michelle103
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Growing oranges in Autumn?

I'm thinking of buying a fruit tree, ideally lemons or oranges. However I'm not sure whether to wait until next year because I know they're native to warmer climates.

Can anyone give me any advice on this?

thanrose
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Re: Growing oranges in Autumn?

Since oranges are a sub-tropical to tropical fruit, it almost doesn't matter when you buy one. What does matter is where you are in terms of region or climate or hemisphere, and how you hope to grow it (in ground, in pot, in greenhouse, dwarf or full size, for fruit or flowers or novelty) and how experienced you are at growing things.

Anyone can sprout a citrus plant from fresh seeds found in store bought fruit. This can be very rewarding. I've done it and had fruit from them in later years, but I took a Boston grown young tree and planted it in Orlando. Not advisable due to disease possibilities.

Oranges will be picked in autumn through winter, depending on locale and variety. Oranges will flower from December through maybe April, depending on same. Mandarins, tangelos, clementines, tangerines and all those flat or smallish sorts will be in market soon. Already in my area, but I know grocers aim for Thanksgiving or later.

Most cold tolerant are the tangerines and the kumquats. Kumquats are in the Fortunella rather than the Citrus genus. You could probably grow them in ground in Zone 8. Something like a blood orange you want in a drier and warmer climate like Israel or southern California, probably USDA 10. People in British Columbia and in the British Isles in the warmest locations can sometimes grow sheltered citrus, but they are very much experienced or dedicated.

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Gary350
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Re: Growing oranges in Autumn?

When I lived in Arizona citrus trees were easy to grow. Mandarin orange is the best, sweet, good flavor, trees are not very large but large enough to give you 2 or 3 bushel baskets of oranges every year. Nice thing about citrus trees you do not have to pick the fruit just leave it on the tree until your ready to eat it. I had a Mandarin orange tree in my yard, my aunt had 2 orange trees, my other aunt has a lemon tree and 3 orange trees, my parents had a grapefruit tree and 1 orange tree. Fruit is ready to harvest about December. We ate the fruit from the trees and still had good fruit on the trees 9 & 10 months later. Fruit did not spoil as long as it stayed on the tree. Best time to plant all trees is in fall when weather is colder. Now is the best time to plant a tree. Arizona has about 3 weeks of cold weather in the 20s at night then 65 to 70 degrees during the day, it is rear to see a cloud in big sky country. It was 21 degrees 3 nights in a row and 23, 25, 27, 28 several times for a month. Frost every night for a month was no problem for the citrus tree. It snowed 4 years ago in the Phoenix area it lasted about 1 hour then it was gone. Trees can handle a little bit of cold weather, I'm not sure how much cold it takes to kill a citrus tree. Palm trees in my AZ yard suffered more than the citrus trees, palm trees lost all there leaves and looked dead but leaves grew back several months later. AZ has very sandy soil food value for plants is very close to zero 8-8-8 fertilizer worked good on the citrus trees.

Your geographical location and weather will determine if you can grow a citrus tree. I know some people in TN that have a citrus tree in a very large container that they built. They built a 4'x4' wooden frame box with a dozen caster wheels on the bottom and a box of soil on top. Their Mandarin Orange tree stays outside, spring, summer, fall, when weather gets below 30 at night they push the tree into the garage at night then bring it out in the day.

I could plant a Mandarin Orange tree in my TN yard but I'm not sure how it would do with 3 months of mid 20s weather Mandarin Orange trees do good in a few weeks of mid 20s in AZ. A portable heated green house might be needed for a few months to keep a Mandarin Orange tree alive in my yard.

You need to pick all the fruit from the tree if you want new fruit to grow. I'm not sure when all the fruit needs to be picked I usually had all the fruit gone buy August or sooner. Mandarin Orange is another name for Tangerine.



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thanrose
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Re: Growing oranges in Autumn?

Great tips, Gary.

Outdoor, inground citrus trees have cold tolerances that can vary quite a bit depending on soil and humidity. Because AZ is generally sandy and dry, they can tolerate a bit more cold than the same trees could in coastal Carolinas.

Least cold tolerant are limes. Most cold tolerant are tangerines and similar orange colored smaller citrus fruit. The next most cold tolerant would be most of the oranges followed by grapefruit which are just a wee bit more sensitive to cold. Then the lemons.

In North Florida, you might find some commercial large crop growers of tangerines, mid state is Orlando and biggest orange production is thereabouts, with grapefruit especially suited to the slightly warmer East, or the Space Coast. Lemons are still south of that: Miami, Naples. Limes in the extreme south with Key Limes being the most delicate and growing in the Keys.

That isn't to say that home growers and landscape nurseries won't have any of these growing throughout Florida. Commercial crop production can't tolerate too many hits on annual crops, so it just doesn't pay to grow grapefruit in the panhandle. They might have a few years of good production followed by a couple of freezes.

I lived in Orlando, mid state, thirty years ago or more. There were the skeletal remains of citrus groves all over the place then because of a few hard freezes. They've never replanted because they've moved south. Now that it's getting a bit warmer annually, the big growers might start coming back north a bit.

Two things about water and citrus. They don't like to be wet. But if a freeze is imminent, a continual mist of water may save your tree and its fruit. The ice coat on the tree actually insulates it from slightly colder air at dawn. It's counterintuitive, but it will work for a short time and a short differential. This works better if your ground is not saturated when you start the misting.

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