).

Its more than just the rot issue, its suffocating the surface/crown roots.  Really no different than the approach to mango trees.


I am not saying no mulch...I am saying you should leave the area with the crown/surface roots not mulched and of course away from the trunk/graft.  Of course you and everybody else are free to mulch as you will.  Just giving my two pennies on the subject...
- Rob

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2012, 10:23:49 PM »
Jeff hit it right on.

Gene Joyner, Urban Horticulturist, heavily mulched under his citrus trees (and also beyond the drip-line), a foot or more deep, for decades.   He was careful to maintain several inches of airspace around the trunks.
Har

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Re: New house - neglected citrus trees (pics)
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2012, 01:40:52 AM »
MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! MULCH! Why haven't you mulched yet? MULCH!

 

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