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Topics - tve

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Citrus General Discussion / Dead bearss lime tree
« on: May 30, 2020, 02:59:59 PM »
This winter our Bearss lime tree, planted in 2002, started to look sad. Overall thinning of foliage, twigs drying out. An algerian clementine that is about 12' away showed similar symptoms a few years ago and looked like it was going to die but after 2 almost-dead years it recovered and provided us with fruit for 5 months this spring. About a month ago the bearss lime went from looking sad to dead in maybe a week. I noticed that the bark peels off easily. I don't see any oozing. Location is Santa Barbara, sandy soil slope. I've gone through citrus disease keys and can't really nail it. Any thoughts about what the most likely causes are given soil & location?

This phot was taken after I removed the easy-to-peel bark, which is shown a couple of images down.

Citrus General Discussion / How to keep citrus seedlings growing
« on: March 03, 2020, 01:33:50 AM »
I've been rooting citrus cuttings for a number of years and recently started to germinate seeds. Plus I bought some C-35 and some Flying Dragon rootstock from four winds growers. Invariably I end up with problems when the seedlings get about a foot tall. Often it's my fault: I over-water or I forget one and under-water it, or I don't see the scale insects attacking the plant until it dies back.
Is there a "recipe for success" for watering these small plants and, related, is there a trick to get such stressed seedlings to get growing again? I've now had a couple that are about a foot tall, have 2-3 leaves, are green, but have not done anything in a year. Their roots are small but not rotten.

As potting mix I use half pumice and half the E.B./Stone citrus&palm mix ( and I fertilize monthly with their citrus "plant food".

Some pics...
Here are 4x FD rootstock from 4Winds (left) and 4x C-35, received late january.

I repotted the FD as the roots were filling the tiny pots:

Unfortunately I didn't calculate the automatic watering correctly when I left for two weeks and the FD got overwatered as far as I can tell. (I should also have completely removed the very water retaining mix they were in as opposed to just filling my mix around the existing one.) Now I"m struggling to get them "restarted".. (Sorry for the bad photo with all the mess in the background.)

I've only recently started to use the transparent cups for the small plants after seeing that use on I need to put some paper wrappers around them to block the light, but so far there are not enough roots for this to be an issue :-(. The mix is very well draining but perhaps the 6 small holes in the cups are not enough. I'd love to experiment, but I find that it takes a very long time to see whether things are improving or not, typically the plant just sits there do nothing either way for a looong time...

Any help appreciated!

Citrus General Discussion / To peel seeds or not to peel..
« on: June 01, 2019, 08:52:31 PM »
I got a bunch of Taitri seeds from a generous forum member (thanks!!) and planted them about two weeks ago. I read about peeling the seeds and out of laziness decided to run an experiment (this way I only needed to peel half of them  ;D). So I put 10 peeled and 10 unpeeled into soil blocks and kept them at 80F bottom heat. In the photo below the left "column" has the peeled seeds and the right one the unpeeled ones. (I did not scarify any of them.)

The photo was taken a couple of days ago, by now all but one of the peeled seeds have germinated and only one of the unpeeled ones... Of course this is not a controlled scientific experiment, but I know what I'm going to do in the future with citrus seeds!

I'm pretty new here but have now posted 61 messages, so I thought I might as well post a little intro thread with some images. We're in the mountains just north of Santa Barbara, California at 2100' (640m). We get marine influence but a lot more heat at daytime and typically colder at night time than down by the coast. Sometimes it's foggy and humid, specially at night and morning, other times it can be very dry with little measurable relative humidity.

We get some light frost most years, and fewer and fewer years with real frost. We planted some low-medium chill stone fruit in 2002 and they gave us great fruit for a number of years, but the last 5 years have been very spotty. Global warming at work...
One of the challenges we have is daily winds in the late afternoon that can be quite strong. Anything with delicate foliage just gets shredded if it's not protected. It's not the wind speed per-se, it's the daily occurrence that gets the plants.

Here's the very beginning of the orchard in 2002, making terraces by hand and planting the typical citrus one finds in the nurseries:

Eight years later, the trees had grown nicely and we planted more:

Nice Algerian Clementine harvest 9 years after initial planting:

The soil is basically sand from all the boulders that you see around. We're on a sandstone escarpment and there's only a thin layer of organic matter. Depth of soil before hitting rock is a couple of feet, as in 2-3 feet... We got a lot of tree chips from clearing and from a number of pines that succumbed to a borer. I deliberately installed sprinkler irrigation so the mulch gets water year round and decomposes nicely. Now the soil around the oldest trees is really, really nice. We use no fertilizers other than mulch and compost and no pesticides.

We kept expanding the orchard, this was 3 years ago:

And some of the most recent trees in 2018, citrus from CCPP budwood grafted onto C-35 and some Pomegranates:

A few months ago:

Yes, the trees have more of an ocean view than our house...

Of course all this looks bucolic, but the grim reality is often different. All the above photos are really of a war zone. It's us vs. them. Thankfully there aren't a lot of "them" interested in the citrus, but that's not the case for the other trees.

Persian Mulberry:



I'm skipping the images of the gopher traps, which are deployed somewhere virtually year-round.

An as a true addict I have the next set of grafted trees in the greenhouse:

More to follow...

Citrus General Discussion / Latest citrus in semi-coastal California
« on: April 28, 2019, 01:41:02 PM »
As I'm sitting here choosing budwood from the CCPP I'm back to my perennial question: is there any citrus that can give me fruit later than about June and before the Satsumas in Nov-Dec? I'm in semi-coastal CA (10mi from the ocean at 2100', so more daytime heat but also colder at night and in winter). The only variety I know of is a Valencia Orange and sadly the most mature tree I have is one of those damn Midknight Valencias (seems to be the only variety available in nurseries), which grows incredibly slowly. All the other trees of the same generation are big and full of fruit and that Midknight is just behind... I have a Minneola Tangelo, which sweetens pretty late and hangs well on the tree for a long time, but I can't quite picture it past June (so far not enough fruit to try).
I'm wondering, has nobody tried crossing Valencia with something else to get late fruit, or is that not possible?

Citrus General Discussion / Role of 'terroir' in citrus flavor
« on: April 23, 2019, 01:19:57 AM »
I'm curious about what you all have noticed about the influence of the location where you grow citrus on its flavor.

My (home) orchard is in a borderline location in SoCal and my trees tend to be fairly stressed. Plus the soil is sandy and slightly alkaline. One of the results is a high level of acidity it seems and perhaps more intense flavor. Dunno...

Something I found striking is that I have had no luck finding a complement to my Bearss Lime tree. I have a Key Lime, but I would be incapable of distinguishing its fruit from the Bearss by taste. Maybe by scent, but I'm not sure. I suspect that if I could buy a ripe Key Lime coming from the Carribean it would be different. I also tried some Mexican Sweet limes but they just came out insipid. No acidity and no flavor, also not much sweetness. My Mexican friends who grew up with sweet limes tell me that what came off my trees ain't it. Well, the trees didn't get their native climate either...

When I read flavor comparisons between varieties I always wonder how much of that applies to my location...

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Growing Avocado under roof
« on: April 22, 2019, 01:09:53 AM »
I'm contemplating growing a handful of Avocado trees under some form of structure to provide a bit of protection from wind, cold, and dryness. What's not clear to me is how much space the trees end up needing in order to produce a reasonable amount of fruit.

I'm in the Santa Barbara mountains, just at the border line where citrus and avocado grows. We have the highest (in altitude) Laurel Soumac around on our property and that's an old indicator plant... I've had 3 AVos in the ground a few years ago and they did not make it. I ended up pulling them back out. The main problem seemed to be a combination of cold nights and strong daily 'sundowner' winds. All the leaves became damaged and in the spring all the trees ended up denuded. I want to try again but provide some protection with a structure. I'm not entirely sure exactly what and I'm trying to figure out whether it's reasonable size-wise...

I found a very encouraging report, which studied per-acre yield of Hass and Lamb Hass using high density planting in San Diego. They planted trees on a 10' x 10' grid and topped them yearly to 7', expecting them to stay ~8' tall. They achieved higher yields than conventional 20' x 20' planting with taller&bigger trees!

Citrus General Discussion / Where to get Flying Dragon rootstock
« on: April 21, 2019, 01:10:26 AM »
Over the past years I've been grafting mostly onto C-35 in order to get sizeable trees for my home orchard. I now want to experiment a bit with potted citrus and it looks like FD is the best choice. Now the question: where do I get FD to graft onto? Do I have to order seeds from somewhere and wait 'til next year or does someone know of a source for graftable trees at a reasonable price. I live in CA, so shipping is an issue.

Citrus General Discussion / Fixing a lemon tree
« on: April 21, 2019, 12:35:49 AM »
I have a 17 year old Eureka lemon (rootstock unknown) and half of it broke off in a wind storm a couple of months ago. The tree grew a weak Y early on and cracked there about 10 years ago. Now one side finally broke off completely, well, actually, it was a mess of splintered stuff with the branch still attached and alive. A couple of days ago I harvested and then finished the cut and cleaned it up a bit. What now?

I've already grafted some Feminello Syracusano into the other side of the tree (but higher up) and would like more of that, so I'm wondering whether this is a good opportunity to put a few bark grafts into that open trunk. While I'm pretty sure I can make them take I wonder whether they will really grow or just sit there? Thoughts or other suggestions?

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