[permaculture] Citrus and cold
diebrand at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 12 04:17:42 EST 2010
I think in most cases it’s best to plant young trees even if you have some losses at first. We have very harsh growing conditions: heavy clay soil and extended dry periods. Apart from the prohibitive cost of older trees, there is the problem that trees pampered in a nursery for years in rich black soil, with plenty of water, fertilizers and all kinds of amendments and protected from the weather by the enclosure of the nursery don’t stand a chance in the wild open country side here.
Apart from the frost in winter, our citrus trees have to put up with all kinds of stresses: aphids in spring, drought in the summer and leaf borers in the autumn ... I’m starting to get a hold of the aphid problem and have made some inroads with the leaf borers, but there isn’t much I can do about our extended dry periods. I don’t have enough water to irrigate the fruit trees. Some of my neighbors pump water from the ground to irrigate their trees, but I think that is not sustainable. Basically, our citrus trees only grow in the spring, IF I manage to control the aphids. There is no growth during the summer because of the lack of humidity. And even if there is little growth in October or November, the young delicate leafs will be frost killed in the winter.
Anyways, losses are mainly with young trees. Most older trees do withstand -10 C or colder. We have the added problem that our trees are at the bottom of a valley. During cloudless nights, the cold will always sink to the lowest point in the valley. I’m trying to plant some trees at higher altitudes, but the soil is even drier up on the hill and citrus trees do need some humidity.
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