Friday, January 25, 2019

Trying something new with my ailing Owari Satsuma Mandarin

I have tried a lot of different things to save my citrus. They started in pots. Then got moved into big pots. Then they were planted in the ground inside the citrus house. I put the Mandarin in the raised bed in the greenhouse. It has been failing ever since. Today I decided to dig it up and pot it again. When I dug it up I noticed how dry the roots seemed. There are no white roots, just dry and brown looking. I cleaned off the dirt so it could start from scratch. It was very dry. I potted it in quality potting soil with a good handful of bonemeal and organic fertilizer under the root ball. I cut back the branches to account for the pathetic root ball. I am clearly missing something. I can grow orchids, I should be able to grow citrus. I must be missing a nutrient or something. 

Meyer Lemon

The Bearss Lime is exploding with flowers but the leaves are tragic. Very pale. Speckled. The Meyer Lemon has a few new leaves but they seem pale. No flowers. Sad looking. 

Owari Satsuma Mandarin Orange (it’s hard to see, but notice there is only one small tuft of leaves)

Bearss Lime leaf closeup. Notice the light coming through the tiny holes in the leaves. Spider mite damage. 

Plan of attack. I noticed a lot of white specks under the orange leaves. No doubt they are spider mites. I have been spraying them with a mister for years, but it hasn’t been completely effective and they always return. This is what the grower had told me to do. So then I literally picked off the leaves leaving just a few fresh new leaves that have started. There used to be a lot of spider mites on the lemon and lime. I couldn’t find any this time and I assume because they were sprayed with sulphur for scale. So I flashed up a batch of sulphur and sprayed all three citrus trees thoroughly. Then I broke my cardinal rule about organic fertilizer and bought Jobes Fruit and Citrus tree spike and hammered them in the ground around the lemon and lime. Then I took one and smashed it up with a hammer and put it in the pot with the newly planted orange. I am throwing everything I have at these trees. 

My gut tells me the trees were unhealthy because they weren’t getting the right fertilizer and nutrients. Then the weakening plants were like magnets for insects. First the spider mites moved in and then scale. I didn’t notice the scale on the branches, I’m far sighted, and by the time I noticed it, it was a horrible massive infestation. Then the spider mite population exploded. So now that I have the time since retiring, and the determination, I foresee some healthy citrus trees in my future. 

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Orchids on a rainy day.

So...I risked life and limb to get a few orchid photos for you. Okay, well seriously, I got really wet. It is pouring and the back yard and greenhouse are flooding. Again. 

I am particularly proud of this collection of blooming orchids. Some I’ve had for a very long time, some are two years old, but all of them are reblooming. Which is how I rate successful orchid growing. Keeping the plants alive is relatively easy, but getting them to rebloom can be tricky. Just in the last year my reputation as the kiss of death for phalaenopsis orchids, after forty years of growing, seems to have switched around and I have had two rebloom and none are dying. I consider that a big win!!!

Starting at the top....miltonia ‘Sunset’ orchid, old cymbidium orchid, pink cymbidium orchid, phalaenopsis orchid, budding oncicium orchid, jasmine cutting I’m growing up greenhouse supports and a couple of flooding photos. 

I am worried about the lime tree roots being under water.