This is the newest addition to the garden. Owari Satsum Mandarin produces seedless, easy to peel fruit that ripens in early winter. This variety is supposed to be the hardiest of all the mandarins. The dwarf variety is expected to mature to 6’-8’ but pruning will keep it where I prefer.
Here is the Satsuma Mandarin that didn’t make it. It produced fruit in it’s 1st season; but it didn’t make it through the spring of 2009. This picture was taken on November 1, 2009. I hope to remember to take a similar photo of the new tree on November 1, 2011 to note the progress.
There are other dwarf citrus from Four Winds that are growing well in the garden.
The Variegated Pink Lemon is doing so well that it needs regular pruning. I never realized that the branches were scented until I pruned this tree recently. The cut branches were heavy with a citrus scent. Wonderful. This tree has produced some fruit.
Poor little Robertson Navel Orange was having a tough time. It may have suffered whatever attacked the Satsuma last year. I kept pruning off the affected areas with pruning shears that were sterilized after every cut. It seems to be doing better and needs a bit of dead wood removed. It has produced some fruit but dropped it early on. All the trees are very immature and really aren’t ready to hold fruit. (Someone needs to read the memo to the grapefruit tree.)
The Rio Red Grapefruit is producing some monster sized fruit that should be ready this winter. The citrus trees are fed about every 6 weeks. They seem to be doing fine with that schedule. It’s important not to overwater citrus. I let the soil dry out pretty good before irrigating. The pot or growing basin is filled with water then allowed to drain down through the root system. A moisture monitor is really useful. When the surface is dry, it’s very tempting to irrigate the trees. The moisture meter indicates that just below the surface the soil is moist and no water needs to be applied.
When the rain came, I needed help draining the soil. GardenMax seemed to help keep the drainage from getting clogged by surrounding native clay. Truly. The native soil is simply adobe. Most all the garden soil has been imported or amended - otherwise I would be able to only grow tumbleweeds.
The lot where I garden was supposed to have been an Orange grove in the 1960s; so I know it can be done. This area on the west side of the Sierra Nevada has a thermal zone that is suitable for citrus to thrive. Having citrus to enjoy in the winter is a great treat that reminds me of Christmases long ago.