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Caring for and Maintaining Your Rio Red Grapefruit Tree

Rio Red Grapefruit Tree Growing

Do you love the flavor of a Rio Red grapefruit? If so, why not grow your own? Learn how to care for and maintain these grapefruit trees below.

Citrus has life-saving properties-from boosting the immune system to fighting cancer. Having this class of fruit around makes a world of health difference

So, if you have a grapefruit tree, it would do you well to nurture and maintain it. 

Red grapefruit trees originated in Barbados, but they're grown in six different countries. The US has huge admiration for the fruit, growing it in Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona.

This fruit is flavorful and versatile, transcending the body to cleaning products. That's right. You can use it to heal the body and clean the house.

If you're unsure of how to look after your Rio Red grapefruit tree, here's how. Review these tips on how to care for and maintain it.

The Rio Red Grapefruit Grows Better in the Right Location

As with any fruit, planting location matters. Avoid planting the Rio in soil that's clay laden or high in salinity. 

It's important to plant this fruit in the right soil location. That location should promote fruit production and increase the lifespan of the tree. 

This tree has a lot of aesthetic beauty, but you'll stunt its growth if it's planted too close to the road and building structures. 

Choose a sunny location and plant the tree in a loam soil mixture. It's ideal for plant-growing and grapefruit trees do well in it. 

Fertilizer and Watering

Never wait until a tree looks dry to water it, especially red grapefruit trees. Put your tree on a watering schedule.

If it's a new tree, water it more frequently-every three to four days. Once the tree matures, stretch that schedule out a few days-ten at the most. Use a moisture meter to make sure you don't overwater it. Too much moisture could damage the root of the tree. 

To maintain the beauty and health of the tree, use fertilizer. Based on the geographical location of the tree, measure the fertilizer based on the age of the tree. And, try to fertilize in the growing season. 

Start the process with one cup of ammonium sulfate fertilizer, then increase that amount as the tree ages. 

Trimming and Weeding

The Rio grapefruit is a low-maintenance fruit. There's not much pruning required except for dead branches and tree suckers stemming from the base of the tree. 

And depending on the size of the tree, the new growth might need trimming as well. If you're growing more than one tree, keeping in mind trees grow at different rates. Adjust the pruning schedule to accommodate each tree.

Weeds compete for moisture and nutrients. Keep them away from the base of your tree. Weed when needed, especially after it rains. Be sure to pull the root with the leaves to prevent them from growing back. 

Climate Changes

These grapefruits do better in warm climates. So when a rare cold snap arises, you'll need to baby your tree. 

Make use of a tarp. Drape it around the base of the tree and secure in the ground so it doesn't fly away. This should protect the tree from frost damage during freezing temperatures. 

Care for Your Treef

How you nurture your Rio Red grapefruit tree yields many benefits. A healthy citrus tree produces wholesome, nutritious citrus fruit

That fruit, in turn, provides nutritive benefits for the body-weight loss and heart health. 

Read over our citrus care guide for more insight into caring for your citrus.

Persian Lime Tree Care: Water, Fertilization and Maintenance Tips

Persian Lime Tree Care

Do you want to grow healthy Persian limes? If so, use this guide for helpful tips and insight into Persian lime tree fertilization, maintenance and care.

Margaritas, Mojitos, Mexican beer, Diet Coke, water. 

No, we are not talking about happy hour. These are all drinks that are often served with a lime wedge. Let's be honest, there's nothing better than a squirt of fresh lime juice to make your beverage a little more refreshing.

Want an endless supply of lime wedges? Maybe you love limeade or lime-rickeys. No matter what your drink of choice is, there's always a need for limes.

Do you want to grow limes? If so, use our guide for lime tree fertilization, maintenance, and care, here.

Planting

Let's start at the beginning: choosing and planting your lime tree.

Of all the citrus varieties, lime trees are the most sensitive to cold weather. To grow outdoors, they must be in a warm, mild climate or zones 8 to 11 on the Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

But don't lose hope if you live in cooler temps. Lime trees can be grown successfully indoors as long as they are by a southern facing window, no matter how frigid it gets outside.

It's best to get your lime tree from a reputable nursery that can guarantee their trees. Lime trees are susceptible to different diseases that can be found at nurseries. 

If planting outside, make sure to plant the tree in direct sunlight, at least 15-20 feet away from other structures. If planting inside, choose a ceramic or clay pot that is slightly larger than the root of the ball.

Make sure the area or pot has good drainage and use a potting soil specific for citrus trees. 

Feeding

Lime trees need regular fertilizing to be successful. Start fertilizing your tree as soon as new growth appears.

There are several citrus plant food available. We recommend using slow-release fertilizers and use them every three months starting in February and going through August. 

Don't worry about feeding them through the winter as the dormant season is essential for their development.

Watering

Lime trees need consistent watering in order to flourish. Water the soil once or twice a week when the soil is dry. Do not let the lime tree dry out as this will cause the leaves to wilt and fall off. 

Soil that is too wet will cause root rot and fungal growth is it's important to let the soil dry out a bit before watering again. 

If you live in a dry climate or go have dry winter air, consider using a humidifier or a spray bottle to keep the leaves moist. 

If you see yellowing or cupping leaves, those are signs that there is too much watering. Just let the soil dry out before watering again. 

Pruning

Unlike orchard fruit trees, lime trees don't need to heavily pruned. Pruning them occasionally may be required to remove dead wood or branches that are unruly.

New shoots should also be cut off as they do not grow the desired variety of citrus. Also, getting rid the thorns makes if easier to pick the fruit and doesn't harm the tree.

Citrus trees should be kept to a height of 8 feet to make fruit more accessible. 

Harvesting

When we think of limes, we think green, but actually, limes turn yellow when they are completely ripe. Limes are often picked while they are still green, but are the most flavorful when they are developing some yellow spots.

Get Your Own Lime Tree

Growing your own citrus tree may seem overwhelming, especially if you live in the wrong climate. But with these helpful hints, you can be successful in growing your own personal lime tree. 

Check out the US Citrus blog for more helpful citrus tips, insight, and resources, such as growing Persian limes in containers. Start growing a lime tree today or purchase a fresh box of Persian limes to have all the limes in your Diet Coke you have ever wanted!

Top 5 Tips for Caring for a Meyer Lemon Tree

Meyer Lemon Tree

Are you thinking about planting a Meyer lemon tree in your yard? If so, read on to learn the top 5 tips for caring for a Meyer Lemon tree.

Do you want an antioxidant that's also a great source of Vitamin C right in your backyard?

Your body needs many different vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. You also have to be mindful of your mental health. Are you looking for a way to cover all these bases?

Then you should try growing your own Meyer lemon tree. Lemons provide ample amounts of nutrients fo your diet. Plus, gardening has been proven to help reduce anxiety and depression.

What's not to love about a Meyer Lemon tree?

Besides the health benefits, this elegant little tree is the perfect addition to your backyard. They look attractive and the bright citrus aromas will give your yard or house a fresh scent.

Is your interest piqued? If so, read on to learn the top 5 tips for caring for a Meyer Lemon tree.

1. Find the Perfect Home for Your Tree

You have a lot of options for where your lemon tree calls home. These versatile plants can live indoors or outdoors. They can also successfully grow in a pot.

What's most important is they get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. If you are growing indoors, your tree may need heat lamps during the winter.

Outside, make sure your plant gets some shade. Too much sun can dry it out.

2. Start With a Healthy Grafted Tree, Not a Seed 

Growing a Meyer lemon tree can take a long time. After all that TLC your plant might not even flower!

To ensure your tree produces lemons, buy a healthy sapling grafted on hardy rootstock. Don't worry, you're not cheating at the game of gardening. This is just the best method.

3. Your Meyer Lemon Tree Can't Swim!

Lemon trees need water to grow. However, too much water can kill them.

Never give your tree more than 2 gallons of water a day.

Also, growing a plant in a pot ensures no risk of overwatering. The plant will take all the water it needs and the rest will drain out.

4. Don't Forget the Fertilizer

Citrus trees need more than just water and light to produce fruit. They also need nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

This is not a one and done feeding. Your lemon tree will need new fertilizer at least three times a year during its growing season.

5. Harvest With Care

Your lemons should ripen within 6 to 8 months. It's tempting, but be careful not to pick the fruit too soon.

Unlike other fruits, citrus does not ripen after it's picked.

Use cutting shears to harvest your lemon. Pulling them off the branch could damage the other ripening lemons.

You'll Love Having a Meyer Lemon Tree At Home

When life gives you a Meyer lemon tree your life will be more healthy! Whether indoors or outdoors, your Meyer lemon tree will be a great addition to your life. If you follow all these steps, you'll have delicious fresh lemons for years to come.

Ready to grow your own fresh, juicy and tasty Meyer lemons? Try our patented micro-budded Meyer lemon trees for sale online right here at US Citrus. This is a fast-growing citrus tree due to our patented micro-budding process. Produce fresh, flavorful lemons within the first 1-2 years!

Eight Steps to Growing Mandarin Oranges in Containers

How to Grow Mandarin oranges in 8 Steps

The mandarin orange tree grows well-known, delicious citrus fruits also referred and closely related to “tangerines” and “clementines”. The subvariety we use is the Satsuma, a sweet and seedless variety. There are dozens of cultivars of mandarins.

Mandarin Orange Fruit:

  • These citrus fruits are characterized by small round fruits with a loose-peeling skin
  • The fruit is usually medium in size with a thin, smooth rind that is reddish-orange at maturity and easily peeled
  • The flesh is a deep orange color, with a rich flavor
  • The mandarin orange variety is perfect for those with a sweet tooth and children
  • The subvariety we ship is the Satsuma mandarin, a seedless variety, as long as there is not another mandarin within 50 yards

Mandarin Orange Tree:

  • The slow-growing mandarin orange tree is also very cold-hardy and drought-resistant 
  • Year-round fruit production, with the peak season being autumn to spring
  • The tree is a large, vigorous, densely foliated tree
  • It has a tendency to alternate bearing with high fruit yield one year, then lower yield the next

Where Will Citrus Grow?

With proper citrus tree care, having your own citrus fruit trees such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin, mandarin or orange tree will produce decades of delicious fruit. However, the growing regions in the United States where citrus can be planted into the ground are California, Arizona, South Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

If you do not live in those regions, we do not recommend planting citrus in the ground. However, we consider this a good thing, because it's going to make your citrus growing a lot easier.

Growing Citrus Outside of Growing Zones

So how do you grow citrus outside of these growing zones? You do so by planting and growing your citrus tree in a container. You can use a plastic barrel, a wooden planter, a nice decorative pot, or really any sort of container that has adequate holes on the bottom for drainage.

Another option, which we enjoy, are fabric smart pots which do not have holes, however, the entire container is made of a fabric mesh which allows proper drainage and aeration of the soil.

The Planting Process for Growing Citrus Trees in Pots

The actual planting process of our trees in pots is very straightforward, with standardized use of potting soil and watering and fertilizing schedules.

You can keep any citrus tree pruned back, but the Mandarin is naturally a smaller dwarf type variety which gets to be about 4 to 6 feet, but it will still produce an abundant harvest.

Step 1: Container for Mandarin trees

The keys to an appropriate container are having sufficient drainage through the material either being some sort of mesh cloth (SmartPots) or having a few holes on the bottom of your planter.

Secondly, the size of the pot should be at least 5 gallons, with our favorite size recommend being 15 gallons. We find that anything above 25 gallons is quite difficult to physically move with only one person. so we recommend 15 gallons as the sweet spot.

Step 2: Soil for Mandarin Trees

Choosing soil for your Mandarin trees is simple. All you need is any sort of potting soil. We do not recommend gardening soil or topsoil to use for container gardening. This is advantageous because even if you lived in a citrus growing region, you would have to take into consideration the type of soil.

For example, US Citrus is based in the Rio Grande Valley, and we have a wonderful sandy loam type soil which drains very well. Other types of soil such as different types of clay soils especially with limestone mixed in will have a very difficult time draining and this will adversely affect the root health of your tree.

With a standard potting soil for your container gardening, you do not need to worry about any of these factors. You also don't have to worry about the pH balance of the soil. We have just removed a large part of the headache of growing citrus by having all customers grow their citrus in containers and using any standard potting soil which is available at your local nursery garden center supply store.

Step 3: Watering for Mandarin Trees

Watering is crucial, typically when citrus is planted into the ground there is a worry of proper drainage and overwatering your tree. Citrus trees planted in the ground prefer to have their roots a bit on the dry side. We have found that if there is proper drainage in container gardening it is difficult to overwater citrus trees.

See our watering schedule for our citrus trees based on their size and the outside conditions.

The best way to figure out how much water your citrus tree needs is to actually look at the tree. If the leaves are wilted and dry, your tree needs more water. After watering, the tree’s leaves should perk up.

Overwatering Your Potted Citrus Tree

Overwatering is a possibility and we find that this especially happens when the trees are indoor and there's a garden saucer used underneath the pot. When there's a garden saucer there is impeded drainage, which is helpful while you're on vacation and cannot water your tree for a week, or when you have your trees indoors to prevent water seeping onto the floors and causing damage.

However, if trees are over-watered, the plant leaves will wilt and may turn a bit yellow and look sad. Watering more will not improve the condition of the tree obviously, and you will likely notice that the soil is waterlogged at this point.

Giving your tree a break by taking it outside if possible or letting the soil drain without a garden saucer in the bathtub for a day is a good solution. Afterward, you can adjust your watering schedule appropriately. Our watering schedule also has a section for indoor planting.

Step 4: Fertilizer for Mandarin Trees

Your Mandarin tree will need both macro and micronutrients, just like a human. The macronutrients that all plants need are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. You have likely seen fertilizers and soil which state three numbers together, this is the N – P – K system which shows the concentration and relative amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium respectively.

These machinations are very important for the development of the root system, the color of the leaves, appropriate photosynthesis, the growth of the trunk of the tree, proper flowering, fruiting, and taste of the fruit. See our blog article on nutrition for more information.

Micronutrients are also very important - think of these as vitamins for humans. They are needed much in smaller quantities and plants can have characteristic symptoms if they have a micronutrient deficiency. We will detail out micronutrients and symptoms of deficiencies in later articles.

However, our promise to you is that we make this simple. Between regular potting soil and the fertilizer we recommend, you will have all the macronutrients and micronutrients that your tree needs and a simple fertilizing schedule for easy and effective fertilizing when you get your tree and for every February, May, and August. See our fertilizer schedule below for amounts that we recommend.

Fertilizer Schedule

Ounces to use every Feb, May, and Aug

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3+

 

 

 

Miracle-Gro for Citrus, Avocado and Mango (13-7-13)

5

7

9

 Espoma Citrus (5-2-6)

10

14

18

Step 5: Sunlight for Mandarin Trees

Sunlight is crucial to citrus trees, especially citrus being a tropical plant. In most areas of the United States, you want to maximize sunlight with full sun exposure. If you are planting indoors, make sure that it has full sun next to the window, but we would also recommend having a grow light.

Citrus does best when it has six hours of sunlight a day. If the temperature is consistently above 90° especially for younger trees, there may be some wilting of the leaves. This wilting will reverse however and at this point, it would be advantageous to keep your tree by elementary and partial shade. 

Step 6: Winter Protection for Mandarin Trees

We recommend that under freezing temperatures, you move your citrus tree into a warmer area such as a garage or indoors for the entire winter. This point you can utilize grow lights for continued growth.

There is nothing more frustrating than losing years of work and future decades of fruit than losing your citrus tree to a freak cold-snap which occurred while you were vacationing out of town! Citrus can die with exposure to temperatures in the teens for even up to 12 hours. 

Step 7: Where Do I Buy My Mandarin Tree?

First of all, if you live in the states of California, Arizona, Louisiana, or Florida, you will need to purchase your citrus tree locally as citrus cannot be imported into your state because of USDA regulations.

Otherwise, go to uscitrus.com to buy your tree today!

Step 8: Harvesting your Mandarins

This harvest is late fall to early spring for Mandarin oranges.