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Messages - jim VH

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Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Thomasville v. Morton?
« on: November 18, 2022, 11:28:10 AM »
Hi manfromyard,

     Thanks for pointing that out about the heat; I do believe you hit the nail on the head.  Here at my location in the occasionally frozen north, I only have 2000 growing degree days, whereas most areas in the citrus belt have roughly twice that or more; even parts of Colorado have more than we do.  When I thought about it, I realize that the Thomasville has never had a very heavy bloom, unlike the rest of my citrus, which may well be due to the 50% kumquat ancestry.  Kumquats, if I recall correctly, require significantly more heat than most other citrus and our lack of it may be the reason for the light bloom.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Thomasville v. Morton?
« on: November 14, 2022, 12:31:09 PM »
Hi Bussone,

     I have both Morton Citrange and Thomasville Citrangequat, both on Flying Dragon rootstock.  Both are about eight feet tall.  They are two completely different animals.  (Animals?  Well, they both do have a bit of a bite to them.) 
     The Morton Citrange is a 50-50 hybrid of an orange and a Poncirus Trifoliate and has large orange sized fruit that typically ripens in late November, here in my short growing season location.  It tastes like an orange, with an off-flavor I don't enjoy at all.  But that's subjective; a local board member loves them and comes to get them in December.  It bears relatively heavily; I get fifteen pounds or more, most years.
     The Thomasville Citrangequat is a cross between a Citrange and a kumquat.  It has kumquat  sized fruit that can be harvested green in November, here.  The flavor is like a Key Lime–a lime flavor with a touch of bitter–which I enjoy and use in a number of culinary applications.  It's rather shy bearing; I typically get less than five pounds.
     The Morton Citrange is much hardier than the Thomasville Citrangequat.  A two week arctic blast in January 2017, with one low near 8F, caused extensive small twig damage to the Thomasville; the Morton Citrange snickered at the cold and had no discernable damage.  Based on this, I'd guess that the Morton could survive down to Zero Fahrenheit, or maybe a bit lower, making it a zone 7 plant, whereas as the Thomasville is more of a zone 8 plant.  Although, being in Pennsylvania, your arctic weather events would last much longer than mine, based on my experience in living in Michigan for thirteen years, so that may have a bearing on survivability of the Morton in your location.  The Thomasville wouldn't survive at all in your location, without protection.
     Hope this helps,


Citrus General Discussion / Re: Okitsu Wase and Miho Wase Satsumas
« on: November 14, 2022, 11:34:12 AM »
Hi Millet,

That is truly awesome.  I think about buying or building a larger greenhouse, now that I can afford it, but don't quite need it yet.  The only drawback of larger is that it needs more heat, but most of the time it really isn't necessary to heat it, since our zone 8 climate rarely drops below 20F, though when it does, it can be quite brutal.
  Yes, I, too, find that fruit from plants grown on Flying Dragon rootstock is just as large and flavorful as that from non-dwarfing rootstocks, and seems to ripen a couple weeks earlier, important for the very short growing season in my cool maritime climate.


Citrus General Discussion / Re: Okitsu Wase and Miho Wase Satsumas
« on: November 11, 2022, 12:07:47 PM »

     I'm not necessarily the best comparison for how your plants will behave.  Because of its cool short growing season, Washington state is not known for its citru-culture; as far as I know, there has not been any commercial production here, although I did give about thirty pounds of Yuzus to someone whose friend used to make Yuzu-Radler for his bar.  But no money was exchanged, so that doesn't really count as being a commercial transaction.

     My Miho is the best eating 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵, but that's because it is the sweetest of all my citrus.  It does tend to get a bit bland as it ripens further.  That will change as the others get riper and their sugar to acid levels improve.  I know from last year that the Xie Shan, when ripe about a month from now, is superior to any of my other Satsumas, including Miho. 
     This is my first crop of Okitsu.  I've heard it said on this board that Okitsu has very good flavor, so it may well follow the path of Xie Shan and become quite good in the next month or so.

     As far as size goes, again my zone 8, short growing season climate is not a good guide for your zone 9a.  My plants are on the small side for a couple reasons because of this.  Partly because I grow on a Flying Dragon rootstock, which is dwarfing.  This dwarfing allows me to protect my plants, using shelters, form the occasional Arctic blasts that come along once every few years; arctic blasts which would kill any Satsumas dead dead dead.  I prune my plants to keep them within the shelters, which keeps them quite small.
    Also, because of the short growing season, I only get one growth flush, on average, in a year, before winter comes, whereas warmer climates such as yours, could allow more than one.   So your plants will likely grow faster than mine and you can use non-dwarfing rootstocks as well.
    That said, my larger sheltered Satsumas are about three feet tall and the oldest thirteen year old plant is about four feet across.  They've become quite dense and fruit well.  The oldest one has produced about twenty pounds of fruit the last three years.
     My nine year old Changsha is much hardier, having survived 8F in January 2017 with minimal damage.  So I let it grow wild and free and it has reached about eight feet tall, even on a dwarfing rootstock.  My seven year old Ichang lemon, which is said to be hardy possibly to 5F, is on a nondwarfing Poncirus rootstock and has reached about twelve feet tall in that timespan.
     So this might give you some idea of the possibilities for how yours may perform, which I suspect will grow much faster in your milder climate.   

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Okitsu Wase and Miho Wase Satsumas
« on: November 10, 2022, 11:43:52 AM »

     I have six early ripening satsumas or tangerines In my yard, including Miho and Okitsu, as well as LA Early, Early St. Anne, Changsha Tangerine and Xie Shan, all on Flying Dragon rootstock except Okitsu, which is on Citrange rootstock.   So I went out and picked samples of all but the Xie Shan, which ripens much later than the others, and ate them about thirty minutes ago.  (I'm a bit bloated).

     In order of most to least sweet they are: Miho, LA Early, Changsha, Early St. Anne and Okitsu.
     In order of least to most sour they are: Changsha, Miho, LA Early, Early St. Anne and Okitsu.
     In order of most to least flavorful they are: Okitsu, Miho, Early St. Anne, LA Early and Changsha.

It's said that Flying dragon rootstock promotes earlier ripening, which likely explains why Okitsu, which is a very early ripening variety, is so far down on the sweet and sour scale.  I'm guessing that Okitsu is not as ripe as the others, based on this fact, and will move up rapidly as it ripens further, based on the fact the flavor seems more 'orangey' than the others.

At the moment, Miho is the best eating and I'm starting to eat them.

All of them are much better than Owari, which really doesn't ripen here at all, due to the extremely short growing season of the Pacific Northwest of the United States.  In fact, Owari never reaches full size here, remaining at golf ball size, even when overwintered and allowed to continue growing in the spring.

Miho has a sister called Seto, produced from the same breeding program that produced both of them from their Miyagawa forbearer.   Seto is probably comparable in flavor and sweetness.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: My oddly shaped poncirus fruit
« on: October 26, 2022, 12:12:07 PM »
Yeah, I had a couple of those this year too.

I was bemused.  I don't think we have citrus flower mites in the Pacific Northwest though, but perhaps some other local pest serves a similar function?  I have noticed that the local sugar ants go wild over the flowers, sucking nectar; perhaps they can cause such damage?   They might serve to help pollinate the fruit as well.


Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: September 23, 2022, 11:48:20 AM »
Hi Malhar,

My Xie Shan set very few fruit this year, all but one of them still rather small.  But then, it was a very cold wet spring-early summer this year in the Pacific Northwest and many of my citrus bloomed late and set few or no fruit this year, possibly due to poor pollination.  On the other hand, a couple of the Satsumas are loaded.  Go figure.

Millet is right, the fruit set on your tree is awesome.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Early St Ann Satsuma
« on: September 12, 2022, 11:35:03 AM »
HI Mike,
     Yeah, I got one.  It, and its sister LA Early, are my earliest ripening Satsumas.  Not necessarily the best flavored Satsuma.  Of my sweet citrus, only the Changsha tangerine can be enjoyed earlier.   
     Its hardiness is about the same as any Satsuma, around 18F during the extended freezes we can get in the Pacific Northwest; possibly lower for short duration freezes.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Shortest Growing Season Citrus
« on: July 23, 2022, 10:19:54 AM »
Hi Piss P,

I got my Kabosu from McKenzie farms in South Carolina; it was grafted on a Citrange rootstock.  It's not shown in his list of Citrus, so you'll have to call and see if he has one in stock.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Shortest Growing Season Citrus
« on: July 21, 2022, 11:22:04 AM »
Hi Peep,
     Based on my experience, the Sudachi and Yuzu are of comparable hardiness.  Both my large ten year old plants plants easily survived 8F (-13.3C) with only small twig damage, with other lows of 12F, 13F and 14F, during an extended freeze in January 2017 when the temperature stayed below freezing for over 110 hours.

Socal, judging by the pictures in your other thread, I suspect your plants succumbed because they were just too small.  I generally protect my plants from extreme cold for about three years, till the main trunk diameter is about the same diameter as my thumb (the 'rule of thumb':) and they are relatively bushy.  The larger size, and the protective effects of the larger canopy, gives them the energy they need to survive future cold snaps, which are relatively infrequent in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.

Pagnr,  Yes, I was talking about fully ripe Kabosu.  I do know that both Sudachi and Kabosu used in Ponzu sauce are used green, the Yuzu being used ripe(?).  Based on my taste test, the Sudachi has better flavor when green.  The Kabosu, the difference between green and ripe is not so clearcut, possibly because the ripe Kabosu is sweeter than either Yuzu or Kabosu. 

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Shortest Growing Season Citrus
« on: July 20, 2022, 11:11:27 AM »
Hi Piss P,

     I find the Kabosu fruit to be quite good.  They're very round (hence the Sphaerocarpa in the Latin name), larger than a yuzu and have a complex flavor I enjoy, somewhat like Meyer lemons with a touch of grapefruit.  They have far fewer seeds than the Yuzu, and most years even fewer seeds than the Sudachi.
 They're just sweet enough you can eat them out of hand if your taste tends to the sour end.  Unlike the Yuzu, the peel is not aromatic and less flavorful, but it still has a nice lemony flavor. 
     I use them mainly for the juice, and to make marmalade during years, like this one, when my Yuzu has very few fruit.
     I haven't had a chance to test the hardiness yet but, given that it is closely related to Yuzu and Sudachi, it could well be hoped to be as hardy as those two.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Shortest Growing Season Citrus
« on: July 19, 2022, 11:19:40 AM »
Of the varieties I grow, because you normally harvest them green, as limes, my earliest harvested citrus is Sudachi in mid-October, followed by Thomasville Citrangequat a couple weeks later.  My earliest harvested ripe fruit is the Flying dragon (If you count that as a citrus) starting in mid-October, followed by Changsha tangerine in late October, then Kabosu and Yuzu in mid-November.   There are probably many other varieties that ripen as early (or earlier), which I don't grow.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Rooting Prague chimera cuttings
« on: July 19, 2022, 11:11:44 AM »
Hi Nullroar,
     I don't rightly recollect (to use a bit of western slang) what size I used four years ago, but I suspect they were on the small side.  I just went out and looked at what's out there now, and the Prague has the unfortunate property that the newest branches are rather flat.  From hat I just measured, the short dimension seems to be between 1/16 inch and 1/8 inch, while the wide dimension ranges from about 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch.   That's about
3mm-6mm.  I do recall I made two slices along opposite sides of the skinny side, forming a vee shape.
     Another weird thing I just noticed (nothing to do with taking cuttins) is that it appears to be starting a second bloom, which I've never seen before this early.  Maybe because almost no fruit set on the first bloom, due to the cold wet spring and early summer we've had this year.


Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Rooting Prague chimera cuttings
« on: July 18, 2022, 11:32:57 AM »
I had no problem rooting Prague Citsuma cuttings about three years ago..  I took the cuttings in late July while they were still somewhat rubbery, cut a diagonal and dipped them in rooting hormone (Dip-N-Grow), inserted them in potting soil in a transparent pot, then put them in closed transparent containers to keep the humidity high.  About six weeks later roots could be seen at the bottom of the soil in the pots of half of the six.
Maybe beginner's luck?  Or maybe the rooting compound, or maybe the timing of when I took the cuttings, were factors.  I gave a couple away and planted the other in the ground, where it is slowly growing, next to another Prague Citsuma I grafted on FD rootstock.  Both are growing slowly.   

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: December 30, 2021, 11:01:39 AM »
Yeah, I'm about a thousand miles north of Southern California.  In fact, I'm further north than Detroit and Ottawa Canada.  The only things that save the PNW from nonstop citrus killing cold is the proximity of the Vancouver-Portland area to the Pacific 0cean 70 miles away, and the Cascade Mountain range, which shunts most of the Arctic air to the east, where it belongs.  Occasionally though, every 3-5 years, the cold breaks through and we get an event down to 10F (-12C).  The present snow event turned out to be pretty humdrum.  Still, the shelters for tender citrus, like Satsumas, are needed for such rare events.
     They're made out of the repurposed concrete form boards, which I used to build my raised vegetable beds, one of which can be seen to the right of the snow picture.
     I thought of getting a beehive once, but there are plenty of both wild and honeybees around.
     The Prague Citsuma is a very strange plant, and not terribly prolific.  Below is the entire two pound crop, from a tree twice the size of the LA Early.  The LA Early had sixteen pounds of fruit.

They tend to the rather small, but I didn't really water it much, despite th record heat we had this year.  I did water the bleep out of the Satsumas, and they produced huge fruit, so I'll try the same with the Prague Citsuma next summer, and see if their size approaches that of the Xie Shan or not.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: December 28, 2021, 12:16:32 PM »
My last post on this particular thread.  The impending arrival of an Arctic front motivated me to pick the last of my Satsumas, which were LA Early, Xie Shan and Prague Citsuma.  I also snagged a couple of 'Wonderful' Peels from a Christmas party.  In terms of taste comparison, the results are:
     LA Early, good.  The quality seemed to have peaked in early December, and remained constant since.
     Xie Shan, very good.  The quality has improved greatly and is almost excellent.
     Prague Citsuma, excellent.  The quality has also improved greatly.  It also peels more easily   
     'Wonderful' Peels.  Verdict: poor.

I finished the last Changshas in early December, the flavor was becoming rather bland at that point and deteriorating.

No pictures of the fruit this time, since there is nothing new to see, but, going with the title of the thread, here's a picture of my Xie Shan tree from early December, nestled in its winter shelter:


For comparison, here's the LA Early:

And finally, three of the Satsumas after the snow arrived, after midnight Christmas night:

Temperatures won't be too bad with this stalled out front; highs in the low thirties, lows in the twenties, but it's possible to see a couple nights in the upper teens when the skies clear, at which point I'll turn on the thermostatically controlled C9 Christmas tree lights.  Temperatures should moderate back to cold rain in a week.  Temperatures are a few degrees colder up around Puget Sound, including Olympia and Seattle.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Merry Christmas
« on: December 28, 2021, 11:13:29 AM »
A white Christmas?  You mean, like this?

Three of my Satsumas in their winter shelters.  Actually, this fell after midnight on Christmas day, but since tonight is the Fourth night of Christmas, it technically still counts, right?  And should keep counting till the Twelfth night.  A merry Christmas to you all for eight more nights.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: December 06, 2021, 03:47:43 PM »
Hi Frank,
     The LA Early I bought from Stan Mackenzie and put in the ground 12 years ago; It bloomed and set fruit right away, though I picked the fruit off the first year.  The fruit quality seems to be improving with age.  It's on a Flying Dragon (FD) rootstock and is still quite small; I may post a picture in that Mandarin and fruit photo thread Kaz started.
     The Xie Shan I grafted onto an FD rootstock from its original Citrange rootstock and put in the ground 3 years ago; this is the first year I let it set fruit.  When on the Citrange rootstock, it produced rather sour fruit; the earlier ripening claimed for FD rootstock appears to have resulted in sweeter fruit. 
     The Changsha was one of 24 I grew from seed in December 2007; it is the sole survivor of a 10F (-12.2C) arctic event in 2009.  It subsequently survived an 8F (-13.3C) event in 2017 on an FD rootstock.  It first set about 6 lbs. of fruit last year, a bit over 12 years after it was started.  I discussed this hardy survivor on another thread last year; I'll probably update that in a week or so.
     The Prague Citsuma on unknown rootstock came from Mackenzie farms about five years ago.  It bloomed, but didn't fruit, until 3 years ago, when it set about 4 lbs., then bloomed but didn't set fruit last year, then set fruit again this year, again about 3-4 lbs., at a guess.  Each time it set fruit, about half a dozen were satsuma sized, the rest sub-golf ball sized.  Not what I would call a commercial fruit, but it is good for hours of entertainment.   Maybe with lotsa fertilizer and water it will do better.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: December 06, 2021, 12:54:36 PM »
What a difference a month makes.  Now the Xie Shan has much lower acid levels, only slightly sourer than the LA Early.  Here's a phot of several fruit currently on the trees:

from left to right: LA Early, Xie Shan, Changsha and Prague Citsuma.
I deliberately selected a LA Early with a neck, and a Xie Shan with almost no neck at all as a confirmation of Millet's observation that there is considerable variation in the fruit even in the same tree.
     Here are the fruit peeled and separated:


Top, left to right: LA Early and Xie Shan; Bottom left to right Changsha and Prague Citsuma.  LA Early, Xie Shan are zipper skinned, Changsha is very easy to peel, Prague Citsuma is very difficult to peel, although I suspect it will peel easier as it gets riper.
     In terms of flavor:
Prague Citsuma is far and away the best, although still somewhat on the sour side.  I would rate its flavor as excellent.
Xie Shan is next best, probably upper-mid range compared to store Satsumas, a bit sour.
LA Early is next, about mid range, and well balanced sweet and sour.
Changsha is last; lower mid range and very low acid, though still good enough.

The Prague Citsuma and Changsha are rather small; I suspect that's in part because I barely watered them this past hot summer, whereas the Satsumas got plenty of water due to nearby plants that needed it.  Also, the Prague Citsuma is just plain weird, probably because it's a chimera; most of the fruit is sub-golf ball sized, with two branches having larger fruit.


Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: November 27, 2021, 10:53:15 AM »
Hi Kaz
     They're similar, but not identical.  Both developed in Louisiana a couple decades ago, they may be the earliest ripening Satsumas around; late August in Louisiana.  I actually have both, but I just grafted my Early St. Anne onto a dwarfing rootstock a couple years ago, so I'm not letting any fruit develop until it achieves a size to it.  In my opinion, the Early St Anne is somewhat later and has somewhat better flavor, but there's really not a lot of difference between the two, for all that.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: November 26, 2021, 11:16:18 AM »
Hi Eric,

I'm going to wait another 10 days before trying another Xie Shan.
      I have been eating the Changshas and they're still good, though rather seedy; seedier than the white trash neighborhood I grew up in.  I have enough Changsha fruit to do some measurements of sugar and acid levels of the Changshas at ten day intervals.  Since October 25th, the acid level has dropped about 20%, from 1.6% to 1.3%.  Hopefully the Xie Shan acid level drops faster than that.
     I took a dozen LA Early Satsumas to Thanksgiving meal yesterday and everyone thought they were good, so I have an independent poll of their quality.  I still rate them about midrange, compared to store Satsumas. 
     I'll do a side by side comparison in early December.   

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: November 06, 2021, 08:08:50 PM »
Thanks Tedburn.  It was interesting to make the side by side comparisons.
My Keraji was a bit of a cheat; I'd grafted it last year on Flying Dragon rootstock and it was in a pot.  So, I brought it in in March and it bloomed about 4-5 weeks earlier than the mid-May normal bloom time for Citrus up here.  Next year, I'll have a better idea how it does under normal PNW growing conditions.  The flavor was interesting, though; it seemed to have a bit of lemon mixed in with the Satsuma.
     My Changsha bloomed last year for the first time, about 11 years after I started it.  It's flavor is best earlier in the ripening season, when it's quite good, actually; it becomes bland and insipid by mid-December, so has to be eaten quickly and early, while the peel is still half green.
     I haven't tried Miyagawa, but I do have a Miho, which is derived from it.  The Miho is generally somewhat sweeter and a bit better flavored than the rest of mine, but it only set one late fruit this year, so was not included in the comparison.
     Hi Kaz.  Actually, I've never tasted the Owari Satsuma that I know about, although some of the store Satsumas are likely to be Owari.  Owari doesn't attain full size or flavor in the short growing season up here, it's not early-season enough.  The golf ball sized fruit were terrible, so I eventually exposed it to the frost gods to see how hardy it was.  Only the earliest ripening Satsumas attain full size and reasonable sweetness and flavor. 
     Based on comparisons to store Satsumas.  I'd put LA Early in the middle of the range, when fully sweetened up, normally by late November.  This year seemed to be sweeter earlier, probably  due to that unusual record breaking 116F heat wave we had this year in late June.
     The Xie Shan, I'll just have to wait and see.  It is early enough to attain full size, so that's room for hope.   Fortunately, Satsumas seem to hang well on the tree for months.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: November 06, 2021, 10:07:19 AM »
     My one Keraji mandarin fell off the tree a couple days ago, so I thought I'd pick one of each of the sweet citrus I grow and line them up side by side, then eat them to see how they compare.
     From left to right the fruit are : LA Early, Keraji, Xie Shan and Changsha.
     The Xie Shan, third from the left, has the palest skin and a noticeable neck on it.
     The LA Early and Xie shan are zipper-skinned when peeling.  The Changsha is very seedy and easy peel.  The Keraji is not easy to peel at all.
     The LA Early, Keraji and Changsha are relatively sweet and have good flavor; comparable to many store Satsumas.  The Xie Shan is sour as heck, probably due to a higher acid level; So sour, I cant judge the flavor.  Considering I'm about a thousand mile north of you Cali Boyz, It's not surprising my fruit is sourer than yours.  Since my tree's are dormant now, it's unlikely the sugar level will rise, so I'd better let the Xie Shan sit on the tree till January to let the acid level drop to a more acceptable level, though I might try one in a month or so.


Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: October 23, 2021, 11:16:47 AM »
I've never had a Satsuma survive extended periods below freezing with lows below 18F,  here in the occasionally frozen north, although they have survived very brief exposures to such lows.   The Brown's Select nearly made it, and I've never tried the new Arctic or Orange Frost varieties, and there may be some other hardier mandarins or Satsumas.  Changsha survives here down to extended periods below freezing with lows down to 8F.  I do have a Keraji, reputed to be hardy to 5F, but it hasn't been tested for hardiness yet in the extended freezes at my location.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Xie Shan- fruit photos
« on: October 19, 2021, 11:06:19 AM »
Hi Kaz,
  Like Malhar, mine are still green, though there are hints of color change, possibly triggered by the cool nights we're now getting here (Overnight lows in the 40F's, with an occasional thirty something).  I suspect it will be sour for some time, based on results from earlier years.
  The only sweet citrus  showing true orange are some of the LA Early, and they will still be sourish for a month or so more.  The Changsha is also showing some color, though not as much, but they are sweeter, likely due to their low acid level.
     I'll post pic's when the Xie Shan is fully orange-perhaps 3 weeks or so?-, along with my subjective impressions of the taste.


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