TRIFOLIATE ROOTSTOCK The trees are grown from day one in the bags so there is no transplant shock. The trees very quickly adjust to planting in the garden or in a container as there is no root disturbance. This rootstock is well proven commercially and able to withstand variable soil conditions i.e. dryish or wettish soil, is root rot resistant and produces very high quality thin-skinned and great flavoured fruit. Soil must be free draining, if it is not i.e. clay or a heavy soil, plant on a mound of good top soil. Citrus are gross feeders so it is important to fertilizer Spring and Autumn with a good citrus fertilizer making sure the fertilizer does not touch the rootstock bark when applying. Remove any fruit for the first year so the citrus tree can get a growth structure. The Citrus trees that containerize well are - Meyer, Tahitian and Kaffir Lime, Clementine Corsica No2, Satsuma varieties, Tangelo and the ornamentals, Kumquat Calamondin and Nagami and citrus varieties grown on the Dwarf Rootstock, Flying Dragon. Remember citrus responds to pruning and can be trained to grow in the space allocated to it, without being too detrimental to the crop.
PLANTING VARIETIES TOGETHER. Seed-less citrus varieties such as Satsuma, Silverhill, Okitsu and Corsica No 2, Washington & Carter Navels can be planted near seeded cultivators with success, as flowering periods do not usually coincide. However care should always be taken to plant Lemon and Grapefruit varieties as far as practical away from less-seeded varieties.
Citrus Problem Identification
Yellow Leaves Citrus requires free draining, high fertility soil and the planting aspect can in most cases be developed to suit. If the soil is a heavy clay type create a mound above, 1 metre in diameter and 300mm high and plant your tree on top. Always ensure excess water can be drained off the immediate root ball area of the tree.
Brown Leaves Browning on the underside of the leaves generally means the tree is open to cold winds. The only remedy is to shelter the southern, or prevailing wind side of the tree with artificial windbreak until better long-term shelter grows.
Tree sheds leaves Once again cold conditions or wet feet. Remedy - mound up tree or help with artificial shelter on cold prevailing wind side. Citrus is ideal to grow in containers but remember you will need to water more regularly and use a good quality potting mix when potting up. Fertilize a little and often, monthly during the summer months using a good citrus fertilizer.
Small Fruit drop off Citrus is a very heavy flowering tree and the health of the tree dictates how much set fruit it can sustain. Don't be alarmed if during Nov-Jan fruitlets drop off. The tree will maintain what it is capable of holding. It is normal to have a fruit drop during the summer. If the crop is very heavy, thin out some of the fruit when green which will help your fruit size and help your citrus tree becoming bi-annual bearing.
Planting your Citrus Tree Dig the hole no deeper than the soil height of the tree in the container. Do not put fertilizer in the hole, as it can easily burn the feeding roots. When planting cut the bag open and plant the cylinder of roots just as they are from the bag - do not disturb. Water liberally. Keep soil moist not wet. Use a specialist citrus fertilizer, as all the elements required are included in this mix. Spread around the tree about a fortnight after planting, watering it in. Make sure the fertilizer does not touch the stem, as it will burn the bark. This will go a long way to eliminating yellow leaves, poor growth, which attracts bugs and diseases.
Remove all fruit for the 1st year, this will allow the tree maximum ability to 'settle in' and produce more growth for fruiting in the years to come.
Citrus trees can be planted all year round as the trees have been grown in a bag/container from day one, so with no root disturbance, the tree does not sulk, so in the first year good growth should appear with warm soil temperatures.
CITRUS GROWN ON DWARF ROOTSTOCK FOR CONTAINERS AND SMALL GARDENS Dwarf citrus is ideal for containers because it is grafted on to rootstock that will significantly dwarf any citrus (around a third less of the usual size) which helps extend its useful life in a container and is also ideal for the smaller garden.
Meyer Lemon is an excellent producer of fruit. Perfect for a container as it flowers and fruits all the year round. If the fruit crop is heavy, remove some fruit when small and green, which will help keep the leaves green and healthy producing new growth for next season's fruit. Needs to be fertilizer more often than other citrus because it is a heavy producer of fruit, a little each month. Tahitian Lime is suitable to plant in a pot placed in a very warm situation. Fruit is ready in the winter months. The fruit turns pale yellow with the cold so it is very difficult to produce green limes in NZ as the winters are too cold. It is the cold that gives all citrus its colour. Yen Ben Lemon, a fast growing citrus producing an acid flavoured lemon. An ideal lemon to grow in the vegetable garden. Main crop in the winter months with a few fruit through the summer. Lisbon Seed-less Lemon, a fast growing citrus producing a heavy crop of fruit all year. More tolerant of heat, cold and wind than other lemons. Main crop July/Aug Clementine, Corsica No.2. Ideal to plant in a container. Small leaves giving a lovely dense look with smallish sweet round fruit in June/July. Encore Mandarin. Has upright growth, fruit ready Xmas holding on the tree until March. Best Seedless A navel orange, fruits August/September, great orange flavor Lemonade. Smooth yellow thin skin, oval fruit, a delicious tangy lemonade flavor. Upright growth habit
CONTAINER GROWING Whatever kind of container you choose, make sure it has good drainage. If using a terracotta pot, paint with a sealer before potting up to keep the moisture in. To prevent the holes from blockage, cover drain holes with some broken pieces of pots or similar, not stones as they block the holes. To facilitate drainage and allow good air circulation around the container, raise it slightly off the ground.
POTTING UP, WATERING & FERTILISING Use a very good citrus potting mix when potting up. Never use ordinary garden soil or compost for containerizing citrus. This is fine in the ground but will not work in a container. Once confined in a container, most garden soils are too dense and water drains too slowly. Plants in containers generally require more frequent watering than the same plants in open soil and citrus are no exception. Especially during hot, dry or windy weather, daily watering may be necessary. The basic rule is to soak the root ball thoroughly until water drains out the bottom. In some situations, water will drain out the bottom of the pot quickly, without soaking the root ball. When this happens place 3 to 4 drops of a mild dish soap around the citrus then water thoroughly. The soap will help the water to soak in so the root ball can expand to fill the container again. Frequent watering causes needed nutrients to wash through the soil more quickly than is typical in most soils in the garden. Supply nutrients with controlled release fertilizers i.e. slow release fertilizer, to reduce the number of applications necessary through the year. When using a general citrus fertilizer, to keep citrus in containers healthy, fertilizer little and often, preferably every 2nd month. If citrus is kept watered and fertilized, pests and diseases should not be a problem.
CALENDAR YEAR FOR FRUITING OF CITRUS May/June - all easy peel Satsuma mandarins, first is Miho, Okitsu, Miyagawa then Silverhill. June/July - Mandarin Clementine and Corsica No.2 July-August - All Grapefruit. June to December (some fruit all the year round) - All Lime varieties June to September (some fruit all the year round) - all lemon varieties except Meyer which has 4/5 blossoms a year. August/September - All sweet orange and Navel varieties September - Mandarin Richard Special November to February - Mandarin Encore December to February - Seminole Tangelo and Ugli December to March - Harwood Late
Wairere Nursery 826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm