One year old grapefruit tree with flower

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by ritsy, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. Lynner

    Lynner Member

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    HI, did you get rid of the mites? By coincidence, I have a couple of teeny little flies, and I am not sure where they came from, I have a lot of plants right now, from outside, so I bet that is where...I do wish I would have known about the pollination, but yes, it's too late. I don't think there will be a grapefruit, but it was so very nice to have the one flower! That is neat that yours is having a re-birth, I hope it's still doing well. Thanks for the compliment on the pictures, too. I'm glad I got them.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2007
  2. Lynner

    Lynner Member

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    25 years old?? That is amazing. I had one that got to be about 13 years old, and it was a wonderful indoor tree plant, but then it started leaking sap and lasted about a year, but dropped all the leaves, and I am still not sure what happened to it. My theory is that it caught something because I had put it outside for one summer.

    If you read through the threads, I guess it is possible and they self-pollinate, so you could get grapefruits, yours is certainly old enough (though maybe too old?) There are some experts on this thread, so hopefully they will log in and see your post, and answer. The whole thread has a lot of info -- I've learned a lot.
     
  3. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    In what I have read on this forum, it is unlikely to get fruit from a grapefruit in a container. Inground it can take 15 to 20 years before fruiting from seed. Citrus trees grown from seed have to reach a specific node count (number of leaves essentially)--pruning will remove nodes from to total.

    Skeet
     
  4. Jamman

    Jamman Member

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    You've got me thinking now about the grapefruit tree age as I think its older as my grandmother started growing it and gave it to me so I'll try can get the exact age of it. I also had 2 Orange trees that I grew from a pip, one died when I pruned it , lost all its leaves but the other one is still alive and I have its birth recorded somewhere on my PC but its easily > 20 years old also.

    The Grapefruit tree had an attack of mites which I successfully treated after a few attempts as everytime they came back but the spray I last used was excellent and killed every last one of them in 2006. I'll try and post a picture of the Grapefruit tree next week.
     
  5. Jamman

    Jamman Member

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    That probably explains why no fruit, everytime I move it to a bigger container it grows faster. I also pruned it last week so wish I'd read these posts earlier as I will this weekend do a node count. I guess then I have a grapefruit tree that could be used to produce new mature trees and if it was planted outside in a warmer climate could produce fruit.
     
  6. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    The node count refers to the number of leaf nodes including those where leaves were once attached. The exact number required for each type of tree is not known, but the one with the lowest node count requirement is a key lime-- they will fruit from seed in just 2-3 years, next in line are the mandarins at 5-7 years, lemons and oranges at 7-10 and then grapefruit at 15-20. Somehow the tree knows when branches are removed and the count is reduced and somehow when a bud or branch is grafted to another tree, that bud or branch remembers the count from the original tree and if that tree has reached the required node count, that branch or bud may begin to flower as soon as it starts to grow.

    That has happened to 2 of the buds I grafted last fall.

    Here is a picture of the Ruby Red Grapefruit bud that started it's growth with a flower.
     

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  7. ritsy

    ritsy Member

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    Well, I'm not sure if I got rid of the mites completely, because two orange (or lemon) trees were quite badly affected and some of their leaves are green-yellow, with rather more yellow than green. Other leaves are a speckled kind of green with white. I cut off part of the top where there were some bug eggs (don't know the insect term for it... grubs?). However, some of them are still on the stem, so I shall scrape those off. So now I'm keeping an eye on how the fresh new leaves are doing, how shiny they are and how green. When the bugs were on it, they were sucking juices out of the leaves so no wonder the tree couldn't cope in the long run.

    I put one citrus plant outside, and its leaves didn't seem to like the insecticide. Luckily it rained heavily and it all got washed off. This tree is the prettiest one out of the lot, so symmetrical and its leaves are shaped so well, so I hope it will recover.

    Meanwhile I was scanning all the grapefruit leaves for damage. Some of them have scratches, as though a larger insect had a bite, but I don't see the culprit, so I'm not really worried. These trees have been sprayed too. I went round all the indoor plants including the pineapple and the cacti, just in case.

    Regarding the flies you mentioned, I think it's really important to identify them. For instance, we have small black flies (not blackfly) which do not eat the trees, but lay their eggs in the soil, so sometimes one can see the tiny maggots, especially when they get their wings and are learning to fly. Last year some white flies liked our pommegranate tree and a tomato plant so much it was horrendous trying to get rid of them. But I didn't use insecticide - they stuck to the tomato plant and I took it outside.

    To change to topic a little, last weekend I went to a Do-It-Yourself center and bought three thin wooden rods the height of a door. It was possible to have them cut to measure, so I put my finger on how high I wanted them and said, "Could you cut them here please." He looked at me truly confused, "You mean you're not going to give me a precise measurement?" Then I had to laugh, "Oh, it really doesn't matter. They're to prop up some grapefruit trees!" He grinned. So I got my sticks and now the tall grapefruit trees are not leaning in their pots anymore.

    Then I figured that the grapefruit trees did pretty well, growing so tall in three years and I realised that I was beginning to forget each plant's history. So we've decided to paint a picture of each and write down everything we know about it e.g. what plant (if we know), how old (if we remember) and whether it has been sprayed etc.
     
  8. LukeOut!

    LukeOut! Member

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    I've attached a couple shots of my Grapefruit trees with buds. They have all bloomed and fallen off, and about a half a dozen or so are growing into small little fruits. I hope they grow full size, but I'm happy that it bloomed.
    Luke
     

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  9. ritsy

    ritsy Member

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    Hi Luke, Thanks. This is really exciting! When the little grapefruits get a bit bigger, do post some pictures of those too. :-)
     
  10. ritsy

    ritsy Member

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    Hi all, Here's an update on the mites. It turns out we didn't get rid of them. Reduced, yes. But to get rid of them, it's going to be tough. Spraying insecticide doesn't get it on every leaf, or misses the underside.

    I did read on this forum about using soap. In fact we have a soap especially for plants, bio degradable etc. So I dissolved it in a bowl, got a fat paint brush and washed every single leaf, topside and underside, of the citrus trees that were most afflicted. One of them is now looking much better - its new leaves are green and shiny again, instead of yellow and wrinkled. We shall try to wash all the leaves like that of all the trees. It is going to take quite a lot of time to do all the grapefruit trees. However, now that I know how to recognise a mite, it's easier to know when to do something about them. The mites seem to come in batches too, I guess because new ones hatch.
     
  11. ritsy

    ritsy Member

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    Hi, I'm going to try and post two pictures. The first one is what the citrus leaves looked like before the mites came i.e. green. The second picture is of the original grapefruit blossom on this thread.
     

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  12. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Luke, you have certainly been doing something right to get a container grapefruit to bloom in just 10 years. Even inground, most of what I have read says 12-15 years for first fruit. Do you know what variety it is?

    Skeet
     
  13. LukeOut!

    LukeOut! Member

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    Hi Skeet!
    Nice to hear from you! Answer: Ruby red grapefruit (supermarketitis deliciouso).
    Short Story: One hot, humid day after working a dirty, exhausting construction job, I was thirsty as h___. Brushed the dirt off my boots, and walked in the house. I opened the fridge, and popped out a cold grapefruit. Man, it was the sweetest, juiciest one I ever had. After spooning the seeds, I was curious to see if this thing would grow and make more sweet and juicy grapefruits. A little Indiana soil and well-water later, and... whala! Took it with me everywhere after that. Man, if I could only have another one of those grapefruits. You think?
    Luke
     
  14. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Who knows Luke! We have been discussing the effects of climate on taste of citrus fruits and it seems to take a combination of heat and cold at the right times--- summer heat seems to increase flavor (acid content) and winter cool weather seems to increase sweetness-- maybe you will have both. I hope you get a good fruit set and can let us know how they taste this fall/winter.

    I have a ruby red grafted onto my lemon and it has set 2 fruits-- can't wait to taste them!


    Skeet
     
  15. Cary

    Cary Member

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    Wow! What a great thread reading everyone's stories and issues. Lot's to learn. I realize this is an old tread, but maybe someone is still listening, and can give me some advice. So here is my story.

    I have two grapefruit trees in pots that I have grown from seed. They were originally for my little girls, and are now I think, 15 years old. They are about 7 feet tall, and only a shade wider than a door, because living in Montreal, our winter would kill them.
    They see the outdoors from late April to late September, weather depending. When they come in, I keep them in a back storage room of the house that has some light from a window, but no grow lights or anything else to actually keep them "thinking" they are still outside.

    They actually flowered only once, and I think it's because they were distressed. They seem to get scale while in the house. I had tried to manually take care of the problem, but in recent years have relied on insecticide. One winter, the scale was rather bad. They were losing leaves, and to make matters worse we were leaving for two weeks (it was March), so I made sure they had had plenty of water, because I can't turn off the heat in that room in winter. What a surprise when I returned to a house filled with the aroma of those flowers. To this day I believe the plants "thought" " I'm going to die....better reproduce!" :-)

    I want them to flower again. I've been told phosphorus, fruit tree fertilizer, bigger pots (did it once, but any bigger and I won't get them through the door now), and here I read that they need more nitrogen. Does someone have a "step by step" yearly guide as to what they need and when? Also, When are they supposed to flower? I feel taken when I see photos here of seedlings in small pots flowering.

    I'm sure others in this thread would like such a guide, so.... anyone there with the expertise? I promise I'll post photos when they flower.

    Thanks
     
  16. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Grapefruit, in fact all citrus, bloom due to some form of stress. The most common in the northern hemisphere is cold stress. A mature citrus tree will only produce vegetative buds, and never produce flower buds. However, citrus have the ability to differentiate (change) a foliage bud into a floral bud if the tree receives the proper amount of stress. The most common in the northern hemisphere is cold stress. When a mature citrus tree accumulates 650 - 800 hours of cold temperatures below 68F (18C) over the winter a citrus tree will bloom in the spring when the temperatures warm. In the tropics where the temperature never falls below 68F, citrus trees bloom due to drought stress. When the rain finally starts after the dry season, a citrus trees blooms. While you were away, your tree probably experienced drought stress, thus bloomed. So if you want blooms keep the tree at a temperature around 50F, for 800 hours then raise the temperature to around 70F (21C) and your tree will bloom. Also never prune a citrus tree if you want fruit, as flowers appear on new wood. By the way, it normally requires approximately 15 years for a grapefruit tree to mature and start blooming. Few people ever accomplish this with a containerized tree. You are to be congratulated. - Millet
     
  17. Cary

    Cary Member

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    Thank you! I'll make sure to check the temperature in that back room this winter. I keep the thermostat low in that mud room (used to be a garage, and was joined to the house and finished as a room years ago by the previous owners), but perhaps the plants are too close to the rad, so when it kicks in, the plants warm. Also, I do have to prune somewhat to get them in. Maybe I should over prune, reduce the size, so they grow back to their width with new growth that I can leave on. I'll see what the thread bears for that idea!

    They are in great health now, outdoors (although tomorrow may go to 0 at night) and ready for a nice hot summer.

    Thanks again
     
  18. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Over pruning won't help. Citrus trees have to reach a certain node count before it can bloom, each leaf knows it's node count, when you prune it has to start back at a lower count. At 15 yrs your tree has just reached the required count, cutting it back may prevent flowering for a couple years or so.
     
  19. Brittany

    Brittany Member

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    That is so cool! I hope my twins would bloom within the next couple of years, their just babies right now :)

    Congratulations by the way :)
     
  20. Cary

    Cary Member

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    Thanks Skeeterbug.

    I'll try to do some research on node counts on the web. My pruning in the past has also been for shaping and to try to make them fuller. The bottom branches were kind of thin, and were always the first to turn sickly so I decided to remove them and make them look like a tree as opposed to a bush. That was three years ago, and the shape is set, one a bit bushier than the other. I also get towards the end of the summer one new branch on the top that seems to supergrow like a cowlick on a head of hair, and for appearance sake, I cut it off.

    This summer I'll be sure to leave all the new side growth, starve and cool those babies over winter, and hopefully be treated again to flowers. Who knows.....maybe there's fruit in my future.

    Thanks again.
     
  21. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Note, that the nodes generated by the side branches (horizontal growth) do not play much of a roll in the maturity node count requirement. It is the vertical node count that determines when the tree reaches maturity. Only after the vertical node count is achieved does the horizontal node count come into importance. Only the horizontal branches at or above the mature vertical node will be mature and fruit. However, because a citrus only fruits on new growth, if you prune the horizontal branches your tree will not produce fruit. - Millet
     
  22. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Dr. Manners explains the concept of node count in this thread in an external forum.
     
  23. ritsy

    ritsy Member

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    Hi all, Had no idea this thread would start so much interesting discussion. Haven't logged on for ages and today I thought I'd check it.

    Update on my trees is: they all survived the mites. They all recovered, but I had to be persistent with the insecticide and do every single leaf. However, I use a selective insecticide which is kind to ladybugs and bees etc. It takes care of the mites.

    Lately the leaves have started turning brownish at the tips on my grapefruit trees and also on the pomelos. The new leaves, only just budding, would drop off. I truly cannot see the culprits, but I'm pretty sure it is some kind of microscopic bug. The leaves just start curling up, drying out and fall off (and the trees have enough water). And there are blobs on them that look like rust. I cannot see any obvious bugs. Sometimes, on the underside I see small roundish black spots (eggs?). The insecticide does help. Some of the citrus trees have almost yellow leaves, so I've stepped up with the nutrients for the soil.

    Many of the trees have grown big. They are nearly touching the ceiling. Now, what am I going to do with 10 trees in one room !
     
  24. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    How long has it been since you repotted?
     
  25. ritsy

    ritsy Member

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    Well, now that you mention it... it's been about a year. The citrus with the faint leaves are the ones in the smallest pots. However, I've started putting citrus nutrients into the soil a few weeks ago. The ones with the nice big fat juicy green leaves are in bigger pots.... but the problem with the brown leaf tips and rusty patches has been around for a while.
     

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