Duarte Nursery

nursery green house

FAQ

Will my citrus trees live in a zone as cold as 5-6?

The best way to determine whether or not your type or variety of citrus will grow in your zone is to find it under our variety descriptions. You can also use http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/  to determine your zone using your zip code. If you do not have the ideal zone, there are other ways to protect your citrus tree from cold temperatures such as, keeping it in a pot and covering it or bringing it inside when temperatures drop below that varieties hardiness zone.

How much and how often should I water my plant?

Depending on your soil type, irrigating your tree weekly, more or less, is ideal.  Soil type can be a huge factor in irrigation so home owners should become familiar with their type so it can be considered.

The best way is to build a basin around the tree when planting it that is 4-8 inches high and 3-4 feet wide (or as big as the canopy of the tree). You then place a hose in the basin on low until it fills up so that the tree has a good soak.  When you soak a tree slowly, it promotes that tree to better establish deeper, stronger roots.

If you are concerned about water conservation, placing mulch around your tree would be beneficial. This will reduce water evaporation and retain soil moisture within the root zone. Mulching will also reduce the soil temperature, act as a weed control, and will eventually decompose which will add organic matter to your soil. Apply two to four inches of mulch under the plant canopy making sure not to put it in direct contact to the truck. Mulch can consist of pine needles, leaves, bark, wood chips, straw, compost, or any other organic materials.

You can also tell if the tree needs to be irrigated by sticking your finger down an inch or so into the soil near the tree and if it feels dry then it should be watered. If you notice the leaves wilting it is a good indicator that is lacking water. Once the tree begins to establish and grow, you will need to irrigate it less often. It is important for the trees to have adequate water to grow and fruit correctly

You can also be damaged your plant by over watering. This is very common.  Roots need oxygen and water.  If they are in waterlogged soils with no time to dry the roots will just rot, and plant will wilt and not respond to water. Use the finger test or a spade to check soil before watering again.

What rootstock is my tree grafted onto?

In order to determine which possible rootstocks you tree could be grafted onto, you would first need to know what type of tree and variety that you have. We use a variety of rootstocks on different types and varieties of trees that we find to produce the most successful tree.  Rootstocks are usually specific to the species of tree. For example, we do not use the same rootstocks for apples or citrus as we do for peaches or cherries. The rootstocks we choose are based on their healthy root systems, pest and disease resistance, and vigor or productivity.

What fertilizer do I use?

Fertilizing your fruit is specific to what species or type of tree you have. Different types of plants should be fertilized depending on their growing season and what nutrients they require at that time. There are some great resources on the care and instructions page that recommend fertilizing specific to the species or type.

I would like to transplant my citrus tree, what size pot or container should I use?

The size of the container or pot should be determined on the type of citrus that you have. It is important that you make sure that whichever container you choose has good drainage, so holes in the bottom of the pot are ideal. It is recommended to put it a container at least 25% bigger than its current container, but will eventually need to be transplanted into a larger pot as it grows and fills in the one it is in.

To avoid transplanting your citrus tree multiple times or your tree becoming root bound, it is best to give it adequate space to be able to grow and stay healthy. Some of the smaller types of citrus such as calamondins, kumquats, and limequats can be transplanted into a 15-25 gallon container or pot. Larger trees such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pummelos, and citron should be planted in a 25-50 gallon container or pot to last the longest. If you decide to put it into a pot too small, the tree will eventually become root bound and its health and productivity will start to decline. You will also get an idea when this is happening because you will have “less” soil in the pot and let water holding capacity, needing more frequent irrigations to keep the plant from its wilting point.

Citrus trees require full sun and will need to be deep soaked every week or so to ensure the tree is getting enough water and will need to be monitored more so in a container. You can also add mulch to reduce water evaporation and retain soil moisture within the root zone. Mulching will also reduce the soil temperature, act as a weed control, and will eventually decompose which will add organic matter to your soil. Apply two to four inches of mulch under the plant canopy making sure not to put it in direct contact to the truck. Mulch can consist of pine needles, leaves, bark, wood chips, straw, compost, or any other organic materials.

They will also need to be fertilized once every one to two months and pruned to maintain its shape, size, and container compatibility.  If you plan to over-winter your potted citrus tree, you should place it in a shaded area a couple weeks before bringing it inside and place it in the brightest, sunniest window that you have. You can also use http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/patiocitrus/containers.html for tips.

Are the citrus and olives dwarf plants?

Yes, the olive varieties that we carry are all dwarfs and will grow 10-15 feet tall at mature height. If you prefer to have an even smaller sized tree, it is recommended to establish the small form early by topping the central leader at 24” above the soil.  This will establish scaffolds close to the ground.  Then shaping / pruning the tree once or twice a year.

What variety of olive tree did I purchase?

The tree you purchased would be one of three Spanish varieties Arbequina, Arbosana, or Koroneiki. These are all smaller sized olives that are great for oil production but can also be cured and served as table olives. The best way to establish what variety you have is by matching harvest dates.

Arbequina’s harvest date is mid-October to late October. Arbosana and Koroneiki are harvested in early November to mid-November. Arbosana has larger olive than Koroneiki, but takes 2-3 years to start producing olives. Arbosana is also more cold-hardy than Koroneiki, but Koroneiki tends to be more drought tolerant.

What variety of citrus tree did I purchase?

The tree you purchased may be a variety of citrus that we produce. The different types of citrus range: oranges, grapefruit, pummelos, lemons, limes, calamondins, kumquats, tangelos, citron, and limequats. The best way to determine what citrus you have is to find the tag or trunk wrap that was attached to the tree when purchased. If you do not have that available, you would then need to begin a process of elimination by tree size, leaf shape, bloom and harvest time, or fruit appearance and taste.

What is the difference between Improved Meyer Lemon and Meyer Lemon trees?

The original Meyer Lemon was a symptom-less carriers of the tristeza virus which was spread by the brown citrus aphid. The most obvious symptom was a decline in the tree’s health and loss of productivity. The Improved Meyer Lemon was propagated from a heat-treated selection of a virus-free tree that still had the desirable characteristics of the original Meyer.

Is an Improved Meyer Lemon tree a GMO?

The original Meyer Lemon was a symptom-less carriers of the tristeza virus which was spread by the brown citrus aphid. It was treated through heat therapy in order to produce in virus-free selection, which is now called the Improve Meyer Lemon. Therefore, it is not a GMO. The Improved Meyer Lemon still has the desirable characteristics of the original Meyer, but without the decline in health and productivity.

Will citrus trees fruit in Canada and other harsh winter locations? (Our tag says guaranteed to fruit)

They can fruit if environmental conditions can be mimicked.  Placement of the tree in sunny, warm locations and frost protection would be best.  In extreme cold places (like Canada) keeping it indoors would be best.  Some citrus is self-pollinating so it does not need to be outside for wind or bee pollination. A possible option would be hand pollinating the tree if it begins to bloom while inside.