Author Topic: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?  (Read 794 times)

fruitnut1944

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Iíve been eating a lot of store bought citrus lately. The navels have been mediocre to great. One this morning was great at 15.4 brix. Very sweet and juicy.

When I last grew Washington Navel in my greenhouse, they were seldom this good. On average no better than store bought. Which maybe isnít too bad. Most of the store bought are from CA. They have good conditions for navel production.

In my greenhouse the sweetness of stone fruit is greatly enhanced by deficit irrigation. I can hit 25-30 brix on many things. When I first figured that out deficit irrigation for enhanced sweetness wasn't widely known. Now it is. Does that hold up for citrus?

When I lived in CA near the navel orchards I seldom had really good fruit. No better than what I grew in my greenhouse.

Iíve read reports of extremely sweet citrus from unwatered abandoned trees in CA. Is that real? Or do I go the well-watered and heavily fertilized route? What brix is your really good citrus?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2024, 11:04:26 AM by fruitnut1944 »

sc4001992

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2024, 06:48:05 AM »
This year was low brix on citrus and loquats
For citrus the sweet oranges and grapefruit (Oroblanco) was only brix of 12.

fruitnut1944

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2024, 11:14:38 AM »
Thank you for your input. Citrus is low brix compared to stone fruit or mango. But 15 or 16 can taste very sweet and delicious. It's just a question of how to get there.

Anyone else know what brix their citrus produces and have some idea of why?

Oolie

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2024, 12:19:43 PM »
Deficit watering has worked well for me, I've gotten citrus with soluble solids far in excess of what you can buy in the store. How mature are your trees? I've found 5-7 years is normal for getting good citrus.

I will have to measure with a refractometer. Good store-bought citrus is such a rarity.

fruitnut1944

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2024, 12:46:34 PM »
5-7 years, yikes. I'm 5-7 years from having good citrus :'( I have heard that before. Which makes it sound like the tree needs a big root system before it can make good fruit. That goes along with the water deficit approach. The tree needs extensive roots in order to withstand deficit water and still function properly. A young citrus tree may just shut down when it gets dry.

With stone fruit the trees don't need to be nearly that old in order to respond positively to a water deficit. By the third year they seem fine with less water. Stone fruit trees aren't too dry as long as their not losing leaves. But at brix levels above 30 the fruit can develop off flavors. In the 25-30 brix range some, like the Honey series nectarines, can develop the best fruit flavors of anything I've ever eaten.

Sweet cherries are the stone fruit where it's easiest to reach 30+ brix. At 25-35 they are way better than store bought cherries. I had some Bings once at 32 brix plus high acid and incredible flavor while still crunchy. No fruit better than that for taste.

Very good to hear that deficit irrigation works for citrus. That at least gives me hope. Maybe I can last that long.

kulasa

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2024, 03:38:56 PM »
I just want to say that I was super excited to see your name on here lol Don't know if you remember me, but I bought a bunch of figs from you.


Lia

Millet

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2024, 04:38:29 PM »
Dr. Malcolm Manners, a professor of citrus culture, once wrote that the best tasting grapefruit he ever ate was from a 25 year old tree growing on the grounds of Florida Southern University.

fruitnut1944

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2024, 06:07:35 PM »
Hi Millet: Thank you for your input. Anything else that you could add would be greatly appreciated. I know that you have a big greenhouse full of citrus.

I've read enough here to know that you have a regular fertilizer program for citrus.

Are your trees in-ground? Do you know what kind of Brix levels you are getting.

Millet

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2024, 06:47:32 PM »

95% of all my citrus trees are growing  in the ground.  They are between 12 to 20 years old, and bloom and fruit every year. Most all of them are grafted upon Flying Dragon, with a few on C35.  They are 8 to 11 feet in height., and 12 to 15 feet wide.  Over all the years I have never tested for sugar content.  Actually I have never purchased the instrument to do the testing. I water them every Monday, and fertilize them every other watering.  I use rain water that I collect of my barns (about 60 x  55-galloon drums). I fill the drums 1/3 with hose water and 2/3 with rain water off the barns.  I have red grapefruit, white grapefruit, mandarins,  two types of satsumas, and a Valentine pummelo and couple of grapefruit crosses and a lemon. I also grow pineapples and strawberries. and tomatoes.

fruitnut1944

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Re: How do I grow really sweet in-ground citrus in my greenhouse?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2024, 09:20:42 AM »
Thank you Millet, that sounds like a great setup. I wish I could see your trees and greenhouse. It's got to be magnificent...!!!

Would you say that your citrus is sweeter than store bought or about the same? I'd imagine they're nice and juicy when picked at the right time.

 

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