Thursday, March 5, 2009

All About Our Citrus

So I thought I would expand a bit on our citrus trees. We were lucky to find all the varieties we wanted at our local nursery, and I would suggest anyone interested in growing their own fruit trees look at independent nurseries as opposed to Home Depot or Lowe's, I've noticed the varieties they have aren't well adapted for our area. We may have gone a little overboard for our first year of growing citrus, but ended up purchasing a Meyer Lemon, Mexican Thornless Lime, and a Joey Avocado.

The Meyer Lemon is a great tree for our area, it is cold hardy down to 25°F, can be pruned to whatever size best fits your area, and is a heavy bearer of fruit of August through about January. I didn't realize when we went to pick it up what a beautiful tree it is, the blooms are a nice pinkish-purple color and are very fragrant. The blooms have started setting fruit, which unfortunately we have to pick off most of this year so the plant can establish itself. This is one of the trees we will be growing in a container on the back porch. If planted in the ground it could grow to about 8-10 feet tall, but we will probably keep it pruned back so it is easy to pick the fruit without using a ladder, and so it is about the same size as the lime tree.
The lone lemon I'm going to let it develop this year.

The Mexican Thornless Lime is a very small tree, looking almost more like a bush with the way the branches grow. It can't handle the cold like the lemon tree can, but with it in a container we will be able to bring it into the house during any hard freezes. This one will produce some amount of fruit all year round, perfect for margaritas or a frosty Corona. I'm excited to see that it started setting blooms this week.

Both of the container plants were planted in Citrus Mix soil. It's a specialty blend of soil created specifically for growing citrus trees in containers. It has good quality soil for drainage and easy root growth, compost to provide beneficial organic matter, and special soil amendments to provide the nutrients these trees will need. Plus they both got a nice layer of mulch to keep the soil from drying out too quickly. Hopefully by giving them a good start they will become well established in their containers and bear great crops for years to come.

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