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Messages - gordonh1

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Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: What to try in zone 8a-b
« on: January 31, 2024, 01:53:16 PM »
Madison has a Clem x Yuzu aka Ten Degree Tangerine, but they don't say which one. Does anyone know if it's 2-2 or 3-3, or something else?

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Hardy citrus in PNW
« on: November 03, 2023, 01:03:21 PM »
SoCal, I seem to recall that the trees you planted out were unprotected and were also quite small.  I had read about the practice of growing the trees to a somewhat larger size before planting them out, so that the trunk itself is less likely to be compromised by freezing. Also, instead of leaving trees exposed directly to the cold, smaller trees could be protected.

I'm mostly planning to use a medium-sized greenhouse for Citrus in the PNW. Potted dwarf Citrus could survive the winter protected in the greenhouse for the winter months, but be brought outside after the danger of frost has passed and until November or so. But Kumin's experiments in PA inspired me to think about breeding Poncirus-derived trees that could winter outdoors.  Perhaps a greenhouse could be an important component in being able to develop numbers of trees that could be planted out in trial plantings. This is a direct analogy to growing trees farther south and then trialing them in more harsh climates.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: F2 citrange winter hardiness trial
« on: November 03, 2023, 12:56:34 PM »
Kumin, that is a nice crop of fruits. Do you harvest everything at the beginning of November due to the onset of frost?  I'm interested in the fruit color development - it appears some of the fruit is still green. Does it seem unripe?

Have you had anyone else taste-test it - if you've developed a tolerance for Poncirus flavors, perhaps some others could be used to evaluate the taste?

Heads up that Kabosu is back in stock at Madison citrus nursery:

I have ordered from them before and always gotten good trees.

It looks like they changed their spelling, too.

EDIT: They sold out in one day. You can get on their notification list for the next batch.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: F2 citrange winter hardiness trial
« on: September 12, 2023, 02:29:07 PM »
Kumin kindly shared a few cuttings of some his Conestoga series material recently, and I wanted to report on the attempts to root them. I started the cuttings a month ago, placed in a peat/perlite mix (sterile seed starting mix) in pots in a nursery tray, covered with plastic lid, and placed on a heat mat attached to a thermostat set to 80 F (26.7 C).  The pots were kept mostly moist and humid, but this wasn't perfect - there was some varying degree of drying between waterings.

Cuttings were dipped in rooting hormone and some of the green outer layer was stripped off with a sharp knife to increase the surface area exposed to soil.

Doing a tug test, some of the cuttings resisted the tug, indicating rooting, and a few others had not rooted and indeed, I pulled one out to examine it and confirm no rooting. One of the Conestoga 026 is putting on new growth! Others are showing a little bid of bud development.

The photos don't show enough of the tags to identify each one, but the flat includes Conestoga 006, 010, 011, 026 and 128.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Poncirus hybrid crosses
« on: August 19, 2023, 04:47:01 PM »
Yes, that's what I'm interested in, too, for a 7b/8a climate, I would need almost but not quite the hardiness and tree qualities of Poncirus, but instead of inedible fruit, we would want a variety of fruits with different qualities for eating, juice, and culinary purposes such as zesting (like Yuzu). I would consider that you can potentially build on the work of others. You don't have to start with the average seedling Poncirus, but either an improved selection from Poncirus (Poncirus+), or the result of F1 and F2 hybrids of Poncirus with Citrus. Considering that each breeding generation is several years of diligent work, choosing a starting point that is already partway to your goal would help. Anyway, your first step is to assemble a collection of trees as you plan to do, which is also what I'm doing now. Having a greenhouse or some form of protective environment will be important to avoid losing your breeding stock due to those rare cold events, and to allow crossing with parents that aren't quite hardy enough for your location.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: To protect or not to protect
« on: May 06, 2023, 08:50:44 PM »
I sent a PM. Gardeners and plant lovers are often such kind and generous people, thank you.

Regarding Sudachi, there's one that we'd pick green before frost, so that seems like a good one for my area.  And mine is on Flying Dragon rootstock so I guess it would stay small enough to be able to protect fairly easily. I've seen YouTube videos where a hardy citrus grower wasn't able to get his trees covered completely after they outgrew the coverings.  The one in my collection that grows very large is Bloomsweet. I've read 25' according to Madison's web site. That's too big to cover, so that's why I was thinking maybe it needs to be grafted to Flying Dragon so I can manage its size. It's obviously too big to cover, I guess it's too big for the greenhouse, and too big for container culture. I think eventually I'm just going to plant it out as a larger tree and see what happens, but I'll keep a grafted version that I can manage better.

The Satsumas are said to grow up to 8 to 15 feet depending on the rootstock, which sounds a bit more manageable.

I'm growing some Flying Dragon seedlings, so I'll be able to graft and could then accept scions from other collectors. How long does it take for Flying Dragon to grow to grafting size?  I've grafted a few apples, but never Citrus, but I guess the principles are pretty similar.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: To protect or not to protect
« on: May 05, 2023, 03:57:47 PM »
OK, I was indeed surprised to read on the forum that Citrus don't really need light during the winter months when they're dormant, as long as they remain cool and don't get heated to trigger coming out of dormancy, right? You could put them in a cool garage without a lot of light or under the tarp.

But would there be a benefit to keeping them uncovered and able to photosynthesize as long as temperatures were mild, as they usually are in a maritime climate, let's say in the range of 25 to 50 F which is the typical range. It could even be above freezing for weeks at a time.  Would this be a benefit or would it tend to stimulate growth too much and break dormancy?  I would guess not so much unless it was also warmer.

I also read one has to be careful about creating greenhouse conditions where the heat generated by the covering does cause dormancy to break.  That's one of the reasons I was thinking about covering only when it was actually necessary. But as poncirusguy noted, yes the fruit has to be able to ripen, so either the outdoor varieties are only the ones that ripen before the colder weather arrives, or one covers them to allow the ripening to continue.  I gather that Thomasville is one that ripens later. I did try to choose ones that would ripen sooner but obviously not all do.

The juice of Shekwasha is sold for $40 a bottle.

I guess that shows there's demand for these regional favorites, maybe among gourmet foodies and Japanese chefs. Might make a practical cottage industry for someone growing it locally.  And this suggests that the flavor is unique enough that it's worth seeking out, rather than settling for lemon or lime juice as a substitute.

Cold Hardy Citrus / To protect or not to protect
« on: May 05, 2023, 12:16:36 PM »
I'm starting to grow cold-hardy citrus and thinking about strategies. I'm east of Seattle with mostly mild zone 8 winters but the rare cold weather event down to high single-digits F (- 15 C) occurring about once per decade.

I want to grow hardy fruits that have good uses and I'm considering a breeding program, but for now just focusing on growing strategies for the plants in my collection. I'm an addictive plant collector and have directed this focus to cold hardy citrus, starting this year, so I admittedly have maybe gone a bit too far too fast, and acquired plants that now may be quite a big project to grow properly, so I need to get educated fast and know what issues I need to deal with, especially before the coming winter.  I have just recently read this forum all the way back to the beginning, so I'm trying to distill the diverse advice down to what will help me.

I am relying on having the greenhouse, which is currently being built, but the plan is to have a place to keep immature plants and overwinter Citrus in containers with the thermostat set to somewhere around 50 F (10 C). I have read about the "rule of thumb", to wait until trees have a trunk as thick as a thumb before planting outdoors. Before that time, they can enjoy greenhouse living.

I have a Flying Dragon and a "regular" Poncirus, no real worries with them surviving outdoors but I have to see that confirmed since this is my first year with them.

I think I can grow some Poncirus hybrids outdoors without protection. I have Dunstan, Rusk citrange, Swingle, and C-35.  But I did notice some cold damage (leaf whitening) on the youngest C-35 and Swingle seedling plants even in April here.

I think Yuzu is worth trying outdoors, and I'm planning to try it both on its own roots and on Flying Dragon rootstock. That way, I can get the effect of the FD rootstock on improved cold hardiness, and also I can have a Yuzu that might come back from its own roots if it gets top-killed in one of the rare cold events.

I will try Changsha outdoors, and maybe Keraji.  I have a US 119 on order, but I learned about the fruit splitting problems in rainy weather, which we definitely get, so that one might have been a poor choice. But maybe I can grow it in a container and move it to the greenhouse where it won't get deluged with rains.

Nansho daidai (taiwanica), Ichang lemon, Thomasville citrangequat, and Ichang papeda are here now, and seem like possibilities to try outdoors. I'm not sure Ichang papeda is a sensible species to grow as it's maybe not edible, but anyway I have acquired the plant, so now I will try to keep it alive and if I do breeding, it would certainly be interesting to use. I did read that it might not be as hardy as some have claimed.

Where it gets tricky is when growing the even less hardy types, where I don't have high confidence they would overwinter outdoors without protection, but maybe they could be grown with appropriate protection. I have quite a few in this category: Sudachi, Bloomsweet, Kishu, China S-9, Seville orange, Calamondin, various kumquats. I'd grow these in containers so I can overwinter them in the greenhouse, I think, but some like Bloomsweet might get too big and then what.  I guess when they get big, they can go outside and we will just see what happens. Also, I can graft Bloomsweet on Flying Dragon and keep it smaller maybe.

But once I'm growing the marginal varieties outdoors, that is where the protection racket comes into play. I don't want to sign myself up to be a slave to my Citrus trees, having to rush around in the middle of winter and wrap up my trees. But maybe it's not too much of a burden for a small number of trees once or twice a winter, only when temps are predicted to go lower than 15 F (-10 C or so)? I guess the Christmas lights could be strung up ahead of time and left on the trees permanently. What concerns me is that I've read about how others have worked very hard protecting their trees for many years, only to have the rare cold event come and kill them, making the whole effort futile without significant reward. I don't want to get discouraged.

Anyway, I'm attracted to the idea of growing and developing varieties of hardy citrus that don't need protection, but in the meantime exploring what's possible with varieties available now and developing the breeding stock I'd need if I am to embark on a more serious breeding effort. I have already started germinating some Citrus from seed. Well, actually as a child back in the 1970s, I planted grapefruit and lemon seeds from store-bought fruit in ordinary dirt we scooped up and put in a sawed-off plastic milk jug. Those seeds germinated and survived for 30 years in my parents' house in Alaska. I think they even bloomed, but that was after I left home.  But now I'm returning to this childhood dream. I already have some Yuzu and Flying Dragon seedlings that have germinated and are growing under a fluorescent light setup indoors for now. I can scale that up and grow hundreds of seedlings if I decide to dedicate the space to it.  And I have some amount of outdoor space where some trees could be trialed and grow if they can. Of course, the hope is to improve the fruit quality of the types that can grow outdoors unprotected in my climate.

I feel like this could be a tragically disappointing (and probably expensive) failure, or it could be something really exciting and rewarding. I guess we'll see.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Flavor in cooler climates
« on: May 05, 2023, 11:02:24 AM »
Flavor development is also variety-dependent. I have read that Trovita orange has the ability to develop sweetness without the heat that other varieties need. This genetic ability to sweeten would be a good trait to have in cold-hardy citrus, so what other varieties have this ability? And would Trovita be a good orange to include in breeding programs?

I'm very excited to try growing shikuwasa, or shekwasha. Does anyone have experience of growing this plant?  It is said to be very hardy.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Poncirus hybrid crosses
« on: May 01, 2023, 09:52:05 AM »
While other breeding projects may be interesting, there is still a desire for a citrus hybrid that can grow in the landscape in colder climates. I have potted citrus, and so do other hobbyists in my region, but that's not a substitute for a landscape tree. Potted trees don't become a permanent fixture to outlast the occupancy of their tenders, and the same is true of trees that are strung with Christmas lights and wrapped in blankets every time it gets cold.

Poncirus hybrids have the potential, like Poncirus itself, to withstand all that my climate can deliver. That's not the case with most other citrus. Even Yuzu is marginal here and can be killed down to the roots. The same is true north of zone 8 in many other parts of the world. We need hybrids with the tree characteristics needed to withstand the cold winter, probably including deciduous leaves, dormancy to prevent too early growth, and early ripening.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus varieties for marmalade
« on: April 24, 2023, 10:38:00 AM »
Ease of preparation definitely counts as a factor in choosing varieties for marmalade.

Here are the factors that I know may be important:

Sweetness - not necessary, since a sweetener can be added.
Sourness - important flavor consideration
Bitterness - possible/traditional flavor consideration
Other flavor components - makes the marmalade from some varieties unique and special
Color - may be important, especially if marketed
Pectin content - important for jelling behavior, can be added if variety doesn't have enough, but convenient if it has enough
Preparation considerations such as - what parts are used, what parts are to be discarded,  how difficult is the preparation overall, what special treatments may be required or may be helpful (such as boiling and discarding water to remove bitterness as in the Yuzu recipe).

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus varieties for marmalade
« on: April 24, 2023, 09:31:41 AM »
One more Japanese marmalade to consider, it is called Yuzuya Daidai marmalade. I don't know this variety... is it an immature Yuzu or a different type of Citrus?

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus varieties for marmalade
« on: April 24, 2023, 09:27:40 AM »

Yuzu marmalade

"The key point in making yuzu marmalade without the bitter pungent taste is to remove as much of the white part of the skin as you can. Also remember to repeat the boil, simmer and discarding of the cooking water process three times to remove the bitter taste."

"Don’t discard the seeds as they contain pectin which will thicken the marmalade."

So it seems some varieties might benefit from specific preparation techniques customized to the specific properties of that variety.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus varieties for marmalade
« on: April 24, 2023, 09:18:10 AM »

The Marmalade Lady of Osakishimojima Island

 "She uses the wide range of citrus—dekopon, amanatsu, haruka, ponkan, lemon, and others—that she grows in her home garden in the tiny village of Kubi on the southern side of Osakishimojima and at small orchards scattered in the mountains closer to the coast."

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus varieties for marmalade
« on: April 24, 2023, 09:10:17 AM »
Taiwanese jam wins accolades at UK marmalade fest:

"... praised the company’s sour orange marmalade infused with honey extracted from the flowers of longan fruit, saying that the jam was “breathtaking” and “filled with balanced yet layered flavors.”

Nansho Daidai sour oranges are an endangered strain of citrus that have been a focus of the Forestry Bureau’s restoration program since 2021."

Citrus General Discussion / Citrus varieties for marmalade
« on: April 24, 2023, 09:06:55 AM »
I know that Seville oranges are traditionally used for marmalade, but for the modern Citrus explorer who might have a collection or be building a collection of interesting varieties of Citrus, what can be said of the qualities of various Citrus for marmalade?

I understand that sourness likely contributes to the complexity of flavor. Do you make marmalade with Calamondin oranges? And Seville oranges have bitterness, which some people like, but many other varieties also have bitterness. What varieties have you tried using other than the more obvious ones? What about unusual varieties that are sour and/or bitter, such as Nansho daidai? What about cold-hardy varieties, such as Poncirus hybrids?

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Poncirus hybrid crosses
« on: April 22, 2023, 01:09:47 AM »
Ilya, thanks for providing some of the details that might allow us to perfect our methods. A very specific set of temperature parameters that is known to be fatal for the parent plants lets you save space, time, and effort, so that is a welcome improvement, especially in areas where we don't have a reliably cold winter every year. I look forward to hearing about the results of your crosses. I imagine several people will start producing ever higher quality Poncirus hybrids. The potential is there, but the big factor is time it takes to grow the plants to maturity, and in some cases, space to grow them. But I guess the efforts of multiple breeders in different continents working separately but sharing techniques and perhaps exchanging some seeds or plants will hasten progress, that is unless government shipping restrictions don't get too much in the way. I'm 52 years old, so I hope to have many generations of citrus trees ahead of me, if I'm fortunate enough to have long life and health.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Poncirus hybrid crosses
« on: April 22, 2023, 12:57:21 AM »
Thaks, Pagnr, that makes sense and I like that it's based on personal experience with various rootstocks in citrus orchards.

If some of the zygotic seedlings are also self-pollinated by the same tree, then that reduces the odds even beyond the percentage of nucellar vs. zygotic seeds.

As you mentioned vegetable breeding, I'm aware that different species have different pollination behaviors, such as strongly outbreeding species such as some types of squash, versus strongly inbreeding species such as tomatoes. Well, there are physical reasons for tomato flowers pollinating themselves, as their flowers are mostly closed up and don't allow pollinators access to them enough to effectively spread pollen. But I suppose sometimes it is not a physical barrier, but a biochemical one that prevents self-pollination in some species.  Also, I'm aware that even different species in the same genus can differ in whether they allow pollination by their own pollen. Some Lilium species are self-fertile and some are not. I have also heard that some Pinapple Guava varieties are self-fertile and some are not.

I gather that citrus is generally self-fertile, but some species and varieties such as Clementine oranges, some mandarins, and some tangerines either set more fruit with pollination from another variety or perhaps require a pollinator.   I wonder if the citrandarins are not self-fertile.

Anyway, I just picked up a Kishu mandarin that I found at a local nursery. It seems that citrus is being sold more and more in Western Washington.  I was wondering how many of the trees that were selling would end up dead of cold weather in a few years.  But the Kishu is obviously for crossing with the best of the Poncirus hybrids to see if I can follow Walt's idea and get a nice seedless fruit. So obviously for that I need to be more deliberate in my crossing and properly learn how to emasculate a flower and then isolate it.  I guess it can't be too hard.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Variegated sport on my Cara Cara
« on: April 21, 2023, 10:42:54 PM »
That's great, I hope you are able to get a successful graft. I would love to grow a variegated Cara Cara.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Poncirus
« on: April 21, 2023, 10:36:17 PM »
I guess many more people see it than taste its juice, and having a round fruit it resembles an orange tree more than anything else. I have heard it called "Bitter Lemon" by some.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Poncirus hybrid crosses
« on: April 21, 2023, 12:41:48 PM »
Pagnr, can you elaborate on the concern about open pollination not yielding the desired results?

My understanding is that each cultivar produces a characteristic percentage of nucellar seeds (clones of the mother tree) and a percentage of zygotic seeds. Some cultivars are known to produce true-to-type seeds, which is desirable in a commercial rootstock. I believe there's a source at the University of Florida that lists the percentage of true-to-type seeds for various rootstocks, many of which are citranges, so I was thinking that could be a guide for what citranges would be best to use. We would look for ones that have the lowest % true-to-type. What I don't know is if there are various factors that influence that other than genetics.

Kumin, thanks, I understand I can use very tight spacing if the expected % of survivors is low, with replanting with larger spacing for the survivors of the winter trials, but possibly being in zone 8a where winters are not reliably severe, it is likely I will face the difficulty Ilya mentioned, too many survivors because the winter doesn't provide the required culling. We only get temperatures below 10 F once in a many years, not every year.

As far as grafting the trial survivors onto rootstock, it's true I hadn't considered that.  It will be a lot more effort and therefore limit the number of selections that I can test.  I'll also need to start growing a large enough number of rootstock plants, so those will increase the need for space, too.

Cold Hardy Citrus / Re: Poncirus hybrid crosses
« on: April 21, 2023, 11:15:50 AM »
Premature selection is double-edged, I guess. I want fewer plants to grow, but I don't want to eliminate the holy grail. I like the idea of the taste test and freezer test, because I already know I don't want tender plants and plants that have the Poncirus flavor.  Is that too simple-minded?  I guess if we're thinking about the possible future generations, where those plants with the Poncirus flavor also are the ones with the recessive genes I need for the next generation, then yes, I have to keep them.  But if I'm already past the F1 generation where everything has the Poncirus flavor, or everything is not hardy enough, then maybe I don't lose that much if I rogue those out early.

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