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Author Topic: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?  (Read 1265 times)

ExpertPruning.com

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Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« on: December 15, 2017, 06:13:22 AM »
I have loads of woodchips ready to go, I just don't know if I can overdo the mulching.

How much is too much mulch?

fyliu

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 03:05:21 PM »
3 2 ft might be too much.
1 ft is okay. In hot desert areas, 18 inches is good, from what I've heard. Most people do 8 inches or less. I do 3 inches because I'm lazy.

When I go into the mountains for mushrooms, the thicker areas have over a foot of fallen leaves.

EDIT: Oh, you said citrus. I've heard in the past, people discourage mulching citrus.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 04:01:02 PM by fyliu »

Millet

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 09:53:44 PM »
Mulching under a citrus tree is both good and bad. Clean organic material can be applied around trees for erosion control in the area of the sprinkler pattern.  Mulching 2 to 4 inches deep reduces weed growth, conserves moisture, and improves soil tilth.  Do not incorporate the mulch into the soil.  Mulch must be kept about 8 inches away from the trunk to avoid wetting the lower trunk for long periods of time.  Mulch laid against the trunk has been known to increase the infection rate of Phytophthora gummosis and other trunk diseases.  The presence of mulches on the orchard floor can interfere with heat transfer from the soil to the tree which is especially important during frost events. Recent research in a Kern County orchard during a frost episode where a thick layer of shredded orchard prunings was present on the orchard floor demonstrated that lower nighttime temperatures occurred in the mulch areas than in areas free of mulch.  Mulch free soil releases more heat to protect the tree during frost events.   All things considered if it was my citrus tree I would refrain from using mulch, and keep the soil under the tree free of all vegetation.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 09:59:52 PM by Millet »

Bush2Beach

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2017, 12:07:33 PM »
"Mulch must be kept about 8 inches away from the trunk to avoid wetting the lower trunk for long periods of time."

This language makes me think you pulled this text from somewhere. It almost seems like industry propaganda related to mandatory mono cropping scorched earth farming.
I have found it to be completely untrue in my experience. Mulch away , as much as you can get , and build up that healthy soil, your tree's and water bill will thank you.











Millet

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2017, 01:19:05 PM »
Bush2Bush, your ideas are always welcome on this forum, as normally there is more than one right way to accomplish an objective.  I would just say what you call "industry propaganda" most people call good advice obtained through research and years of growing.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2017, 04:10:30 PM by Millet »

Bush2Beach

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2017, 01:26:49 PM »
I am sharing my experience of growing fruits and working with nature, not blowing smoke or pontificating on an idea that may or may not work well. The earth is under tremendous pressure from humans and working with nature and supporting those idea's is paramount.
The quicker more profitable route is the idea supported the most by industry . Monocrop a large square of land , "fertilize" with petroleum byproducts , "spray" with more industrial chemical byproducts, cause the earth to actually sink from overpumping water from the aquifer and attempt to guilt trip sheeple with huge billboards that proclaim "NO Farmers, NO food".
Industry inherently chooses profit margin as the correct way to accomplish an objective.  Yeah, it's BS industry propaganda that is absolutely one of many ways to do it. I think its minimizing and belittling to let me know my idea's are always welcome. I believe that is inferred in the open information sharing format of this forum. Ive been posting my experience and opinion on citrus here since before your moderator/gatekeeper status was given, you implying that your offering permission of my posts is off putting and at least a little comical.


This years mulch is next years soil.

Tom

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2017, 03:07:18 PM »
Bush2Beach, the question was ‘can you overmulch Citrus in San Diego?’ From Millet’s answer I think it is possible to over mulch to the detriment of your trees. I read your comments (a rant perhaps ) several times and I’m guessing that it is your opinion that it’s impossible to overmulch in San Diego. That is a statement of absolute that is not defendable by any know research. That would be like saying apples are always red , which is false by the way but might be what you believe.

The way I read your post, most of your comments are attacks and absolutes. They are also unproven as best I can see. They are your opinion but not based on any research that I am familiar with.  Perhaps you would find that a more kind and more gentle approach might be more appreciated by other people.

As far as the answer to the original question,’ can you overmulch in San Diego ? ‘ With no formal training I know 1 aspirin can be very good for you once a day but 7 aspirin once a week is not so good. A warning would need to be added that some people can be allergic to aspirin and they should avoid aspirin and aspirin like products.

My grands just walked in so I guess my rant has been long enough.

Millet , thank you for your answer to the mulch question.

Tom
« Last Edit: December 18, 2017, 03:42:37 PM by Tom »

fyliu

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2017, 07:04:19 PM »
Thanks for the explanation. I wonder if some other warm weather evergreens will be able to tolerate cold weather by not mulching under them.

Citradia

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2017, 09:51:27 PM »
I've learned somewhere that a layer of mulch can help insulate the soil in winter to help keep ground from freezing. I learned at one of the southeast citrus expos that different soil types hold and release heat during freezes at different rates/amounts. Maybe the question of to mulch or not to mulch is a multifaceted one: citrus roots are shallow, so if I'm in zone 6b and growing citrumelo, will mulch help keep the roots from freezing?  We also learned this year at expo that it's important to have soil moisture during a freeze, so if I'm growing citrus on a dry sandy slope in zone 6b, the mulch helps reduce erosion and hold moisture in soil. My citranges on a slope didn't start growing this summer until I mulched around them and watered them. Mulch or no mulch won't save my satsumas; I have to cover them in winter anyway. We know citrus leaves and branches and trunks don't like to freeze; I wonder how much and how deep the ground can freeze before roots die.

Jct

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2017, 10:50:09 AM »
In San Diego, many areas have a thick layer of clay not too far down under what we sometimes over-enthusiastically call topsoil.  I just about killed a Valencia orange tree a couple of years ago.  One of my theories is that the hole I dug did not drain adequately due to the clay soil and the tree did not thrive (or it could be just to ineptitude).  Heavily mulching would make the problem worse. At least one local nursery does not recommend mulching around citrus at all.
The tree is coming back, but I had to dig it up and pot it up.  Once its recovered, I'll have to find a new place for it in the ground, but ensure that the drainage is better.
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Bush2Beach

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2017, 02:42:49 AM »
Hi Tom,
I appreciate your well worded response. Articulating words into something beautiful and easily consumable is not my area of expertise , making it harder to share what I've learned.
You indeed did read a rant against mono crop agricultural practices which stems from my perception of most of Millet's post which seem straight from whatever Lobby group exists within the Citrus industry instead of someone that grows Citrus.
There's over 10,000 variety of apple's  common sense, logic and other descriptive words make it obvious they're not all red.
San Diego is the Desert, recieves very little annual rainfall and is commonly in the 90's or 100 inland with winds that dry things out quickly .
Asides from experience or research that I've had or read , thankfully farming common sense can prevail and let us know that if we want to build up more soil and keep water on the root zone longer we should mulch. Water is often very expensive....we should mulch more....wait the roots of Citrus grow towards the surface, yeah let's definitely leave that barren and baking in 100 degree low humidity weather .

You know that feeling when you visit a farm and see someone doing it right, exceptionally dialing in their zone to complement the natural flow of the land and the tree's really healthy and productive ? These are the moments I look around and take in as much as possible . This is my research paper I'm reading , how to take those practices home and incorporate that knowledge to my growing zones and plantings .

You are wise. A kind and gentle approach is *almost always best when sharing knowledge or teaching. I say *almost because I think of one of my hero's Alan Chadwick who is credited with bringing the Organic farming movement to California in 1968. He was by all accounts quite the personality who was prone to angry outbursts some could not handle. He had served in WW2 and was a professional Shakespearean thespian prior to that. I bring this up because he worked 12 hours a day with a pick and shovel and created the most amazing garden on a couple acres of Rocky nothing. Possibly PTSD therapy but students at the college where he was asked to start a garden were drawn in to what he has doing because of what he was doing and who he was. His emotional outbursts was often breaking down how humans were screwing up the earth for material gains and we should be giving back to the earth and helping to leave the soil and earth better than when we found it. So yes, the scorched  earth farming method fuels my rants. BS rape the earth agriculture mentality  to make a buck. It's so obviously prevalent worldwide .
So back to the question at hand . If my absolutes and "attacks" don't move the dial then go visit a farm in SD with Citrus tree's that are heavily mulched , and visit one that is not mulched and see the difference or do an experiment heavily mulching 1 of your citrus tree's and not the other.
Whatever "opinion " I take time to share will not come marketed like a cutie or packed in a pretty box and that may be a turn off . I well overstand that.



quote author=Tom link=topic=26249.msg305344#msg305344 date=1513627638]
Bush2Beach, the question was ‘can you overmulch Citrus in San Diego?’ From Millet’s answer I think it is possible to over mulch to the detriment of your trees. I read your comments (a rant perhaps ) several times and I’m guessing that it is your opinion that it’s impossible to overmulch in San Diego. That is a statement of absolute that is not defendable by any know research. That would be like saying apples are always red , which is false by the way but might be what you believe.

The way I read your post, most of your comments are attacks and absolutes. They are also unproven as best I can see. They are your opinion but not based on any research that I am familiar with.  Perhaps you would find that a more kind and more gentle approach might be more appreciated by other people.

As far as the answer to the original question,’ can you overmulch in San Diego ? ‘ With no formal training I know 1 aspirin can be very good for you once a day but 7 aspirin once a week is not so good. A warning would need to be added that some people can be allergic to aspirin and they should avoid aspirin and aspirin like products.

My grands just walked in so I guess my rant has been long enough.

Millet , thank you for your answer to the mulch question.

Tom
[/quote]

Ilya11

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2017, 09:13:42 AM »
Bush2Beach,
If you care for the Earth, you should not disturb a desert at all. :'(
Best regards,
                       Ilya

Coach62

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2017, 10:26:07 AM »
Mulching under a citrus tree is both good and bad. Clean organic material can be applied around trees for erosion control in the area of the sprinkler pattern.  Mulching 2 to 4 inches deep reduces weed growth, conserves moisture, and improves soil tilth.  Do not incorporate the mulch into the soil.  Mulch must be kept about 8 inches away from the trunk to avoid wetting the lower trunk for long periods of time.  Mulch laid against the trunk has been known to increase the infection rate of Phytophthora gummosis and other trunk diseases.  The presence of mulches on the orchard floor can interfere with heat transfer from the soil to the tree which is especially important during frost events. Recent research in a Kern County orchard during a frost episode where a thick layer of shredded orchard prunings was present on the orchard floor demonstrated that lower nighttime temperatures occurred in the mulch areas than in areas free of mulch.  Mulch free soil releases more heat to protect the tree during frost events.   All things considered if it was my citrus tree I would refrain from using mulch, and keep the soil under the tree free of all vegetation.

Millet, what is your thought on mulching in SW FL?   As you probably know, we have several months where it rains pretty much every day, followed by a few months of no rain. If it makes a difference I don't have true soil I basically have beach sand.  Thanks in advance

Millet

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2017, 12:12:12 PM »
For mulching under a citrus tree, there is somewhat of a difference for a residential tree and a commercial tree.  As sandy as the soil is in Florida the water is very quickly absorbed into the soil, and quickly drops below most of the tree's root system.  A mulch in your particular growing conditions might help keep the soil wetter longer in your area  Still keep all mulch approximately 8 inches away from the trunk.

Coach62

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2017, 04:22:35 PM »
Thank you, I just would prefer mulch to Roundup.

Citradia

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2017, 09:36:42 PM »
I grew up in southwest FL, Manatee county to be exact, and we and my grandparents and pretty much everyone had citrus somewhere in our yards, and guess what? We were lazy as heck! We did do special fertilizers, or water the yard unless in a drought, we didn't prune fruit trees ( citrus), we didn't spray fruit trees ( ever, never), and we sure as heck didn't mulch around trees. We had sandy ground and mouldy fruit under our trees and no grass under them because grass don't grow in FL unless you take care of it and sure don't grow well under trees. A lot of our fruit trees were under huge live oaks with scanty grass growth unless the creeping St Augustine shade-loving grass was planted there. We planted some citrus in the back forty once where all the scrub had been removed so full sun on white sand, and we mixed organic matter and black cow and black top soil into each planting site and made a berm around each tree to help hold water, but didn't use mulch, and they did fine. We mulched in flower beds though. Citrus was easy in Bradenton and Palmetto until this greening mess.

Greg A

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2017, 10:13:55 PM »
Bush2beach,

I am in San Diego county and my experiences align with your perspective on mulching for the most part. I've never seen a citrus grove that adds much around here though. They don't remove leaves, but neither do they truck in wood chips, for example. When I've asked they say they know it's a good thing but it's too expensive.  I'm wondering if you can guide me to a commercial grove that mulches in our area. I'd like to check it out.
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Tom

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2017, 11:27:33 PM »
The official position of master gardeners in central AL for treating problem soils that are too sandy or too much clay is the same. Mulch. as much as possible. The original question was ‘can you mulch citrus too much in San Diego’. I believe huge amounts of mulch all at one time could be too much as described by Millet above. Citrus does not seem to like the heavy black belt alkaline soils that run through central AL. Citrus does better in sandy more acidic soils. No doubt a sandy loam is best and hard to beat. Tom

Bush2Beach

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2017, 01:06:48 PM »
Jct, Im very familiar with the thick clay layer. you could probably "fire" the blue and grey clay that is available less than 2 feet deep in my yard. I dug down 18 to 22 inches during the height of the drought in September 2016 and had standing water. This is detrimental to my in ground Citrus plantings but lots of truckloads of mulch has helped quite a bit. My advice is always to play with the free technology and learn, so mulch 1 Citrus in your yard but not the other and see how they're growing comparitively after 1 year.

Ilya, No doubt. Full respect. I don't live or grow in the desert, just giving advice from plantings i've seen and how mulching has improved my world. Anything is better than poisoning the earth however.

Millet, "As sandy as the soil is in Florida"?? Ive only been to Florida once but by all accounts Ive read from other fruit growers on this forum it"s usually muck soil. The only sandy growing area i heard about in FL is West Palm Beach where the Mango's grow great for that reason.

Greg, Thats one of the problems with large commercial groves. They know it's beneficial but aren't doing it why? My guess is labor intensive because wood chips can usually be found free without too much work. They'd rather take the lowest common denominator and RoundDown followed by chemical pellets. Its probably thought of as just too much work for not enough gain . I cant think off hand of a commercial grove there that mulches , also I usually visit smaller mom and pop family farms. My baseline for Citrus growing has been the CRFG tour of Gene Lester's grove of 250 citrus varieties. Theres plenty of articles out there about it to google.


Millet

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2017, 04:09:43 PM »
Bush2Beach as stated in Coach62 post his land is pure sand.  Much of Florida is nothing but sea shells and sand.  I would add this thought, organic or conventional fertilizer, nitrogen is nitrogen is nitrogen is nitrogen. In other words, organic nitrogen and conventional nitrogen is exactly the same element.

pineislander

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2017, 06:19:31 PM »
Millet, "As sandy as the soil is in Florida"?? Ive only been to Florida once but by all accounts Ive read from other fruit growers on this forum it"s usually muck soil. The only sandy growing area i heard about in FL is West Palm Beach where the Mango's grow great for that reason.


Not really. This is the most common soil in Florida, the "Florida State Soil":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myakka_(soil)
This is an overview of Florida Soils. As for  areas capable of tropical fruits, the sandy, muck and limerock soils predominate.
http://www.sfrc.ufl.edu/extension/florida_forestry_information/forest_resources/soils_overview.html
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 06:23:20 PM by pineislander »

Coach62

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Re: Can you overmulch citrus in San Diego?
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2017, 08:51:28 PM »
Thank you for your replies, the above to replies are correct.  ROUGHLY - From Gainesville south, is more or less pure sand with very little organic material in the top 5" or so.  Central FL can be different, the coasts are ALWAYS nearly pure sand with very little nutrients.  The water table from Orlando south can be 3' below grade at times.  Proper fertilization can be very difficult.

As far as neglecting trees, around here there are several orchards that have been abandoned while for sale for development.  The trees VERY quickly begin to die, it's actually quite sad.

 

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