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Topics - incubator01

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Citrus General Discussion / pruning or staking very long branches
« on: August 29, 2022, 11:50:36 AM »
So some of my citrus in full ground (greenhouse) have grown a nice umbrella shaped branch structure, which is apparently ideal, but the branches (some of them) are only 20 upwards, so quite horizontal. But they're also very long.
This particular branch just had a new growth flush and autumn is coming so I'm not going to prune it off now, but in general I would like to encourage it to grow this branch a bit more upward.

Either pruning off part of it can help or staking, but since staking is not a good idea (it can damage the branch if done incorrectly or prevent the branch from getting strong enough)

So I'm looking for opinions, tips, best practices.

Reasons why that branch is too long is it is growing outside its allowed borders and penetrating my middle walkway.


last summer I bought a trifoliate orange from oscar tintori, 3 very nice developed plants grown into one huge root crown. The plant was full of small leaves but they sawed (I can still see the saw tooth ridges) some thicker branches to fit in the box.

In autumn it loses it's leaves, which is normal since it's deciduous, but now we're May and it's been getting plenty of sun, it got the usual slow release fertilizer mid march, the branches look green and lush, though some thorns and where it was sawed off have a yellow edge.
There are no signs of new buds, flowers of leaves, there are also no signs of damage or degradation, the branches do not turn brown or do not dry out, so I am confused as to why it isn't doing anything.
It was transplanted in a bigger pot with good soil mix last summer upon arrival, roots were washed out, the plant did not suiffer from this at all, I expected leaf drop but there was nothing, so I was happy to have a strong plant, but now I am wondering if he's adapting to our climate or needs a year to recover from the pruning or something else?

It stayed in my greenhouse in the winter, since it's cold hardy no additional protection was needed.
The only thing that still has leaves is a very young tiny shoot between those 3 plants but that one remains small. Since they're all grown from seed and not grafted , it's not a sucker so removal should not be required.

Citrus General Discussion / large brown spots on kumquat leaves
« on: March 29, 2022, 07:08:33 AM »
I have a very large kumquat tree since last year (spring) and after a few months it started to lose leaves, first green ones, then some started showing brown spots. Despite all this it survived the winter and since its pot was too big anyway I transplanted it into full soil (mixed with peat and pine bark) in my greenhouse since my citrus do better there.
Currently the soil is medium-dry (definitely not wet), I watered it one week ago.

But it is now losing all of its leaves, most with the brown spots.
It's a fortunella reale kumquat grafted on volkamerian rootstock.
Included are images of the leaves, I don't know what this is, overwatering would be weird since I watered sparingly during the winter. At first I thought it was Citrus Alternaria Brown Spot but those spots look different.

Cold Hardy Citrus / yellow branches on poncirus
« on: October 10, 2021, 05:00:34 PM »
So, I am aware the poncirus trifoliate is deciduous and will lose its leaves in autumn, mine is doing so, but some branches on the lower end of the trunk (thin branches) turned completely yellow.
Is this also normal within the deciduous  phase or not? I pruned them off since they were not needed anyway but I haven't watered it in a week, and last week I watered it a bit according to winter regime, my other plants in the same soil do fine so this one's a bit of an oddball.

Citrus General Discussion / repotting a young meyer in september?
« on: September 21, 2021, 08:34:35 AM »
So I am getting a meyer this week, grafted on carizzo rootstock.
I know the soil will contain heavy clay or dark moisture holding soil, thing is, it's already getting a bit colder and citrus are getting dormant here.
Can I still wash out the clay soil from the roots or is this too late in the year for such a stressful act, (its in a 14cm pot so it's still young) and replace the soil with proper draining soil? Or should I leave things until spring and water very little every 2 weeks?

Citrus General Discussion / how to rescue heavily stressed citrus trees?
« on: September 08, 2021, 12:50:41 PM »
So in my previous topic I already mentioned oscar tintori sending me an overwatered pursha, by now it dropped most of its leaves but it's stable.
However their kaffir limes (one in a 20cm pot and one in a 30 cm pot) also had signs of overwatering but not as bad, however after repotting they got so stressed they dropped a lot of leaves and  some fruit and most of their leaves looked weird from the start, kinda like they were malformed.

I did the following when these arrived, unboxed, let them settle in hte shade for a few days, repotted in a half peat half turface soil mix which drains really well and is good aerated, then put it against a wall that has the morning sun only, so they get 6 hours of sun but not the warmer afternoon sun, just about untill 13:00h

however at first it was kinda cloudy anyway so they could easily get used to it. Despite not being hit by hot sun yet, they started dropping a lot of leaves, and I only watered them once until the water started dripping out (happened very soon so that was good), the soil is still moist enough, I fed them like  I was told to but something in these branches looks off, is it me or is this tree afflicted with dying branches? the roots looked fine though, when I washed them out they were light in color.
I know Italy has had a heat wave so I'm aware they must have been under a lot of stress there but I really wish I knew how I can prevent these from dying.
Currently we're having a very hot sunny day so I did put them in the shade because that would do a lot of damage. Misting them with rain water doesn't help in revitalizing the leaves either :(

Especially now that autumn is approaching, they'll become dormant in october/november but if they're not doing well this usually means they won't survive.

I'm kinda at a loss here.
The only plant that is doing extremely well and had no stress at all was the poncirus I ordered from them, didn't drop a single leaf at all and has beautiful branches :3

Citrus General Discussion / reduced quality from purchased plants
« on: August 26, 2021, 01:31:59 PM »
So recently I bought a new Pursha lime and a kaffir lime to replace my old ones, from oscar tintori. Since they usually deliver very nice plants I was dissappointed when I found the pursha in a box with the fruit that fell off , rotting with mold, the leaves curled inside and looking sad, yellowish too (from overwatering), they sprayed the plant with something white dusty because I could wipe it with my fingers from the leaves.
Suffice to say I hope this one makes it because I found a whool lice on it when unboxing and have been treating it.

Then a kaffir lime with a branch that can't hold it's own weight, leaves that look "melted", even found aphids on them one week later, also having leaves that looked yellow and readily came loose.

For them they probably think it's no problem and these plants will get through it but with my misfortune, they're currently planted in a nice mix of 50% universal peat based potting soil, 10% pumice and 40% turface. Drains wonderfully fast and is well aerated. But if a new plant already starts losing leaves when I get it within the first week I get worried :(
Pot size is correct, the pursha was purchased in a 30cm diameter pot and is now in a 40cm diameter pot, they confirmed to me this was no problem. The kaffir is a smaller plant (sold in 22cm diameter pot and repotted into a 30cm pot)
Both plants have light colored healthy looking roots, I washed them out completely to get rid of the clay and garden soil with the hose and their pot size they were sold in was definitely getting too small.
now that autumn is coming, they'll enter hibernation mode soon so that is why I am worried :(

PS: terracotta pots have elevation, I put some rubber feet under them and a mesh over the drainage hole so water can flow away freely.

Citrus General Discussion / germinate seeds in coco coir
« on: August 13, 2021, 10:52:52 AM »
Since coco coir (or coco peat) is used frequently for rooting citrus cuttings, I was wondering if this medium can be used as well to germinate citrus seeds, instead of using traditional seeding soil. The reason I would like to switch is because apparently the coco peat allows for much better root development, aeration etc though once the seedling is developed enough I will repot it in a different mix, I just wanted to know if it is good for germinating seedlings and growing them there the first few (2 - 3) months.

Citrus General Discussion / sunburn from led lights?
« on: August 09, 2021, 05:04:19 PM »
I am trying to identify weather my 3 nagami kumquat seedlings are having sunburn from being 10 - 12h / day under a small LED growlight or if this is from something else.
They are not getting direct sunlight, however they are located near a window made of milk glass, so its completely blurred and milky white, the sunlight is heavily filtered.
The LED light I use is PARUS LED grow light SOL Series (PGL-E18) specs found in english here:

I keep the plants definitely more than 20cm away from the light, when turning the light off at night I spray the plants with a foliar spray sometimes, rainwater other times to maintain moisture levels.
I water with rain water every 2 - 3 days a little bit because these things have tiny roots , the rain water is mixed with an auxine based root booster and once a week I add liquid fertilizer for citrus (planfor citrus , qualifies in most areas)
They're planted in seeding soil that drains very well and also dries out nicely inside.
However the first 3 weeks I had no sign of these burn marks, only since today did I notice it.
Thing is that this happens to every citrus seedling I tried so far, tomato or chili pepper seedlings do not have this problem.
Does anyone have a clue as to what is going on?
Attached are images of each plant.

Citrus General Discussion / new growth drop
« on: August 08, 2021, 02:19:09 PM »
So I have a kumquat in good condition, nice green leaves, that recovered from root problems a few months ago. Since the new growth is looking very healthy I was hoping one day the scion would grow a new second main branch. Eventually it did, I noticed a tiny new bud growing at the bottom, well above the graft union (yes, I was very sure) but after a week just gently touching it made it fall off. Thing is, it's not from overwatering as it's planted in the full soil and in greenhouse, nor is it showing signs of overwatering ( no yellow leaves and no other leaves are dropping either).

I'm wondering if a sudden temperature increase from the sun suddenly being revealed after a few days clouds + rain and my greenhouse windows being at minimal opening to avoid excessive rain from entering (and the 80Km/h winds from destroying everything) may have caused this, even though it has a shade cloth against the window it's located near.
I really thought new growth should be more resistant, how are citrus in warm climates otherwise be able to grow? O.o (temperature in greenhouse was with clouds 23C and without clouds 35C, I have no option for ventilation, I try to open / close windows as timely as possible and yes I know there are automated windows systems, I just didn't take them)

Cold Hardy Citrus / rootstock vs scion cold hardiness
« on: July 16, 2021, 05:30:48 PM »
I bet this will probably be perceived as the most stupid question ever asked, but i kept banging my head over it anyway.
One of my kumquats is grafted on a volkamerian rootstock, which is said to have a low cold hardiness of about -2 C, but the scion is a nagami kumquat and kumquats are sead to be cold hardy to about -7C (give or take, i may be a degree or 2 off but anyway)

My question is, does the scion take the cold hardiness of the rootstock (in this case, would it die at -2C) or do both parts have different temperature tolerances?
With poncirus trifoliate i already know the scion inherits some of the cold hardiness but I don't know how it works when it is the other way around.

and yes I was planning to overwinter it in a semi sheltered environment with frost cloth but it's just to know if I need to equally protect it or add a few layers extra around the rootstock.

I was recommended by several european people to use Mediterranean soil for my citrus as it doesn't dry out too quickly and because the 5-1-1 soil won't work (we don't have the same kind of bark and it starts to compost and do nasty stuff)

I followed a guide from a dutch website  (which I had to purchase, since this pdf is not free) and in that guide they too recommended
- to cover the drainage hole of terracotta pot with something such as a piece of a broken terracotta pot
- add a thin layer of expanded clay pebbles to improve drainage
- use Mediterranean soil mixed with perlite
- water in summer : 1l for plants smaller than 0.5m and 4L for plants bigger than 1m each week (more if theres a heat wave)

turns out the core of the root ball is drying out faster than the soil around it, the soil in the entire container stays too wet so I'd need to wait 2 weeks but despite that root rot still happens.
Granted I am using for some plants pots that are too big, but for 3 I managed to get a pot that was about 5 - 10cm wider (no more than that) so that would be an appropriate upgrade. Yet these are suffering from the same problem too.

In response to these issues I first mixed my soil with a larger amount of perlite (30% or so) but the soil didn't dry out enough.
I started noticing leaf drop (as I posted in some earlier topics) and yellowing / browning branches and that told me root issues,
I repotted all of them and added another 30% pumice (4 - 8mm size was all I could find from a german bonsai shop on amazon :( ) to further improve drainage. While gently removing the root balls out of the soil, I noticed that the size of the root balls of some of them reduced , some even by 50%
I also removed the expanded clay pebbles as others here mentioned they do harm for citrus.
So my questions:
- since my drainage can no longer be improved because I already did what I could, how can I decrease the time for the soil to dry out? (we had a few weeks of hot sun but after that much cloudy and rainy weeks, during rain I place them under a roof outside so the soil doesn't get even more wet.
- watering amount: i know many will say this is difficult to answer, I even looked up a table to calculate how many galllons for the canopy size and that came close to the amount I  found in that PDF but I still think for a freshly bought citrus plant in a 20cm pot dimeter with height of 60cm of plant (as mentioned on the site of oscar tintori) that 1 liter / week is too much. I started giving 0.5 liter but still seems to be too much. soil won't dry. (it feels dry on the top until the first knuckle of my finger and moist below that, never wet or sopping wet, but moist for so long is not good for citrus)
Is is perhaps a better idea to water 250ml with an accurate cup in the center of the root ball / week so it gets less water and should be dry by the next week?
Because, I know many will say "water only when it's dry or when you need to, not at regular intervals" and that's fine for me too but if my plant has root issues from this then I don't agree.

PS: the shards to cove the holes I use are not flat, they allow water to freely leak out, because they're somewhat curved. it's just to prevent the soil from clogging the hole.

Is there anything else I can do? I put them outside in the morning sun as much as possible but right now our summer is awful, the air humidity is high and we need more sun. and if it' not that then we get heat waves for which these young and now stressed plants are unable to withstand.
Side question: I have a pursha that was bought in a 30cm pot, this plant was bigger, but lost half its root ball due to heat wave (40+C in greenhouse) it's still alive but losing a leaf or 2 a day, it's still has a lot of flowers and I was wondering if it's a good idea to remove them so he can concentrate on growing. I don't mind not having fruit next year, I want healthy plants.

Citrus General Discussion / acclimatising newly purchased citrus
« on: June 05, 2021, 06:11:25 AM »
Based on my previous topic of kumquats dropping leaves, and based on the fact that literally every citrus I bought from nurseries (local ones, planfor in France and oscar tintori) , even though they look really good on arrival, they start dropping leaves after some time, not right away but usually several weeks after repotting.

The cause of the leaves falling off are either winds of 15 - 20 km/h -which is not much but citrus do not like wind, and I place them against a wall, and under a roof when wind is heavier)
But lately the sun is sharp. The weather announcement first said day 1  21C, the next day 24C, the next day 28 C. The wall my plants stand against get morning sun (the sun  rises here around  7 AM but due to neighbours, my plants only get it around 08:30 AM) and the sun disappears from my plants at 14:00 (give or take). However these last 2 hours were apparently a bit too much on the hottest day, most plants held up well, except some including the kumquat which I found weird as its supposed to handle heat.

Now, I don't want this to be a duplicate of the other thread, so mainly I wanted to ask here, is it required, common or best practice to "acclimatise" nursery bought citrus?
And how would I best do this? Especially in the future then I have to go back to work so I can't keep moving them around every hour.

Citrus General Discussion / weird kumquat leaf drop issue
« on: May 26, 2021, 12:35:03 PM »
So I bought 2 kumquats from oscar tintori a few months ago, one with a short thick rootstock  and one with a half-stock (alemow) rootstock.
At first they were fine but not long after (say about 2 wees later or so) the first one started dropping a leaf a day, sometimes 2 or 3.
When the second arrived, same thing happened.

Now after 3 months, the first one is almost bald, it has many new growth, new stem and leaf shoots (above the graft) but even the leaves and once a whole new tiny branch fell off.

In the beginning when they just lost a few leaves it seemed obvious it was due to the wind, our climate was also colder than it should be, so I moved them into the greenhouse.
Since they're nagami kumuats they should handle 38+ C (this season it hasn't even gotten that hot yet inside there).
To aerate the greenhouse I do open the windows but when there's heavy wind they're only a bit open, when there's less wind but sun I open them medium and when there's a lot of sun but low/no wind I open them fully.

Weather surprised us sometimes so again I thought some of the new growth could have blown off from wind gusts, but it's getting calmer, less wind and I see the new kumquat dropping more leaves, even fruits and new growth too just like the first one. The first one who is almost bald seems to have stopped dropping stuff.

Since I do not see any visible pests right now and I did spray them a few times before when I saw pests on other citrus I exclude this from the list of possibilities.
There's no sign of leaf miner.
The first kumquat has perfectly dark green healthy leaves (which he dropped) and the second one has that too but a part of them are curled down (seems they grown this way because they're very hard) and have yellow edges, as if they watered it too much (it was like this on arrival) or nutrient deficiency.
I'm giving a fixed proper watering schedule and feeding them properly too (except that I gave them some CaMg a few times before I knew that was not good for citrus).

In any case the strange thing is that only those 2 kumquats are affected, other citrus nearby (shikuwasa, mediteranean sweet lime, kaffir lime) are unaffected. while they stand right next to them.

And yes, container size is too big, I know, but there is no sign of root rot. I feel deep in the ground before I water and it never felt moist when I had to nor did it smell like fungus.

The first kumquat (that is almost bald) did have pests in the beginning though because I found orange resin on a branch that was pruned by the seller, I was able to scrape it off because this stuff attracts ants. Afterwards I applied a mixture of neem oil with brown soap once a week for 2 times and I always did the other one too.

Cold Hardy Citrus / kumquat seedlings cold hardyness
« on: April 07, 2021, 01:58:14 PM »
I have some very nicely growing kumquat seedlings (the standard kumquat, not meiwa or anything else peculiar).
I would like to know if anyone knows how different in cold hardiness they are compared to the grafted ones.
I will keep these in containers of course and place them in a greenhouse in the winter but if they're not as cold tolerant as their grafted comrades then I must place them in a warmer location.

Speaking of which, perhaps not related on this topic but if I have to keep these in a warmer location, I want to make a air humidifier by putting expanded clay grains in a terracotta dish, soak the grains in water except for the top layer and place my seedling container on top of that (so it won't get wet). The purpouse is that the wetness in these expanded clay grains would evaporate. Has this been done before and does it work or am I doing a fool's errand?

Cold Hardy Citrus / cold hardy citrus in full soil in greenhouse
« on: February 21, 2021, 08:42:23 AM »
I'm getting a Kumquat and shikuwasa soon because they're cold hardy for our winters and I don't have to worry too much about the plant dying from the cold (though I will protect it) but I prefer to plant these in full soil, not in containers in the greenhouse (because that's where I can plant whatever i want).
My question is, will such citrus survive warmer summers? Often I have potted citrus that get dried out leaves when the sun shines and the temperature rises above 32 C, even during heat waves inside the greenhouse it gets to 50 C.
The greenhouse is 4.5m long, 3m wide and 2.7m high, the sunny side has a shade cloth because the whole thing gets plenty of sun light anyway and has 4 windows and a double door. Naturally I open up everything completely when temps rise above 25 C but I just want to make sure that I'm not making a stupid decision of planting these in the greenhouse.
As to why I want them in full soil:
- I prefer to limit the  citrus in containers
- Full soil has better moisture management and root development for long term
- no need to hassle with giant containers in the later phases.

Citrus General Discussion / problems with grafted citrus trees
« on: September 17, 2020, 01:01:40 PM »

For 2 years now I am tirelessly trying to keep citrus trees alive, but so far I managed to kill 8 already :(
I buy grafted trees which are probably no older than 2 years from a local vendor who sells exotic plants, he gets them from growers in sicily, Italy.
I bought Kaffir limes, Key limes, persian limes and limequats and from other sellers I bought cuttings of kaffir lime and persian lime.

The internet is full of different kinds of information which is very contradictional and caused much grief.
First trial was with a kaffir lime put in purchased potting mix for citrus plants, the plant was grafted and eventually died from rootrot and armoured scale.
Because people said this kind of soil was not good I found a Dutch site describing to use 50% white sand and 50% compost, but that soil instantly killed the next 2 plants because that soil did not drain at all and remained very wet for weeks.
Third trial was with another Kaffir lime and Key lime using a potting mix of equal parts of perlite, vermiculite and coco peat or peat moss (but I prefer coco peat), that soil appeared to be needed in very hot climates such as South california but definitely not in central Europe, soil stayed too wet because the vermiculite retained moisture too well, but it did drain much better.
However, plants died after a few weeks.
Note that in the second and third trial I washed the old soil off the roots with water, probably this also stressed the plants too much.

Last test I re-used the soil from the vendor's pots and added a bit fresh potting mix and compost, so basically the composition was: equal parts of potting mix (universal), regular soil with sandy structure and I added perlite to improve aeration.
This time I did not wash the old soil on the roots and just loosened the roots on the edge of the root crown, left the soil on the rest so stress would be minimal.
I put it in a pot that was 10cm bigger (wider and higher) than the previous one.
After one week the kaffir lime and persian lime dropped all leafs, some branches turned brown, even though I reduced my watering regime.
I let them dry out (not fatally) and give it little bits of water once a week, then they start to grow new foliage, but more branches die off.
Weeks later the new foliage is nice and big, suddenly the plant stops growing, new buds wither and turn brown, some tiny green leafs fall off.

In  the meantime I also got a limequat, repotted it the same way, it was fine for 3 weeks, then suddenly one day when I was supposed to water it, 90% of its leafs were dried out and fell off. Some healthy ones too for unknown reason.
The food I give them is Floranid Twin Permanent with NPK of 16-7-15, which turns out to be the best slow release fertiliser compared to all other liquid ones I tried.
There were no aphids/scale present on any of the plants.

To this end I am slowly to the point of breaking down and giving up on these grafted horrors. I know growing from seeds is not done in commercial  areas because of viruses passing on but germinating lime seeds is more successful than keeping those trees alive...

But regardless I wanted to find out if there's anything different I can do.
As for the location: 2 years ago I put them outside, that tree could withstand bright sunlight, until I repotted it. After many attempts to get the information out of the vendor, I now put it in my greenhouse (where it's warmer) where there is a shade cloth to protect the limes from burning sun. The roof of the greenhouse has partially filtered glass so no bright sunlight can get in. The vendor told me he put them in there too with similar conditions, even when it was very hot.
So it is sheltered from wind there and gets filtered sunlight, protected from the western sun.

Attached are pictures from a kaffir lime, persian lime and limequat as they are right now.
-> Kaffir lime

-> Persian lime

-> limequat

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