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Author Topic: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?  (Read 194 times)

Tom in Philadelphia

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Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« on: April 15, 2017, 07:17:42 PM »
I have a friend that is moving there, and I wanted to let them know what they may be able to grow there. The avg annual lowest temp in Austin over the last 30 years is 22F (Camp Mabry) closer to town. However, I noticed that in 2011 they stayed below freezing for two straight days with high temps in the 20'sF and a low of 17F. That is some wicked freeze duration.

So, I'm thinking citrus is out of the question in Austin, but thought I would check here.

Thanks.

Tom

manfromyard

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2017, 08:37:38 PM »
There are people on other boards that grow hardy Citrus in Dallas, so Austin can easily grow citrus. It would be probably best to try the more cold hardy mainstream citrus like Kumquats, Satsumas, Meyer Lemons etc. Oranges and Grapefruits are probably risking heartbreak...

Citradia

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2017, 10:22:03 PM »
Citranges and Ichang lemons and Changsha should be easy to grow in temps like that I presume with little to no protection.

DFWCitrus

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2017, 10:54:33 PM »
Austin is hill country and has better soil composition and drainage properties for citrus than North Texas. A mature Satsuma, especially Seto and possibly Arctic Frost, should survive fine with covering during rare extreme cold events. Key word - mature!

There are some members here growing citrus near to Austin. I am in Dallas, and my first year here this past year my in the ground Satsumas were badly damaged from 2 nights of 16oF and high winds when is it was 72oF the same day.

Larry

mrtexas

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2017, 11:04:52 PM »
Austin is hill country and has better soil composition and drainage properties for citrus than North Texas. A mature Satsuma, especially Seto and possibly Arctic Frost, should survive fine with covering during rare extreme cold events. Key word - mature!

There are some members here growing citrus near to Austin. I am in Dallas, and my first year here this past year my in the ground Satsumas were badly damaged from 2 nights of 16oF and high winds when is it was 72oF the same day.

Larry

Better than DFW is not saying much. The soil in Austin is limestone rock. Citrus like neutral to acidic soil so make a raised bed. Plant a satsuma, the most cold hardy of citrus and the fruit is excellent. Cover and heat during the worst freezes and bank the trunk with dirt. Stay away from so called "cold hardy" citrus as they don't taste as good as a satsuma.

vlan1

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2017, 11:24:19 AM »
Make sure your friend buys stuff that is labeled as "dwarf" meaning its on flying dragon rootstock.

My ROT orange planted next to the house and wrapped up died when we got to 22 for two nights depsite being called a "hardy orange"
So did my Ponkan Tangerine.

My persian lime on Flying dragon on dwarf rootstock?
I was aggrevated with it so i purposely left it  out back uncovered.  All it did was defoliate and about 3-4" of branches got burned. I was totally shocked.  But thats how much of a difference flying dragon makes.

mrtexas

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2017, 12:14:53 PM »
Make sure your friend buys stuff that is labeled as "dwarf" meaning its on flying dragon rootstock.

My ROT orange planted next to the house and wrapped up died when we got to 22 for two nights depsite being called a "hardy orange"
So did my Ponkan Tangerine.

My persian lime on Flying dragon on dwarf rootstock?
I was aggrevated with it so i purposely left it  out back uncovered.  All it did was defoliate and about 3-4" of branches got burned. I was totally shocked.  But thats how much of a difference flying dragon makes.

Your dead trees were likely on carizo. The growers are using carizo as it grows a large tree quickly. Down side is it is not cold hardy.

vlan1

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2017, 08:37:17 PM »
Oh I know they were.  All were from Brazos who unless it says "dwarf"  means most likely Carrizo. 

vlan1

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2017, 08:38:43 PM »
Another thing lots of people forget is kumquats.  My Meiwa was left out unprotected this winter in the same cold snap that killed my two in ground citrus and it didn't even get leaf burn.

Isaac-1

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2017, 11:29:35 PM »
Growing citrus in zone 8b can be done if the grower is willing to provide freeze protection (covering, old style large bulb christmas lights, etc.) during hard freezes.  The trick to being successful is to plant in a sheltered location by a south wall, cover and protect whenever there is a CHANCE of a hard freeze even if the forecast is calling for a low of 28-29,  too often the actual low is 8-10 degrees below the forecast temperature, and all it takes is to skip the covering one time, particularly in the first few years and you can loose the tree.  Combine this with a cold hardy citrus like Satsumas for the best results, but even less cold hardy varieties can survive if you are willing to stay on top of the freeze protection, which may include having a standby generator in case of winter storm power outages.

Teh1916

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2017, 10:58:50 AM »
Make sure your friend buys stuff that is labeled as "dwarf" meaning its on flying dragon rootstock.

My ROT orange planted next to the house and wrapped up died when we got to 22 for two nights depsite being called a "hardy orange"
So did my Ponkan Tangerine.

My persian lime on Flying dragon on dwarf rootstock?
I was aggrevated with it so i purposely left it  out back uncovered.  All it did was defoliate and about 3-4" of branches got burned. I was totally shocked.  But thats how much of a difference flying dragon makes.

Wow I'm surprised 22F killed a Ponkan and an orange? Was it very warm beforehand? Maybe the trees weren't really dormant. I know that in Monroe, LA a ponkan and satsuma were both unprotect and got hit with 12F while the owner was away. They survived without barely dropping a leaf. Even the hamlin survived with some branch dieback and defoliation.


Teh1916

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Re: Can citrus be grown in Austin, TX?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2017, 11:19:59 AM »
Growing citrus in zone 8b can be done if the grower is willing to provide freeze protection (covering, old style large bulb christmas lights, etc.) during hard freezes.  The trick to being successful is to plant in a sheltered location by a south wall, cover and protect whenever there is a CHANCE of a hard freeze even if the forecast is calling for a low of 28-29,  too often the actual low is 8-10 degrees below the forecast temperature, and all it takes is to skip the covering one time, particularly in the first few years and you can loose the tree.  Combine this with a cold hardy citrus like Satsumas for the best results, but even less cold hardy varieties can survive if you are willing to stay on top of the freeze protection, which may include having a standby generator in case of winter storm power outages.

Two different folks I know of grow satsuma's and other oranges that were hit with 13F and 12F and 40 or more hours below freezing and they were fine unprotected. This is in Monroe, LA and Augusta, GA in 2014. I saw pics of the trees and some of them in person in 2016. Ponkan and Satsuma in Monroe didn't skip a beat and the hamlin had some branch and twig dieback. The Washington Navel died but was small and not in the ground long enough. The hamlin came back bigger and stronger since. In Augusta Seville oranges suffered some major damage but came back. Satsuma's and tangerines no damage.

I think the key is the trees getting more mature and developing cold hardiness. I think the same trees in Florida died in the 1980's from temps much warmer cause the preceding weather was far too warm.

Austin seems very warm in the Fall and even sometimes in winter and then subject to freak really cold outbreaks like 2011, whereas Augusta and Monroe have colder Fall nights and colder daytime high temps that get better dormancy.

Is your location warmer on average than Monroe or Augusta? Maybe where you are is too warm in the Fall and they don't get as cold hardy as in Augusta or Monroe.

Also, what do you do when the trees gets so large you can't protect it anymore? Beaufort SC is zone 8b and I saw huge orange and grapefruit trees that I doubt get any protection at all.

 

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