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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Planting Potted Fruit Trees in the Landscape

Q. We are ripping out an old, dead lemon tree and would love to plant my potted dwarf citrus trees in its place about a foot from the garage. I have a dwarf lime, Meyer lemon and a Page mandarin. They would be getting slightly less sunlight, but still would get sun for most of the day. They have all been in pots for about 4-5 months. Do you anticipate any problems with this idea?

A. Four to five months in a pot is not a problem. The roots are still exploring the soil in the container and have not been in long enough to cause a problem. In a warm location protected from the wind they should be fine.
These are small trees but put your drip emitters a foot to 18 inches from the trunk away from the garage to encourage root growth away from the foundation. This will keep the soil close to the garage drier and less likely to cause salt damage.
It would be better and more attractive if the plants were trained against a trellis or espaliered. You will need to keep the branches pruned off of the tree that are growing toward the garage.
Espalier citrus after planting
Some people will have a problem with it being planted that close to the garage. It is not going to be a problem for the garage. The roots will not be a problem for the foundation. We see citrus espaliered near a wall or foundation a lot. 
Remember that citrus is borderline in the Las Vegas Valley at the middle elevations. It just gets cold here and they may or may not work depending on the location. Pick a warm microclimate in your landscape that doesn't get a lot of wind. Cold winter nights below freezing I would throw a blanket over them.

1 comment:

  1. Remember cold tolerance is Meyer lemon >> Page mandarin >> lime. The Meyer should be good to 18F though fruit of all citrus can be ruined at 32F. Note, Meyer is a hybrid with orange which is why it is so resistant to cold unlike all other lemons. The Page mandarin 26F, is also a 1/4 grapefruit hybrid which doesn't help. I would be very hesitant to put a lime outside (28-30F)...you will definitely want it getting first winter sunlight in the morning to warm up as fast as possible if you try. If a lime tree fails outside and you must have a lime you can try a lime substitute more cold resistant like limekuat, Rangpur or Calmondin.