janmarta

How is everyone preparing for winter?

Jan
last month

Hi there everyone just wondering how everyone out there is getting ready for the winter season. Bubble wrap? Greenhouse cleaning? Repotting? Buying grow lights? Decreasing ferts? Id love to know how everyone’s growing through the winter if it’s just to ripen fruits, keep it just stagnant and cold or actively growing in a high heat high light environment.


i saw a video a while back of someone growing in ground in a greenhouse called citrus in the snow using a geothermal greenhouse with very little electricity and using passive heat! Is snyone here doing this?

http://www.citrusinthesnow.com

Comments (31)

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    last month

    Good topic. I would also add spraying plants with pesticides before bring them in to the list. I usually try to spray twice once with soap and once with horticultural oil before bringing the plants in. I also let them stay outside as long as possible to about 36-37F (for most) - this is mainly to encourage the ants and other soil dwellers to migrate to the ground.

    No greenhouse here but need to clean the plant area well once more. May be repaint some of the shelves. Collect rain-water in the basement for use during the winter. I would probably also buy some more LED lights.

    Yes, seen that citrus in the snow before. There is another project like that in a larger scale but I cannot remember that now. Also have a look at "walipini greenhouse" on the web. It makes use of the heat from earth passively, invented in Bolivia many hundreds of years back.

    Jan thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    last month

    Slowly. All my decisions are made. Just assemble.

    Steve

    Jan thanked poncirusguy6b452xx
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  • beesneeds
    last month

    All I got is one little lime tree, and it's loaded with fruit for the first time this summer. So it will be soon enough and I will bring it in to the warm and bright south window in my kitchen.

    The rest of my gardens is a whole nother story, lol.

  • Bob
    last month

    What is the rush, just planning to bring my tree’s inside, which could pose a big problem.

    If you have a few trees loaded with fruits and you have to bring them in you have to be very careful. Broke a few last fall. That’s my main concern.

    Jan, I you don’t like any of your citrus varieties, use that variety as an inner stock. Just graft a variety that you like best. What kind of graft? A cleft graft, using a piece sionwood on both end. The one that grows best will be the keeper, the other will be used just to speed up the callusing process.

    Jan thanked Bob
  • bonsai_citrus_and_indoor_gardening
    last month

    I'll chime in. Hi! New-ish to the community but not citrus. My trees never go outside (nowhere to put them unless I want to put them in my driveway), but they live in a cool window in my living room which can get cold in winter, so I do some winterizing. Usually I just leave them be, shift them back from the window a bit and get ready to move the Nagami so I can put up a christmas tree, I also wrap them in christmas lights (not LED) and keep them that way from about early December to mid January/February when it starts warming up just a bit. Helps a little with the cold nights as the bulbs warm up a bit. This year I'm considering getting a grow light since my Fukushu is absolutely loaded with fruits, blooming for the 3rd time this year, and my Nagami is only finally starting to look healthy. But that's mostly to try to extend my day a bit since light from 7AM to about 4PM isn't really enough in a west-facing location. Also a nice reminder that I have a seedling lemon and a variegated cutting that need to be repotted before winter hits.

    Jan thanked bonsai_citrus_and_indoor_gardening
  • Bob
    last month

    Bonsai, like to grow all my citrus with bonsais principles, 4 or5 feet high, not shorter, not taller. If I need more fruits, I go to the store.

  • bonsai_citrus_and_indoor_gardening
    last month

    Bob, I do the same. I just pick the height that works best for me and keep them that way. I find that bonsai principles apply pretty well even on trees that I like to keep larger. Though I do have a few dedicated bonsai specimens as well, only one of those is a fruit tree though. I try to keep my citrus about 4.5 ft in height so I can easily pick any fruits, though I do let them grow a little wider before I trim them. I like the kumquats because you can get a bigger harvest from a smaller tree, though I hope to expand my collection once I have more space.

  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    last month

    Same here. I started with bonsai first and then got interested in other types of plants. Most including my yard plants get the bonsai treatment. A few years back got into citrus. Lost a few when they neglected one winter due to family emergency. Started over again and it has been about 2 years with few citrus.

    Jan thanked tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
  • kktayy PA ( Zone 6B)
    last month

    @tropicofcancer - What sprays do you use before bringing in your plants and also do you use any cover to protect your plants in the night. I am shooting to bring mine the first week of October although I would love to leave them little longer but worried about temps dipping into 40’s by late October.

  • poncirusguy6b452xx
    last month

    East and west walls done. Needs top and south to be complete.

    Jan thanked poncirusguy6b452xx
  • tropicofcancer (6b SW-PA)
    last month

    kktay: I leave a lot of my plants outside to below 40F with no protection. A few of my plants, like tropical hibiscus, do not like that - the leaves start drooping - and I bring them in a bit earlier. Citrus seem to be fine. Some others like ficus, succulents, etc seem to be fine too. Some like jasmines enjoy it and leave them out a little longer. I have a unheated shed that I use to shuffle plants in for short periods of cold. Last year I had quite a few plants into November.

  • Travis in PHX (9b)
    last month

    I've been thinking about this a lot even though it is still triple digits here in Phoenix. This will be my first winter with healthy citrus. Hoping to leave them outside because I don't have dedicated "grow" space indoors. Overnight temps can dip into the thirties. Rarely will we hit freezing and if we do, it's only for a couple of hours. I'm not sure how much protection my potted citrus will need. Covering with blankets seems like a pain to arrange every night, but I don't know if Christmas lights will provide enough supplemental heat. Any thoughts?

  • Ken B Zone 7
    last month

    Xmas lights work but you have to get the old incandescent type. Most lights you get today are LED and they barely give off any heat.

  • bonsai_citrus_and_indoor_gardening
    last month

    You can still find incandescents in some stores, usually for less money than the LED kind. (I know I still saw some at target last year).

  • Travis in PHX (9b)
    last month

    Yes, I've seen incandescents in my local stores, too. What is most at risk of cold damage, roots or leaves or limbs?

  • Dave in NoVA • N. Virginia • zone 7A
    last month

    I for one, am taking in a lot of carbs to build up my layer of fat. I hate winter.

  • bklyn citrus (zone 7B)
    last month

    Still very nice here in NYC, some of the Citrus is flushing growth. I did a spray of insecticidal soap on them and treated anything I won't possibly be eating from with a systemic drench (seedling Citangequat and Morton, anything in a one gallon, some 2 gallons smaller trees. I just ordered some Horticultural Oil (I have NEEM) as another tool. I'm going to have my inside space with lights clean and ready to go but leave everything out as long as possible. So I'll be spraying more. It's funny very early in Spring I got hammered by every kind of bug in the garden. I was spraying my usually productive apples (no spray) daily to no avail and I did the dormant spray route with NEEM and Copper separately in winter, For like a 30 - 45 day period it was hell. I resorted to orchard sprays (no difference) and attacked all the ants in entire backyard with Terro (very successful) Then the predators Finally came out and balance was restored (too late for my apples). I usually DO NOT spray poison of any kind. I mean I can live with a chew hole in a leaf here and there........The Citrus I put out for summer have been bug free and I haven't done anything.

  • Jan
    Original Author
    last month

    Wow wow I seem to have missed a lot! I’m reading through everyone’s posts so interesting how everyone’s growing for different goals and under different environments. I think the common thread is everyone hates bugs and pests and tries to keep their trees outside for as long as possible To deter them from hanging onto the trees! Such a great thread with everyone chiming in :). It has been so crazy with the weather lately here in Vancouver we are suffering from the smog from all the forest fires along the coast from California to Washington the sky is pretty much black from all the smoke! So I decided to bring half my citrus into the greenhouse lol I know it’s far too early but i got antsy!


    bob this ones for you ive been grafting the last couple of days actually I did so many grafts on this Buddha’s hand rootstock! Hope at least one will take I accidentally left it out in the rain today so I had to take off the tape dry it off and retape the thing! It’s for practice purposes only though as I was cutting off lots of minneola water sprouts it just shot up within a week so I trimmed it off but used it all for grafting! Bob it’s addicting this propagating and grafting before you know it I’ll have more trees than I’ll know what to do with. I’ve never tried other methods I’ll have to google it and try it out! I am looking to do another graft from a New Zealand rootstock that I’m not a fan of either.


    lol Dave I think I got all the fat I need from the quarantine!


    bob and bonsai it’s interesting the concept of bonsai what makes me the most nervous is the trimming of the roots I’m terrified to trim the roots of my citrus never done it before without some decline so I keep up potting but eventually I’ll have to do the dreaded deed! You guys must be a pro at that.


    Brklyn you’re lucky mine are always infested with red mites year after year no matter how many times I spray them I’m starting to think they’re in my greenhouse


    travis I keep my greenhouse at just above freezing so I’m thinking your trees will be fine but if your trees are in ground I’d worry about the leaves and fruits roots should be fine. If it’s in pots then I’d worry about the roots.

  • Jan
    Original Author
    last month

    Tropic just googled walipini greenhouse its fascinating thank you!


    steve you have so many of those greenhouses that you build how tall do you usually build them to? And do You plan to just keep the citrus within the height of the glass room?

  • bonsai_citrus_and_indoor_gardening
    last month

    Jan, I know what you mean about the smoke. It's been bad where I'm at too. Hard to go outside, you couldn't see across the street it was so bad a few days.


    Those red spider mites are also an issue at my place, they're outside literally EVERYWHERE, you can see their handiwork on most of the trees I pass when I go for a walk, and if you put a plant outside they're all over it. I used to have flowers in front of my front door, (I have a tiny little nook by the door that can hold a stand with a little pot), and after they devoured them three times I gave up. I even found them on the silk flowers I tried for a little while. They're a curse. Indoors I've taken to drowning the suckers, there's something satisfying about seeing them in the bottom of the bucket when you pull the plant up. But outdoors that's just not practical. I had heard from somewhere that predatory mites and other predators can take care of them, and I did successfully use mosquito bits (thanks silica!) to kill fungus gnats that kept nesting in my pots on watering day (they swarm the house in august/september and you just can't keep them out). So the predator route might be worth a try. I haven't had the opportunity to do any real outdoor gardening, but it's always in the back of my mind, since we plan to buy in the same area and everyone I know with outdoor gardens deals with them.


    I haven't had to root prune my own citrus yet, I plan to keep them in 16 inch terra cotta for the long term and right now my most productive tree is only in a 12 inch pot. I only moved my big tree to a 16 inch this year. But, I've spent years helping a family member with their citrus and root pruned a few times. Depending on when you do it, it can be less of an issue for the tree. I didn't start on citrus though, I tested it out on smaller houseplants first, then a few ficus and then moved on to the citrus trees. A good practice plant is anything that grows quickly because you can see results right away. Once you get used to it, it's not too bad.

  • Travis in PHX (9b)
    last month

    Those red spider mites sound terrible! Thankfully, I haven't had an issue with those yet (that I know of). Mostly I deal with thrips and aphids. Can't ever keep them off my new growth. I didn't realize that root pruning was such a risky endeavor. I've read Al's descriptions and thought it was straight forward. Glad to read the above comments, now I will practice on something else first. I'll be thrilled when my trees reach a maturity such that root pruning is necessary ;).

  • Silica
    last month

    I'm NOT saying that root pruning is a bad practice, it is not. I am saying that root pruning is a RISKY/DEADLY practice, most especially for new growers, or those with little experience.

  • Travis in PHX (9b)
    last month

    And that is why I'm scared and will try and find something I can practice on....assuming my current trees are still thriving in a few years :)

  • bonsai_citrus_and_indoor_gardening
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Silica, I agree. That's why I recommend practicing on a fast growing and cheap plant before you try it on something more valuable. The trick is knowing how much to remove/what to remove, and when to prune, and that really only comes with experience.

  • Jan
    Original Author
    last month

    Travis you’ll make it to the next few years don’t worry! This is so exciting though I remember getting my first few trees congrats :)


    silica I’ve had such terrible leaf drop every time I mess with roots and the new growth will come but it take so long!

  • Jan
    Original Author
    last month

    Bonsai oh no! where are you? Are you really close to the west coast? I agree I’ve had to stay inside due to my asthma we are worst than every country in the world right now it’s insane and I heard it’s gone all the way to nyc too so far! Bonsai I hate those red mites seriously I tried everyone and one sucker always always survives and I see pale leaves again I can’t stand it! Let me know what works for larger trees lol I can’t exactly dunk a large tree :) bonsai Ihave tons of zz plants indoors I suppose I’ll try with that first!

  • Ken B Zone 7
    last month

    Jan, while zz plants are nearly indestructible, they don't have normal roots, they have rhizomes so they would not make a good candidate for practicing root pruning.

  • Travis in PHX (9b)
    last month

    Any other recommendations on a good practice plant?

  • bonsai_citrus_and_indoor_gardening
    last month

    Jan, I'm in washington state, but nowhere near any of the fires, our air quality seems to be slowly improving, but it's still not good.


    What I've taken to doing with my bigger plants, (and if I can, it all depends on the pot), is submmerging just the pot in water for an hour or two (I usually do this if I have more than one reason to soak the root ball), then using a strong hose or other sprayer to spray off the leaves. What I noticed about the red mites is that they'll drop down into the soil (where they overwinter) and then hide, once whatever spray is gone, they crawl back up into the plant. If the soil is in water, they fall into the water and drown in about an hour. Any that were already knocked into the soil will drown, and the plant should be clean. Sometimes you don't get them all so you have to repeat once or twice, but for an indoor tree it usually does the trick. If the tree is big I've taken to using light sprays with rubbing alcohol and cleaning the leaves, but mine are indoors so I've managed to keep them off for the most part. If the tree is outside where they are horticultural oil sprays and washing them down seems to help, but a large spider population seems to do more. I've heard that predatory mites can be successfully introduced into pots to control them as well, but I've never tried it.


    Let's see, a good practice plant. It all depends on what grows quickly in your area. I first practiced on a fast growing vine I had, but I never knew what it was. It was given to me as a gift and grew like a weed, left alone it could take over a room very quickly. I also practiced on the roots of a rhyzomatus begonia that I have that required it because it grew so fast, but that doesn't have normal roots. If you can get your hands on a cheap small fig tree, (or ask someone who has a tree for one of the root sprouts) they can take a lot and come back, honestly my best practice was on figs because my mother had a tree that was always popping sprouts around it. I guess good practice plants depend on what you have available and what grows quickly where you are that has ordinary roots.

  • Nick (9b) Modesto Area
    last month

    i'm preparing by taking off all shade protection on 5 younger Avocado trees and waiting for my satsumas to ripen :)

    Will be trimming all my stonefruit trees next month.

    All my trees are outside year round.