Author Topic: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?  (Read 13860 times)

puglvr1

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Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« on: March 19, 2014, 04:08:54 PM »
There seems to to be a line down the middle when it comes to mulching Citrus trees...I've called nurseries and a couple of small Citrus groves and some say its okay to mulch as long as its a few inches away from the trunk while others say absolutely no mulch on Citrus since it can suffocate the finer roots on top...

What do you guys do with your backyard Citrus...I'm talking about young trees that do not have large enough canopy to shade the roots below the tree...from newly planted to about 4 years or so...

Would you mulch something like this...

Thanks!!


Doug

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2014, 06:22:29 PM »

I've raised citrus both in Florida and in two locations in Costa Rica. I have always had very good production from very healthy trees. I've never mulched the trees, but I let the grass or whatever grow right up to the trunks without any problems. Maybe there's some sort of problems with mulching when you're trying to grow commercially. I don't know.

jbaqai

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2014, 11:12:26 PM »

I have been raising citrus in wine barrel , and been using small gravel instead of mulch

That serve two purpose , one keep the soil breathing , plus keep the weeds and stuff away from the trunk

Added bonus is to provide heat and reflected light for the cooler Northern California climates

Plus it's look really nice

bangkok

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2014, 11:29:03 PM »
I also have been searching a lot on internet about growing citrus and my conclusion was that there are many ways to grow it. Experts advices are very contradicting.

Why do you want to mulch? To keep weeds at bay or for the extra nutrients/soil life? Keep the soil temp. down?

I grow a pomelo in a big pot in full sun and also orange navel and tahiti lime together in another pot.

I used compost/sand/spaghnum as a soil and mulch them with coffee or leaves or anything organic. Water 2 times a day even in rainingseason and they do fine.The pot is not shaded and gets very hot in the sun all day. I also fertilize them a lot but in small quantity's.

If your soil is clay or doesn't have much nutrients i would mulch. Coffee moulds easy but i didn't see any problems from it, also i don't keep it away from the stem.

val

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2014, 11:35:26 PM »
Family and friends who are in the citrus industry insist on never mulching as previous post states. No weeds either. Mine are  on a hillside so I have to check a few times a year to make sure that sand does not pile up. That happened once but I caught it before too much damage was done but there was some rotting.  Good growing!

zands

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2014, 07:34:44 AM »
FWIW

I have some citrus in pots. The potting soil is 100% wood chips (same as used for mulch) that have rotted a bit so they are black.  Not fresh wood chip mulch out of Home Depot that looks so nice. So far it is working out for a lime, Meyer lemon and grapefruit. I have maturing fruit on all three.

Wood chips will be slightly acidic so I figure citrus will like this as a growing medium

My yards soil is too too alkaline. Citrus trees have never worked out in it. So now its only in pots for me

bangkok

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2014, 07:37:16 AM »
I don't understand why nobody here grows pomelo. They are delicious and huge.

Luisport

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2014, 08:21:31 AM »
I don't understand why nobody here grows pomelo. They are delicious and huge.
They are not acid?

natsgarden123

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2014, 09:12:32 AM »
I don't understand why nobody here grows pomelo. They are delicious and huge.
They are not acid?

just the opposite - wonderful fruit

citrus - very little much,  quite far away from the trunk, seems to be the consensus ( this has benn asked before)

Luisport

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2014, 09:43:13 AM »
I don't understand why nobody here grows pomelo. They are delicious and huge.
They are not acid?

just the opposite - wonderful fruit

citrus - very little much,  quite far away from the trunk, seems to be the consensus ( this has benn asked before)
Infortunately we don't have sweet pomelo var here... only the acid one.

Bush2Beach

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 01:50:32 PM »
I am surprised by the no mulch consensus so far. All the happiest , healthiest citrus trees I see from my yard to the citrus collector with over 200 varieties has as much wood chip mulch piled up as possible, as deep as possible and right up to the trunk. Citrus are acid living plants and thrive from any mulch I put on from redwood to oak to Eucalyptus! I dunno, that's what I see. Citrus guru around here says fertilize once a month with 30-10-10 azalea and rhody fert.

Central Floridave

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2014, 02:12:15 PM »
I mulch my citrus and let weeds grow under them.  I try to keep the weeds cut back but sometimes I get lazy.

I get tons of fruit also.   All my citrus is healthy and in heavy bloom currently. 

I don't have a sprinkler system and never water my trees (unless newly planted). 

I think you get into problems when the roots stay moist 24/7, but I don't have that problem since I never water. 

For commercial growers, yes never mulch.  They typically have water fed to the trees anyway.   Homeowners, I would say yes, mulch.

Once trees can shade their own roots then mulching is probably less important.   But for young citrus I say mulch.   The benefits outweigh the cons in my opinion.  Mulch out past the drip line on a young citrus will allow adventurous roots to go there.  No expert on nematodes but I think the mulch helps lower their numbers. 

Also, yes, good advice to keep weeds away also.  But, not 100 percent necessary.   One thing to avoid, and is common sense, is to keep grass from growing up the trunk.    Weed Wacker newbees like to cut the trunk with the grass. 




bangkok

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2014, 08:30:04 AM »
There are sour pomelo's but also very nice ones who are tangy/sweet. In Thailand they are sold everywhere and if the Thai love it then it must be sweet.

I don't know how they can grow the sour ones, maybe they were picked to early or a bad cultivar. Pomelo's like a lot of water, i read somewhere that an adult tree with fruit in summer drinks 500 litre a day.

Also there is a big difference with fruitfarms and backyardstree's. Locals (in dry provinces) don't have much water and also don't want to pay for 500 litre a day so they just water it a bit and that works well.




puglvr1

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2014, 02:57:27 PM »
Thanks everyone for all your help, advise and comments  :)

puglvr1

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2014, 03:20:21 PM »
Just came across this article from Orlando Sentinel about mulching Citrus trees...

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2009-07-18/news/tom_1_trees-tomato-transplants-mulch

"Q: My neighbor has two small citrus trees that look anemic. She has a thick cypress mulch around the trees. Could this be the problem?

A: Mulches and citrus trees don't mix. The trees are very susceptible to a fungus called foot rot that attacks the lower trunk area near the ground. Keeping the trunks moist with a layer of mulch encourages the fungus."


Another link against mulching...

http://gardening.ktsa.com/Citrus/8110244
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 03:23:38 PM by puglvr1 »

Mike T

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2014, 07:23:39 AM »
There is really no reason not to mulch except the extra effort. It does not increase root rot or other fungi at all and I see vigorous mulched citrus in places with 160 inches of rain a year. You just have to keep mulch away rom the trunk.
What are the benefits? Soil fauna and health, more humus/carbon, aeration, more cations, slow release nutrients, water retention, weed suppression, pH moderation and more. The drawbacks? Too much carbon and N can be drawn out during decomposition,thick pure grass clippings might form a matt or some unwelcome 'vermin' might colonise the mulch..

Tropheus76

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2014, 08:00:59 AM »
I mulch all of my newer plantings of trees and am gradually rebedding my older trees as I get to it. I put in pea pebbles up to about 3 inches from the truck in a band about 8-10 inches wide. Like I said, I leave a three inch band of open soil. Then I put in a wide 2.5-3.5 foot band of ramial mulch(fresh wood chippings from tree cutting people, they are usually happy not to pay dump fees if they are in the area). I water about once a week, but not too heavily. I have not had any issues. 

Moisture is a plus but is not the primary reason, I do it more for the nutrients of the chips breaking down. The diversity the various trees in the chips helps as well.  If you go this route, ensure the tree people did not toss any citrus trees into the chipper.

Darkman

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2014, 08:38:38 AM »
I, with my three years of experience, have never mulched within three feet of the trunk. I have often considered doing this as it makes my maintenance harder having to remove weeds that grow in the mulch free zone. After this year the canopy on my larger trees probably would have shaded any weeds out but this winter I lost about half of those trees from Winter kill so I'm starting over.

One reason for not having the mulch was that the sun will heat the ground so that it is released at night and helps to protect the tree against cold temperatures. I belived the commercial citrus industry sprays herbicides to keep that area weed free. The primary reason I believe is to create an inhospitable area for fungus and rot to occur.

brettay

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2014, 11:02:56 AM »
Living in California, mulch is a vital part of gardening.  I have found it especially important for citrus.  We have hot, very dry summers that can suck water out of the ground, particularly the top few inches of soil.  Mulch maintains moisture in the soil, and is particularly important for plants with relatively superficial roots.  I would imagine in places like Florida with its high humidity and summer rain, that it would be much less important.

-Brett

ClayMango

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2014, 12:00:13 PM »
If you live in Southern CA with 100 percent of the state in one the worst droughts of recorded history and if you are not mulching over here....You are definately doing some serious damage to your trees.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 12:10:08 PM by ClayMango »
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Millet

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2014, 04:03:32 PM »
No, or almost no, commercial citrus grower, would consider mulching their citrus trees.  For the home owner with a few trees on their property, mulching is a person decision.  If you mulch be sure not to place the mulch against the tree' trunk. - Millet

ClayMango

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2014, 04:51:41 PM »
No, or almost no, commercial citrus grower, would consider mulching their citrus trees.  For the home owner with a few trees on their property, mulching is a person decision.  If you mulch be sure not to place the mulch against the tree' trunk. - Millet

From the Master Gardener of Orange county   (May only apply to CA, but doubt it)

"Mulching is beneficial to citrus trees. Aside from cutting down on potential water loss, mulching citrus has several other benefits. According to the Master Gardeners of Orange County, spreading mulch around your citrus trees also maintains soil temperature, which is integral for root health. The prevention of weed germination is another perk. In the case of citrus trees, the absence of weeds cuts down on the need to dig or disturb the ground under the tree to remove the unwanted vegetation. This digging can damage the citrus tree’s shallow root system"

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/tips-mulching-citrus-trees-51535.html
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Mike T

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2014, 05:03:27 PM »
Some of the commercial growers of limes and mandarins here mulch their small trees for perhaps the first 2 years after planting. The mulching benefits probably diminish as citrus canopies expand and root systems develop.

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2014, 05:15:26 PM »
I mulch my citrus as much as I can (which is not enough) and think it's the best way to introduce nitrogen and many other nutrients to the trees.  In nature, almost all nitrogen is introduced to plants this way.

In the long term, if we do not rot organic matter on the surface in an orchard, we must rely on chemical fertilizers to make up for the shortcoming and maintain soil nutrition.  Mulch is a slow-release fertilizer with longer-lasting positive results.

Problems with root rot due to mulching are probably due to the sudden introduction of a lot of mulch, effectively burying roots too deep and drastically changing their aerobic environment.  If done gradually, and kept away from the tree trunk, I think it's the best way to fertilize.  The roots will adapt to it.

The secondary benefits are also great:  Mulch conserves soil moisture, moderates soil temperature, and inhibits weeds.
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ClayMango

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Re: Citrus...Mulch or NO Mulch?
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2014, 05:36:02 PM »
side note....If your soil is a bunch of crap....Mulching  with a good soil conditioner improves the soil over time....which many of us in Socal due with the clay like soil we have....even though I have an 18 ft Santa Rosa plum which will argue otherwise on Clay soil being bad.
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