7 Essential Tips for a Healthy Calamondin Orange Tree

The Calamondin orange tree, often known as a miniature orange tree, is a cross between a kumquat and mandarin orange tree. It produces sweet-smelling flowers and a fruit similar to tangerine. It is a hardy citrus tree that the US Department of Agriculture considers suitable for hardiness regions 9 and warmer. Therefore, if you don’t live in a citrus region, it is better to plant this orange tree inside your home.

Calamondin oranges are thick, small trees that can grow as high as ten feet. Its fruit is smaller than regular limes. Use scissors or clippers to get the fruit off of the tree. Avoid pulling them as it can promote deterioration.

Calamondin Orange Tree Care Calamondin Orange Tree

To maintain a healthy, fresh-looking, and fruit-producing Calamondin orange tree , it is critical to remember the basic maintenance guidelines. Take a look at the following orange tree care ideas to ensure the growth of your tree:

1.      Plant the citrus tree in a large pot having equal amounts of organic compost, vermiculite, and potting soil. Allow the  orange tree to expand and establish a well-developed root system.

2.      Give adequate amounts of water to your Calamondin orange tree. It is important to keep the soil humid, but not wet. Let the soil’s top layer dry out before you water the plant again. This orange tree benefits from being sprayed regularly with lukewarm rainwater and will help to keeps it healthy and reduce the incidence of black mold and red spider mites.

3.      Set the plant at a location where it can receive direct sunlight for many hours on a daily basis. Place it outside for some hours in the spring. Take the tree inside the house as soon as the temperature drops.

4.      Use a slow-release citrus formula to fertilize your small orange tree during the growing periods. You can lessen the strength of your fertilizer during the winter.

5.      Check your plant for insect infestations and diseases before you bring in inside for the winter season. Treat such problems immediately to avoid long-lasting damages.

6.      Prune your citrus tree to get rid of diseased or dead branches. Trim spurs or water sprouts that emerge from the roots or stem. Use plant scissors or clippers to avoid causing damage to the trunk.

7.     Keep your tree’s leaves dirt free to prevent scale and mite infections.

Can You Transplant a Calamondin Orange Tree?

Most citrus trees can flourish indoors when they are provided with the ideal conditions. Choose the right-sized containers to ensure the overall growth and root development of your dwarf orange tree.

Transferring to a Bigger Container

Citrus trees usually grow at a reasonable rate. However, development on the top of a citrus plant simply indicates that the roots are expanding as well. Transfer your tree to a bigger container after every 2 or 3 years to ensure proper root growth. In case the roots of your orange tree stop growing, move it to a new container and use high-quality citrus fertilizer. Water the soil, but don’t keep it wet. The roots will start growing soon.

The citrus plant’s energy may initially be focused on developing new roots, thus you may not observe enough growth on the top of your tree.

Avoid Stressed Trees

Since indoor plants don’t have to deal with environmental pressures, you can choose to transplant them whenever you want. Nevertheless, if you move your plant inside for the winter or outside for the summer, then it is better to avoid transplanting while it gets adjusted to its surroundings. Wait one or two weeks after relocating indoors or out prior to transplanting.

Furthermore, don’t transplant right after fungal diseases or pest problems. Make sure to transplant fresh, healthy, and unstressed Calamondin Orange trees.

Create the Ideal Soil Conditions for Your Calamondin Orange Tree

You can choose to grow miniature citrus trees in wooden, terracotta, or plastic containers. The only thing you should look for is the perfect drainage. You can pick a container with several small-sized drainage holes so that the soil doesn’t move through them.

Considering setting your citrus tree in the open air in the summer? Follow the basic rules of orange tree care and use the right planting medium.

The Calamondin orange tree is a great inclusion to your home garden that can fill the air with the sweet, tangy aroma of oranges.


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Tips on Watering Citrus Trees

Watering citrus trees can be tricky. With too little water, the tree will die and with too much water, the tree will die. This can cause even an experienced gardener to ask “How often do I water my citrus tree?”Watering Citrus Trees
Watering citrus trees is one of the primary factors for good quality fruit. They need plenty of water as they have shallow roots which are prone to rapid drying out and dehydration. If they are not properly watered, these trees tend to get affected by nutrient deficiencies, diseases and pests.

Water Stress

The first indication of water stress is the reduced fruit size. Another obvious sign occurs when your plants’ leaves start turning from bright green to a yellow color. Also, they start curling inside from the sides. Constant stress can make the leaves dry and hard. This process usually starts from the leaf tip and continues until it dies and falls off the tree.  Not watering your citrus plants for extended periods of time can make the entire tree lose its freshness and health.

How Much to Water Citrus Trees?

The need for water varies with the age of the tree, soil type, soil management and the micro-climate around the tree. Generally, during hot weather, a good soaking may be needed every day or twice a day for pot grown plants. During cooler periods, watering may only be necessary every week or even less.

For New Trees

Young, newly planted citrus trees don’t have an extensive or established root system. This is why watering citrus trees on a daily basis may not be a good idea unless it is hot weather. Instead, you can water such plants weekly. Water should be directed to the root ball. Moist root ball encourages proper root development in all directions.

Since there are multiple types of soil, you should consider your drainage conditions before watering your citrus plant. While watering in pots, make sure the container has enough holes to avoid soggy conditions.

For Fully-Grown Trees

Mature or well-established citrus trees can do well if they are not watered for two weeks. However, it largely depends on your local temperature. While watering citrus plants, avoid shallow watering sessions. This may negatively impact the root development. Every time you give water to a fully-grown citrus tree, let the soil dry off to a depth of nearly six inches. This is important to avoid plant problems caused by soggy, wet soil.

Mature citrus trees need to be watered out to their drip line and a little beyond. This allows the roots to get enough water.

Guidelines for Watering Citrus Trees

Watering sessions should be modified according to your soil conditions and climate. While watering these trees, choose frequent intervals if you have gravelly or sandy soil. However, it is better to go for irregular watering if your citrus tree is planted in clay soil or heavy silt. Water regularly if the temperature is excessively high and irregularly when temperature drops down.

The ideal way of watering citrus trees is utilizing a flooded basin created around the tree stem. You can even opt for drip irrigation. These watering techniques provide adequate amounts of water to the root system as well as soil.

Watering Citrus Trees with Hoses or Sprinklers

Using hoses or sprinklers may be a good idea if you want to provide water to citrus trees in small amounts. Since these tools may not provide the stem, foliage, fruits, and flowers with enough water, you may have to use frequent watering sessions. You can choose to design the watering system such that it can be stretched out to give water beyond the trunk. You may have to use multiple drip emitters and hoses as the trees expand.

Avoid using salty water while irrigating these trees. Salts can gather on the foliage or in the soil that can promote leaf loss or root deterioration. Salinity is likely to be a greater problem for silt soils or inadequately drained clay than for gravelly or well-drained soils.

Watering citrus trees is quite easy when you are able to determine your plants’ requirements before they start wilting.


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Kaffir Lime Tree Care

Kaffir Lime TreeThe Kaffir lime tree (Citrus hystrix) is often cultivated to be used in different Asian cuisines. It gives a sour, tangy taste to meals. However, the green, uneven peel of Kaffir limes make a dish of citrus fruits a little more tantalizing. This tree requires plenty of sunlight, adequate amounts of water, and quality soil to maintain its health. A fertilizer with lots of nitrogen is a prerequisite to support the growth of fruit and flowers. Manure pellets and slow-release fertilizers deliver the ideal nutrients to the Kaffir lime tree.

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Also known as Makrut lime, Leech lime or Thai lime, this lime is a variety grown mainly for its aromatic leaves rather than the fruit. The dark, glossy leaves look like two separate leaves joined together.  Mature fruit are yellow and bumpy and they have many seeds. They are usually harvested when still green. Juice and oils from the fruit are used in shampoos, cleansers and air fresheners.Kaffir Lime Leaves

About Kaffir Lime Trees

These lime trees are small with large sharp thorns. They are similar in size to a Western lime and the fruit is dark green with a bumpy surface. They prefer tropical conditions but can be grown in cold climates if protected from cool winds and given lots of sunshine.

Planting a Kaffir Lime Tree

The Kaffir lime tree grows well in pots. Though it can thrive outdoors, it is more appropriate for indoors. If you live in an extremely cold area, plant these trees in pots so that you can move them inside conveniently. Use a container that allows proper drainage.

Selecting a Location

Before planting your tree, pick a location that receives maximum sunlight. After all, this dwarf citrus tree may not bloom to its absolute potential in a shaded area. These trees can often grow as high as eight or ten feet, thus it is imperative to choose a spot that can accommodate your lime tree easily.

Time to Get Started

Use a spade to make a hole in the soil. This hole should nearly be twice the thickness of the root ball of your tree. Make sure to use well-drained soil to plant your tree. Place high-quality organic material or compost into the hole. Add fertilizer or soil amendments, if required. You can help the roots expand to the right level by arranging the walls of the hole with your spade.

Positioning Your Kaffir Lime Tree

Arrange the root ball of the tree in the hole. Use a spade to fill the hole with the soil. Flatten the surface to remove any possible air pockets. Spread enough soil around the stem such that this area doesn’t collect water.

Watering the Tree

Provide water to your newly-planted tree. Don’t provide too much water as it can cause root damage. If you’ve planted your tree in well-drained soil, make a basin around its perimeter so that water can run efficiently.

Fertilization Techniques

Noticing yellow leaves on your lime tree? This may be an indication of a deficiency of fertilizer. Implementation of proper, effective fertilization strategies can provide you with fully grown, juicy limes.

Spreading Compost Pellets

Once you’ve planted your tree, intersperse sheep or chicken compost pellets near its base. Spread these pellets to the drip line. It is important to leave enough space between the tree’s stem and pellets. When you water the plant, the pellets gradually start releasing nitrogen into the soil.

Applying Granular Fertilizer

Apply a grainy, slow-release fertilizer in spring as well as at the starting and end of the summer season. If your tree is around three years old, spread enough fertilizer around your tree’s base. You can even spread it beyond the drip line. You may have to use large amounts of fertilizer in case your tree is over three years old.

Get a Rake

Gently mix fertilizer with the soil using a rake. Avoid exerting too much force as it can damage thin roots.

Post-Fertilizing Watering

Once you’ve fertilized the Kaffir lime tree, give it almost one inch of water.

Care for Your Kaffir Lime Tree

Though Kaffir lime trees are likely to thrive in almost any kind of conditions, it is important to fulfill certain lime tree care requirements to ensure their optimal development.

Sun, Soil, Water – A Few Prerequisites

Kaffir limes grow well in well-drained, moist soil. If your tree is planted indoors, set it close to a sunny window. Provide them with adequate amounts of water during the growing periods. Since excessive water can damage its roots, it is better to let the soil dry out before you water your plant once again.

Protection From Frost

Kaffir lime trees need to be protected from harsh, cold climates. If your tree is planted outside, bring it inside the house during winter.

Efficient lime tree care can help you get a fully-developed, healthy, and sweet-smelling Kaffir lime tree.


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Essential Meyer Lemon Tree Tips

Meyer Lemon TreeA Meyer lemon tree is an aromatic bright tree that blooms indoors and outdoors in the winter season and offers you tasty, juicy fruit to titillate your taste buds. It is an excellent plant to grow in a pot as it tends to be smaller growing than other lemon trees.  After all, it can fill the entire house with the sweet fragrance of its blossoms and make your surroundings a little more colorful and vibrant. Growing lemons is quite a challenging task. Much like other citrus trees, they demand constant attention to turn into healthy, fruit-producing trees.

About the Meyer Lemon Tree

Before you decide to make this thornless tree a part of your indoor garden, it’s better to gather the basic details about its cultivation, pruning, and the overall maintenance. A fully-grown Meyer lemon tree can provide you with bright yellow fruits that are far sweeter than various other forms of lemon.  This variety of citrus is considered to be a hybrid between a lemon and a mandarin or an orange.  The foliage is similar to lemon but the fruit is more rounded, with light orange-yellow skin.

They produce loads of succulent fruit perfect to prepare your favorite dishes, lemonade, and tart desserts. The best thing is that they need minimal maintenance in moderate climates.

Where to Plant Your Tree

A Meyer lemon tree is grown outdoors in sunny areas. However, you can choose to plant a lemon tree in a pot inside your home. Choose the right space for these trees as they can get nearly 4-5 feet tall. Their growth largely depends on the amount of light they get, so it is better to place them in an area that gets sufficient natural light. How about keeping it close to a southern window? Let the tree get enough sunlight for several hours a day. Make sure you only buy  an ‘Improved Meyer’ lemon tree, as the original ‘Meyer’ harbors Tristeza virus.

The Right Fertilizer Matters 

A high-quality growing mixture is the perfect choice to cultivate your lemon tree in. Summer, fall, and winter are the right seasons in which you should fertilize your indoor plant. Citrus plants grow well in the soil that can provide them with lots of nitrogen. You can recognize lemon trees with poor nutrition by their stunted growth, yellow leaves, and very few fruit being produced. Luckily, nutritional deficiencies can be easily addressed with by adding nutrients to the soil. Water deeply once you have fertilized your lemon tree.

Water Your Meyer Lemon Tree Properly

These  lemon trees requires frequent watering. Though it has to be watered on a daily basis during the summer season, extremely damp soil will not benefit your plant. Think you can’t decide the amount of water your lemon tree needs? Consider using a moisture meter to ensure the freshness and health of your lemon tree indoors. Avoid watering your plant during the rainy season. Start watering again if it hasn’t rained for nearly two weeks.

Make Pruning Your Specialty

You may want to prune your 4-5 feet tall lemon tree to prevent potential diseases or inhibit the growth of suckers. Clip any diseased or damaged branches right from the base. Late winter is the right time to prune and shape your lemon plant.

Protection from Diseases and Pests

Mealy bugs and scale simply love to feed on lemon trees. You need to be extra vigilant if you really care for your indoor garden. Apply a homemade detergent or insecticide on your lemon tree as soon as you spot pests, spider mites, scale, or whiteflies. Rounded leaves need additional care as these are the ideal hiding places for aphids.

A Bonus Tip for Your Meyer Lemon Tree

As soon as your lemons mature, pick them. Wonder why? Well, this will promote fruit production and you are likely to have better fruit in the times to come. Care for your beloved plant to help it maintain its good looks and health. So are you ready to brighten up your kitchen garden with a tempting Meyer lemon tree?


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When to Pick Citrus Fruit

Picking a ripe orange from an Orange TreeCitrus fruit will hang on the trees for some time after maturity before the fruit deteriorates due to aging so you don’t need to rush to pick citrus fruit. This allows you to pick fruit fresh from the tree for a long period especially if they have several varieties ripening at different times of the year. A range of varieties may mean Navel oranges, Imperial mandarins and grapefruit ripen during fall/autumn, Emperor mandarins followed by Darcy mandarins in winter, Ellendale tangors in late winter, Lanes Late Navel oranges in winter-spring and Valencia oranges from spring through to fall/autumn. Limes ripen throughout summer and lemons are available most of the year. Fruit maturity varies in different climates and also depends on the rootstock used.

Most citrus fruit skin begin as a very dark green color and as they reach maturity, turn from green to orange or yellow depending on the variety. It may still be months before the fruit reaches optimum sugar content and distinctive flavor, as sugars increase and acidity decreases. If you pick one fruit from the tree and it tastes good to you, then usually the fruit will be ripe enough to harvest.

Harvesting – How to Pick Citrus Fruit
Most citrus fruit can be harvested by twisting and pulling the fruit from the tree. This should not be done with mandarins as the skin around the (stem end) will pull away from the fruit. The fruit will then be open for infection and will deteriorate rapidly. To prevent damage, clip the fruit off, cutting the stem just above the button. Lemons to be stored should also be clipped off in the same manner.

Citrus fruit to be stored, should not be picked when it is wet with rain or dew as this makes the fruit cells swell and fruit is easily bruised or damaged by rubbing. If too much moisture is present then fruit will not keep well. Always take care to handle fruit gently when harvesting.
You will find full details about when to pick citrus fruit in Grow Citrus: The Insiders Secrets to Growing Great Citrus

Image credit: Photo: Courtesy © Dvortygirl, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Picking_an_orange.JPG


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Best Kumquat Trees for Your Location

Kumquat Trees in ContainersSome kumquat trees are much better performers in gardens than others. Choosing the best kumquat tree to grow depends upon your usage, location, climate and growing conditions.

There are three varieties of kumquats (also known as ‘cumquats’), the Nagami and the Marumi (also known as the Calamondin) and Meiwa.

Nagami: the ‘Nagami’ kumquat is the best one for eating straight off the bush, as it is the sweetest. It is the most commonly grown kumquat and produces a high volume of small, bright orange oval fruit.  It makes an excellent container or pot plant. A kumquat tree planted in a container or pot will grow to a height of around four feet, but outdoor trees can grow to 13 feet or more.

Marumi (Calamondin): Marumi trees fruit several times a year, with the main crop in winter. The bushes are dense and they are the best looking of all citrus in containers. A beautiful variety with variegated leaves also is available.

Meiwa: Meiwa kumquat trees are more cold resistant than other varietals with larger, sweeter fruit—about the size of a small tomato. They are grown in China and Japan, but are rarely seen elsewhere.

For more information on these kumquat tree varieties refer to our Varieties of Kumquat Trees blog.

Location

Australia

Both the Nagami and Marumi kumquat trees are popular and grown widely in Australia.

United States

Florida

Both the Nagami and Marumi kumquat trees are cold-hardy and grown in Florida where they are harvested November to April.

Southern California

Both Meiwa and Nagami kumquats are cold-hardy. Tree foliage can withstand temperatures below 20º F

and therefore can be grown in areas that are too cold for most citrus. Fruit, however, are more cold sensitive.

Nagami is the most common variety found in grocery stores. Nordman Seedless Nagami, a new

release, has really nice fruit 1 to 1½ inches long without seeds, therefore, especially easy to eat or

preserve.

Texas

Both Nagami and Meiwa kumquats have very good cold hardiness and are suitable for growing in Texas.

You will find full details about kumquat trees and other citrus trees and great advice and photos on recognising and correcting nutrient deficiencies, pest and diseases and problems in Grow Citrus: The Insiders Secrets to Growing Great Citrus


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Best Lemon Trees for Your Location

'Eureka' Lemon Tree with Lemon Fruit

Some lemon trees are much better performers in gardens than others. Choosing the best lemon tree to grow depends upon your usage, location, climate and growing conditions.

Varieties of lemon trees include the ‘Eureka’, ‘Lisbon’ and ‘Improved Meyer’ lemons.  Lemon trees do not have a dormant phase in the winter and tend to produce flowers throughout the year so are vulnerable to cold weather. The ‘Improved Meyer’ is slightly hardier than true lemon and makes a better choice for home gardeners in a cold climate. For more information on varieties refer to Varieties of Lemon Trees Blog.

Varieties for Your Location

Australia
The ‘Eureka’ lemon tree is considered the best lemon tree for most areas of Australia. For cooler climate zones of Australia the ‘Improved Meyer lemon’ tree is also popular as it is the most cold-tolerant of all lemons.

United States
Florida

The ‘Improved Meyer’ lemon is the preferred variety for home gardens as the ‘Eureka’ and ‘Lisbon’ varieties are susceptible to citrus scab.

Southern California

The ‘Lisbon’, ‘Eureka’, Variegated pink ‘Eureka’ and the ‘Improved Meyer’ lemons are popular in Southern California. The Lisbon has cold resistance and is very heat tolerant. On the coast, trees can bear some fruit year round. ‘Eureka’ lemon trees bear fruit year round on the coast, fall and winter in the low desert valleys, and winter to spring production in the inland Riverside areas. Variegated Pink – a mutation of ‘Eureka’ that has variegated (green-and-white striped) leaves and immature fruit striped green and cream, mature flesh is light pink plus the tree itself is smaller making it very garden-friendly. ‘Improved Meyer’ lemon trees bear fruit year round.

Texas
Lemon trees growing outside the Lower Rio Grande Valley are at a distinct disadvantage with regard to climate, i.e., winter almost always will be accompanied by one or more freezes. Lemon trees are subtropical to tropical in nature; thus, they may suffer severe damage or even death because of freezing temperatures. However, there are some lemons that have sufficient cold-hardiness to sustain some freezing conditions.

If you live in coastal and southern Texas and are willing to put in the effort to provide cold protection for young trees, and sometimes even mature trees, you can successfully produce citrus fruits including lemons. The ‘Improved Meyer’ is popular in Texas due to it having fair cold-hardiness. The ‘Eureka’, ‘Lisbon’ and ‘Ponderosa’ lemon varieties are also grown but are less popular due to their poor cold hardiness.


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Whiteflies on Lemon Trees

Citrus whiteflies on the underside of a lemon tree leafOne of the most common pests of citrus trees in the home garden is whiteflies. Whiteflies are not actually flies but small white moths and can be a serious problem in the US and Australia. The tiny adult is about 2.5mm (0.10 inches) long and is a sucking insect usually found on the under-surface of citrus leaves. They multiply quickly in warm conditions to reach huge numbers on one tree. Luckily they don’t do permanent damage to trees however they do infest young leaves and flushes, sucking the sap from these tissues. No leaf or shoot distortion occurs but they produce honeydew (sugary secretions) which becomes a food source for sooty mould fungus.  The mould interferes with photosynthesis, leaving the citrus trees weakened and unable to produce a normal yield of fruit.

Whiteflies are best controlled by beneficial insects, light oil sprays, naturally occurring fungi and pruning. Natural predators of whitefly include damsel bugs, spiders, lacewings, mirid bugs, hoverflies, ground beetles and small birds. The adults and larvae of some ladybirds also feed on whiteflies. Whiteflies are strongly attracted to the yellow colour of sticky traps so hang these above or close to the top of the plants. You can also handpick and destroy older leaves to remove young whitefly stages.

Friendly orange-red fungi parasitizes immature whiteflies, so don’t be alarmed when you see these ‘good guys’ on the bottom leaf surface. Pruning to open the tree canopy and allow wind ventiliation can also help.  

You will find full details about whiteflies and great advice and photos on recognising and correcting nutrient deficiencies, pest and diseases and problems of citrus trees in Grow Citrus: The Insiders Secrets to Growing Great Citrus


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Varieties of Kumquat Trees to Grow

Nagami Kumquat (Cumquat) TreeDid you know that kumquat trees are probably the most overlooked of all citrus varieties. Kumquat (also known as ‘cumquat’) trees produce small fruits with intense flavour that should be used widely in cooking, but they are not. Forget limes, kumquats are a better choice. You can use the peel, zest or the entire fruit in making everything from cheesecakes to liqueurs.

Kumquat trees make very good container plants for small gardens or courtyards, with their handsome, compact foliage and lovely fragrant flowers. They belong to the genus Fortunella, although they were once classified with their close relatives, the Citrus. There are three varieties, the Nagami, the Marumi (also known as the Calamondin) adn the Meiwa.

Nagami Kumquat Tree
The ‘Nagami’ kumquat  is the best one for eating straight off the bush, as it is the sweetest. It is the most commonly grown kumquat and produces a high volume of small, bright orange oval fruit. The whole fruit, including the skin, can be eaten fresh, or made into marmalade or used for kumquat liquor and can be preserved as candy. It makes an excellent container or pot plant. A containerized tree will grow to a height of around four feet, but outdoor trees can grow to 13 feet or more.

Marumi Kumquat Tree
The ‘Marumi’ (also known as ‘Calamondin’) kumquat produces fruit that are flattened, like mini mandarins. Marumi trees fruit several times a year, with the main crop in winter. The bushes are dense and they are the best looking of all citrus in containers. A beautiful variety with variegated leaves also is available. Marumi trees are not quite as pretty in the ground, where they reach 3-4 m. This is the variety used for Chinese New Year celebrations.

Meiwa Kumquat Tree

Meiwa’ kumquat trees are more cold resistant than other varietals with larger, sweeter fruit—about the size of a small tomato. They are grown in China and Japan, but are rarely seen elsewhere.

For information on which kumquat tree would be best for your location check our Best Kumquat Tree for Your Location blog.

Kumquat Tree Care
• Full sun
• Before planting, dig in plenty of chicken, cow or horse manure into the ground.
• Keep citrus trees well watered when young fruit is forming in spring and early summer.
• Grass and citrus don’t mix. Keep the area beneath your citrus free of grass and weeds.
• Cover with a mulch such as lucerne, composted leaf litter or compost, but keep the mulch away from the tree trunk to avoid collar rot.

Kumquat Trees in Containers or Pots
• Trimmed and rounded citrus trees in pots are one of the main components of the fashionable Mediterranean or Tuscan garden. They have the added advantage of being able to be moved from place to place to enjoy the sunshine.
• Ensure that citrus in pots are well watered – once or twice a week in warmer months.
• Fertilise every six to eight weeks in spring and early summer.

You will find full details about kumquat trees and other citrus trees and great advice and photos on recognising and correcting nutrient deficiencies, pests, diseases and problems in Grow Citrus: The Insiders Secrets to Growing Great Citrus

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons images © Bugs 86, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fortunella_01.jpg


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Best Orange Trees to Grow in the Home Garden

Washington Navel Orange Tree with Orange FruitChoosing the best orange tree to grow in your home garden depends upon your usage, location, climate and growing conditions.

Big benefits
Orange trees produce many gloriously perfumed white flowers, sport glossy, green leaves and brightly coloured fruit – yellow, orange, green and almost red. Best of all, the fruit hold on the orange tree in good condition for many months after ripening. So orange trees provide long-term self-storage of fruit. Oranges are rich in vitamin C and are great for winter health including resistance to colds and ’flu. They protect the family from disease but most of us hardly give them a second thought.

‘Washington’ and ‘Valencia’ orange trees are far and away the most widely grown sweet orange varieties and the ones you are most likely to find at your local nursery. While many people love the taste of navel orange juice, the seedless ‘Valencia’ is also great for juicing and has fewer problems. You may encounter the following orange tree problems, pests and diseases: whiteflies, scale, aphids, fire ants, mites, scales, plant bugs, grasshoppers, katydids and caterpillars. 

‘Washington’ Navel
The ‘Washington Navel’ orange produces superbly sweet fruit in early winter. To eat the fruit off the tree, this is the best orange of all. But it has its disadvantages as follows:
• It is a hard variety to grow well, catching many diseases
• The fruit juice deteriorates rapidly
• It usually produces less fruit than ‘Valencia’ trees.

‘Valencia’
The ‘Valencia’ is one of the most widely grown orange trees in the world. It is a fast-growing, hardy tree and the fruit holds well on the tree for many months, making it a sweeter fruit than most other oranges in cooler areas. The fruit juice does not go off and turn sour in the refrigerator like ‘Navel’ juice does. ‘Valencia’ oranges are excellent to eat as well.

Best Varieties for Your Location

Australia
The seedless ‘Valencia’ is considered the best variety to grow in Australia as it has fewer problems than the ‘Washington’ navel and produces fruit over a longer period.

United States
Florida

If only a single citrus tree is to be grown, it may well be an early variety such as ‘Hamlin’ or one of the navel oranges. If there is room for more than one sweet orange tree, a midseason variety such as ‘Pineapple’ or ‘Midsweet’ or the late season ‘Valencia’ should also be considered. Selection of a tree from each of these three maturity seasons (early, midseason, and late) will supply fresh fruit continuously from early November to July.

Southern California
‘Washington’ Navels are popular and suited to cooler areas as they do not do not produce high quality fruit in the desert. They grow well in San Diego County, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Redlands areas. They can be harvested from January through April in home gardens.
Other navel oranges include the ‘Cara Cara’ which has reddish pink flesh and is similar to the Washington navel in taste and harvest time (February through March). The ‘Late Lane’ variety ripens late in the season, extending the harvest of navels into early summer. ‘Valencia’ oranges are also popular and ripens later than Navel (early summer through fall). The seedless variety is ‘Delta’. Blood oranges such as Moro and Tarocco do well in inland and coastal areas.

Texas
Orange trees growing outside the Lower Rio Grande Valley are at a distinct disadvantage with regard to climate, i.e., winter almost always will be accompanied by one or more freezes. Citrus trees are subtropical to tropical in nature; thus, they may suffer severe damage or even death because of freezing temperatures. However, there are some oranges that have sufficient cold-hardiness to sustain some freezing conditions. If you live in coastal and southern Texas and are willing to put in the effort to provide cold protection for young trees, and sometimes even mature trees, you can successfully produce citrus fruits including oranges.
The ‘Washington’ navel orange is popular in Texas due to it having good cold-hardiness. Other navel oranges grown include Texas, Everhard and Thompson varieties. The ‘Marrs’, ‘Pineapple’, ‘Hamlin’ and ‘Valencia’ varieties are also grown but it is worth noting that these varieties have poor cold-hardiness.

You will find full details about varieties of orange trees and other citrus trees and great advice and photos on recognising and correcting nutrient deficiencies, pest and diseases and problems in Grow Citrus: The Insiders Secrets to Growing Great Citrus


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