Author Topic: Earliest ripening citrus  (Read 969 times)

Unicyclemike

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Earliest ripening citrus
« on: September 22, 2023, 06:33:31 PM »
What is the earliest ripening cold hardy citrus that has a good taste to it?  I know this is subjective but I live in zone 7 and trying to grow a few citrus that ripen early.

Mike Adams

vnomonee

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2023, 06:58:11 PM »
Look up early satsumas. Xie Shan is one, takes a few years to produce very good quality fruits. Not for zone 7 though. Prague is the best bet for non-hybrid cold hardy citrus (it's a chimera). Fruit ripens Nov-Dec. Mine have survived 1 winter unprotected with some damage, zone 7a.

poncirsguy

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2023, 10:19:31 PM »
I am going to guess tha Prague ripens later than first frost.  Changsha satsuma on Flying dragon might have a chance.  I will need a cover below 10F

Millet

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2023, 01:24:05 PM »
I agree with vnomonee suggestion of Xie Shan.  Xie Shan is early maturing October.  Excellent tasting.  Was first place winner in the Southeastern citrus growers best tasting contest.

jim VH

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2023, 12:08:40 PM »
  Here's my experience in the short growing season of the Pacific Northwest.
  First, you have to divide the citrus into a group that requires winter protection, and one that doesn't.
  No Satsuma has ever survived an extended freeze at my location at temperatures below 18F. By extended, I mean temperatures that drop down to 20F or below and stay below freezing for two days or more. 𝘉𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘧 exposures at lower temperatures can be survived; a couple hours or less. Thus, they need winter protection in shelters that can be heated when such extended freezes occur.

  Here's the ripening order for such Satsumas as I currently grow. All require winter protection:
LA Early and Early St. Anne: Late October onward. They are a bit insipid, but as good as many store fruit.
Miho: Early-mid November onwards. Also a bit bland, but quite sweet.
Okitsus: Mid-late November onward. Excellent taste
Xie Shan: Early-mid December onward. Excellent flavor, a bit acid.

Citrus that don't require protection in extended freezes down to 8F, although damage to some varieties 𝘤𝘢𝘯 occur at temperatures in the high teens or low twenties, if the freezes last long enough. That occurred last winter here when I had three weeks of such temperatures, damaging, but not killing, Thomasville Citrangequat and Changsha:
  Flying Dragon: mid-October. Most people can't stand the flavor but mine seems to have better flavor than most, according to some, myself included. I use it for flavoring of drinks and certain fruit sauces.
  Changsha tangerine in sheltered location: Late October onward. rather insipid, quite seedy, rather small, But hey! It's a sweet citrus that doesn't require protection. Best flavor is earliest, when its acid level is highest.
  Thomasville Citrangequat picked green as a lime: Late October onward. I like the flavor, some don't.
  Sudachi picked green as a lime: Late October onward. Bright spritely flavor.
  Yuzu: Peel turns yellow in mid-November. Seedy and low juice content, but the peel has an outstanding flavor; I use it for marmalade. The juice is OK by my standards, though some don't like it.
  Kabosu: Peel turns yellow in mid-November. It's almost a sweet lemon, can be eaten out of hand if you like sour. Low seed count, lots of juice with an excellent flavor.
  Morton Citrange: Falls off the tree in mid-December. Sweet, low seed, lotsa juice. Has an aftertaste I can't stand, but other people gobble it up.
 Taste is subjective of course. Also, if an early hard freeze threatens, the fruit should either be harvested and allowed to ripen indoors, or the trees protected with sheets or something. I always pick the fruit, since it's close to ripe by the time of the earliest hard freezes around here, typically in mid November.

Jim

tedburn

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2023, 02:38:51 AM »
Thanks Jim, very interesting summary  :)

Florian

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2023, 08:44:51 AM »
Reading this forum, I always had the impression that Xie Shan was among the very earliest of Satsumas. Is that not the case or is it just with Jim?

jim VH

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2023, 11:05:30 AM »
Hi Florian,
I suspect it's just me, or rather, my cool climate. Xie Shan 𝘪𝘴 a very early type; it reaches full size at the same time as my other early ripening cultivars. Later ripening varieties like Owari never reach full size, nor overwinter very well.
  The reason it becomes enjoyable later than some of the others is because Xie Shan has a very high acid level, which is part of the reason for its good flavor. So high. it's winceable.  In warmer climates the acid level drops very rapidly as it sits on the tree, so becomes comestible at about the same time as other early Satsumas.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, cool weather arrives early so, even though it reaches full size, it takes longer for the chemical processes that convert acid to sugar to occur. The more insipid varieties, the acid level is already low to start with, so the sugar to acid ratio is already at a tolerable level.
  At least, that's my guess.
Jim

sc4001992

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2023, 01:52:56 PM »
Jim, I'm in SoCal and I also don't get my grafted Xie Shan to fully ripen until December.

My other satsuma and ponkan starts to ripen from November-January. The earliest citrus fruit that turns color (except for my Valencia which seems to have ripe fruit for a longer time than others) is the Flying Dragon. Most of my FD fruits are all yellow and some fruits are dropping off now, so I need to collect them for the seeds to plant.

Millet

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2023, 04:13:40 PM »
The warmer the area the tree is growing in the later the fruit will turn yellow color.  Many mandarin's and satsumas are actually mature before the fruit colors up.

jim VH

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2023, 11:14:14 AM »
Hi Kaz,

  My Xie Shan are fully colored earlier, but the acid level is intolerably high for a sweet citrus until mid-December, and even then is still on the sour side. Fortunately, I enjoy sour, but sometimes the definition of 'ripe' varies from person to person. My ripe may be others unripe.
  I remember we had thread about Xie Shan a couple years ago, though a quick search didn't bring it up.
  My Flying Dragons are just starting to turn yellow, but probably won't start falling off the tree until they turn more of an orange-yellow about a month from now. Still, I will start them earlier to flavor my apple-quince sauce in a week or so, since the powerful lemon flavor that 'dragonballs' have is quite evident, even when green.
   Hi Millet,
  I have the opposite condition from the warmer climates. Our early falls tend to color the citrus up by early November most years, but the inside–while orange in appearance–is still on the sour side, due to our shorter growing season. It takes time for the acid level to drop to the level of enjoyability, with only the Changsha having a low enough acid level to start eating early, even when not fully colored.

Jim

Florian

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2023, 04:24:49 PM »
Thank you, Jim, for the detailed and comprehensible explanation. That makes sense to me.

Unicyclemike

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2023, 05:07:41 PM »
Thank you everyone for your comments. Very interesting and helpful.

Mike A.  Zone 7

mar3

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2023, 11:56:52 AM »
Here's the ripening order for such Satsumas as I currently grow. All require winter protection:
LA Early and Early St. Anne: Late October onward. They are a bit insipid, but as good as many store fruit.
Miho: Early-mid November onwards. Also a bit bland, but quite sweet.
Okitsus: Mid-late November onward. Excellent taste
Xie Shan: Early-mid December onward. Excellent flavor, a bit acid.

I just wanted to add that in many places where Early St. Ann grows, peak ripeness occurs in early to mid September, after which juice percent falls below 40%. The original Bourgeois paper recommended, for Gulf Coast states, picking between September 7th to October 14 (same with LA Early). The color of the fruit at peak ripeness will likely be light green, slightly before color break.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2023, 11:58:24 AM by mar3 »

jim VH

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2023, 12:06:56 PM »
Hi Mar3,

That very early ripening of LA Early and Early St Anne was one of the reasons I chose LA Early for my first sweet citrus back in 2009, because the growing season here in the Pacific Northwest is very short. I went for a Satsuma because it seemed to be a one-season fruit. Bloom times for citrus here are later than most more southerly locales.  I've found that they start in mid-March for Flying Dragon, mid-April for Trifoliate hybrids and mid-May for other citrus like Ichandrins and Satsumas and other types of citrus. The growing season ends in mid to late October. I was thus hoping that the earliest Satsuma cultivars would make it in this shortened time.
  Even then I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough heat. The number of growing degree days in the Willamette Valley and Southwest Washington is typically 2000 degree-days at a base temperature of 50F, compared to 4000+degree-days for the normal citrus growing regions. Then I discovered mountain mandarins grown in Ojai County in Norhtern California and found that the number of growing degree days in the closest large city of Placerville Ca was around 2400, which I felt was close enough to make the attempt. When the LA Early produced edible fruit its second year, I then branched out to trying other Satsumas, with results I mentioned above.
  I've tried a few other sweet citrus as well, but they don't really work here, except the Morton Citrange, whose ripening is earlier due to its Trifoliate ancestry, and possibly the Kiyomi Tangor, which is almost ripe enough to eat in December, possibly because its tangerine half is an early ripening one. Typical oranges don't really work here.

The early Satsumas are by far the best sweet citrus for my location. Having lived in the Midwest (Michigan) for a number of years, I know it has far more heat in the summer months than I do, even as their growing season is roughly the same (without artificial heat applied to produce earlier bloom) so other varieties than Satsumas may do better there than my location.

Jim

sc4001992

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Re: Earliest ripening citrus
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2023, 05:31:18 PM »
Here's a few photos of my Flying Dragon fruits, all starting to fall off the tree now.






 

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